Canadian Books for a Better You
How NOT to run like Rob Ford: Ben Kaplan's "Feet, Don't Fail Me Now"
In his book on how to run a marathon, running columnist and music writer Ben Kaplan literally tells you how to run like a rock star, with some surprising running tips from the likes of Carrie Underwood, Slash, Willie Nelson, and a notoriously hard-hitting Governor General's Award-winning journalist. And Woody Harrelson. And, yes, Rob Ford.
- Rock out like Carrie Underwood. The country superstar's favourite running record? Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood. "It's fun to rock, you know?," she tells Kaplan. "It makes you forget how hard you're working."
- Run with gritted teeth like Slash. The legendary guitarist was, let's just say, unequivocal when Kaplan asked him about his running regime: "I hate running. I run. But I hate running... I just watch TV. I do it and get it over with. I hate exercise."
- Find a power song like Alanis Morissette. Hit repeat. Again. And again. The singer told Kaplan that when she hit Mile 20 of the 2009 New York City marathon, she played "Survivor" by Destiny's Child 20 times in a row.
- Go "barefoot" like Woody Harrelson. Well, as close to barefoot as possible, anyway—according to Kaplan, Harrelson is a fan of Vibram FiveFingers barefoot shoes. (This does not surprise us at all.)
- Let running open your mind like Lionel Richie's. Turns out Richie really Can't Slow Down: "When I'm running, I see the world differently," he told Kaplan. "It's like there's a fog, but when I get out there, the fog opens up."
- Make running friends like Christie Blatchford, even if you hate people. "I typically hate most people and particularly hate women," said the famously hard-boiled journalist to Kaplan, "but when I decided to do the marathon, I knew I needed some help." So Blatchford joined a running club—the members of which not only became her friends, but helped her create an outline for her book, Fifteen Days, which would go on to win the Governor General's Literary Award.
- Run away from the Grim Reaper like Willie Nelson. The country legend, now eighty, still runs regularly, but anxiously: "A lot of times when I'm out there, I'm not listening to music, I'm listening to hear if I'm still breathing."
- Don't despair—your running style can't be any worse than Rob Ford's. On an improbable (where's the video?) jog he took with Ford at the local high school by Ford's house, Kaplan describes the Toronto mayor's gait as "an angry power-stride—head down, legs barely lifted, arms swinging side to side like a pissed-off Chubby Checker demonstrating the Twist. Ford's face is beet red and his breathing is labored; he looks like he'll need a defibrillator, not a Gatorade, when he's done."
From National Post columnist Ben Kaplan's book Feet, Don't Fail Me Now: The Rogue's Guide to Running a Marathon—which, aside from offering a ton of great celebrity running dirt (and playlists), actually tells you how to train for a marathon. Follow Ben on Twitter @NP_RunningBen.
Cover photo (Rob Ford): Canadian Press