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Books to Buy for Christmas

Alexandra Heminsley: Running like a Girl

If you hate running but you still want to do it then this book is for you! Whether you’re a camogie player who needs stronger legs or someone just dreaming of a fitter 2016 Alexandra’s got the right motivation.

The opening chapters as she learns about pacing herself, buying the right shoes (seriously, if you can afford a night out you can get better shoes) and slowly falls in love with running are some of the best I’ve read on motivation. How running changes her relationship with her dad is just lovely to read.

Her tips for running a marathon are gold including dealing with your period, and whether or not to wear make-up. Reading the book feels like talking to your big sister; a big sister who’s fitter and faster than you but really, really wants you to be as good as her!

Alexandra Heminsley goes by @Hemmo on Twitter.

Haruki Murakami: What I talk about when I talk about Running

What could an award-winning Japanese writer have to tell us about running? Plenty.

Early in the book he says: “people become runners because they are meant to” and he continues with that gentle approach. He’s just talking about his own running and not giving advice. But as I read it, I found myself doing his things when I was running.

He says if he can work most days (like most of us have to) then he should be able to run, and he applies the same discipline to that. It’s fascinating watching him take up running and learn how to do it, and do it so well he runs marathons almost every year.

He writes about that funny thing runners do when you pass the same people every day, and start to think about them. He used to smile at one woman every day for years in Tokyo without speaking. He says: “But seeing her face every morning as I ran was one of life’s small pleasures.”

Haruki Murakami is on Facebook with more wise thoughts.

Deirdre Gogarty: My Call to the Ring

Deirdre was the very first professional boxer in Ireland, in fact she was so first she had to emigrate to America so she could fight. Yes, hard to believe now but women’s boxing was ILLEGAL in Ireland until 2001.

The story of how she went from a shy Drogheda girl to WIBF World Champion is gripping. Especially her memories of taking part in what is still considered the most famous women’s boxing bout of all time back in 1996.

Still not sure? Well, a certain Katie Taylor wrote a letter to her when she was just a little girl basically saying she’d love to be Deirdre. Cute! And even today Deirdre is so committed to boxing that she got married in a boxing ring on St Patrick’s Day three years ago.

Her story is told as a memoir, but if you’re looking for inspiration to shake up your own training then this is it.

Deirdre Gogarty is on Twitter.

Kate Rowan, Peter O’ Reilly: Six Nations Two Stories

This is one of those books that appears to be about just one sport, but really there is so much for anyone into sport to enjoy. The two writers flip between interviews with the amateur women players and the professional men’s team, and it’s a cracker of a read.

I finally learned what an “alickadoo” is, and so much more. I smiled at how all the women encourage Rowan to write about their team-mates not them – that’s the base of their success right there.

Anyone struggling with confidence or even health issues will get to see how these women deal with that and come back so strongly from their challenges. And in the men’s chapters seeing how they deal with the pressures of professional sport is definitely useful for anyone working in a job where more people are watching you than are helping you!

Because both authors go way behind the scenes, this book gives much more than a collection of newspaper stories could. So no matter how much rugby you read about during the World Cup, this is worth a try !

Kate Rowan is on Twitter

Derval O’ Rourke: Life in the Fast Lane

I love this recipe book. You can tell from the first page that it’s written by someone who loves sport and really gets the relationships between food and health or power.

Derval, World and European Champion sprint hurdler, clearly loves her food. And that is what you need from a recipe book, no fad diets or crazy ingredients just good, healthy eating.

I make the banana-and-oats a couple of times a week, don’t know how I ever went training without that in my arsenal. It got so cold this week I had to try the ‘gingery lemony remedy’ and yes, folks it works.

The best thing is you probably have most of the ingredient in your cupboard already. There are few things more disappointing than buying a shiny new (expensive) book and then having to spend a small fortune on weird ingredients too.

This would be a great book for people sharing a house or apartment, you could stock up on healthy snacks and get back on track after Christmas pretty fast.

The cute cartoons scattered around the pages are great too. Plus of course if this is the food that powered Derval through the Olympics then why would you say no?

Derval O’ Rourke is on Twitter.

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