Jan 31, 2013

Book Review: Daniels' Running Formula

My latest reading was a sports training book for a change. I've read about triathlon and swimming training, so it was time to concentrate on running. I got my hand on, what was said to be the best running training book ever made, Jack Daniels' Running Formula.

Jack Daniels is a professor of physical education, coach of Olympic athletes and olympic medalist himself. That was proof enough for me, to take a closer look on his ideas.

For me there were two important things in this book. First one was the idea of training load. I've understood that there is different load for different type of exercises, but this book got me to understand more about it and quantify the loads to some extend. I took that part directly in to use on my training diary and will use it for this training season to know if it really works or not.

Second important thing in this book was the different running speeds and the VDOT index for those. VDOT wasn't totally new concept for me, but since it was invented for this book I got to understand all the background information behind it. Other than just running speeds, it gives pretty good tips for different type of running trainings.

Running speeds in VDOT are Easy, Maraton, Threshold, Interval and Repetition. From those, the separation between Interval and Repetition was not clear to me at all before this book. No it is much more obvious that those exercises and speeds are for different purposes; Intervals for training VO2Max and Repetitions are for speed and technique.

Big part of the book is also training programs. There are training programs from elite athletes to first time runners. Training programs also varies from short 800m runs all the way to marathons. So there are training programs for everybody, except for triathlonists. For me the best thing about training programs was to get some good ideas what kind of exercices could be done.

From content point of view, book was excellent. It's filled with good information and ideas about running training. Then from editoral point, it was bit messy. It wasn't as easy and pleasurable to read as it could have been. I blame publishers for that one. They should have put more focus on readability.

I still recommend this book to everyone who wants to understand running training. It gives such a good information about the endurance side of running training, that it is valuable to read. It's also quite quick to read, so I recommend to get it in to your hands and at least scim it through.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jan 22, 2013

Book review - Nonviolent Communication

This time I got quite different type of book to myself to read. Marshall B. Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life was really interesting book about communication. It is one of those books that hopefully changes the way I communicate with others.

Basics of nonviolent communication is observing clearly, understanding the feeling, recognizing the needs and making clear request. I explained it myself even more simply, try to, without judgment, understand what other is saying and why, then make sure you are understood as well. As easy and basics it might sound, I believe no one can always communicate that clearly and honestly.

The book explains with lots of good examples from quite normal and really extraordinary situations how communication can be the key to progress in many situations. M.B Rosenberg has seen really difficult situations, but seems to have handled those well with nonviolent communication methods.

Understanding these methods is not hard. On the other hand learning to use these in everyday communication can take years or decades. We are so learned to use judgments on our communication that communicating with open heart and mind can be difficult. We are so built to seek for acceptance, that we can't understand the true needs behind the things we say and do.

This book is easy to read, but it requires courage to digest. It requires a journey to one's inner feelings and needs. As much of I would like to recommend this to anyone, I feel that to get the benefits of this, one needs to be open enough for the softer values of live. If you've read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and liked it, this might be a good book for you.

I hope that I would learn to communicate with rules of nonviolent communication in the future. I'm especially keen on trying to use these methods with my daughters. As a parent it is so easy to use authority and judgment to get through wishes. I do know that it requires more than one book to understand and start using this methodology effectively. I added other books of nonviolent communication to my reading list to come to the subject later on also. Now it's the time to start practicing.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jan 9, 2013

No one is irreplaceable because of their knowledge

There are people in organizations that seem irreplaceable. Of course no one is really irreplaceable, but they can be important for organization to keep running efficiently. The fun thing is that often it is thought that these irreplaceable people are so knowledgeable about some subjects that it makes them so important. But that's not the case.

In information age, knowledge is available for everyone. Information about basically any subject is only few googles away. The same is true with organizations, information is available for most who are eager enough to find it.

The true value of the people is how they use and process the information they receive. Mapping information together and ignoring irrelevant information are highly necessary skills of todays organizations. Reacting to correct information and knowing how and with whom to process the information is the key what makes some people so effective.

People should concentrate more on putting information and sources of information to the context than trying to gain information to themselves whenever they can. I bet everyone knows these people who try to be involved in everything, but they don't actually give any valuable input to anything. Then at the same time, there can be people who are not involved in many things, but once asked they somehow always seem to give valuable input.

Information about where and how to find information, is more important than knowing yourself. That's what irreplaceable people are made of.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jan 6, 2013

Book review - Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: From Common Man to Ironman

I got as a Christmas present from my sister and her husband a book about common guy turning to an ironman. This book Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run: From Common Man to Ironman from Andy Holgate was their interpretation of my current triathlon enthuasism. I guess they hit it quite close.

This book is a journey without any technical jargon about training. It's a motivational story about ones life and how triathlon bug can hit hard. Andy Holgate turns from quite normal, bit overweight, librarian to an endurance maniac.

Andy Holgate had first written a blog and based on that he decided to turn it into a book. Book surely is written in enjoyable way. It was easy to get in to moods of Andy's by his writings. He also introduces lots of his training friends and describes them well. It really is a sneak peak to quite a normal life, filled with endurance sports.

What I like in this book, is that Andy surely teaches everybody to appreciate endurance sports. He himself went all the way to be an Ironman, but still he seems to cheer everyone for all the different endurance sports.

Andy Holgate is living proof that everyone can do triathlons if they wish. It's a mindset thing, not anything else. That's the best part of the book.

It's an entertaining book, which suits well for vacation times. I can happily recommend it to everyone. It a fun thing to read. This might give an extra push to take a endurance challenge. This book is not a how to train for ironman book, it's a book that motivates you to take the challenge.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen