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The Runner's Rule Book: Everything a Runner Needs to Know--And Then Some [Hardcover]

Mark Remy , Editors of Runner's World
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 13 2009
Every sport has rules. Running is no exception. If you’re curious, just visit the Web site of USA Track & Field, the sport’s governing body, where you’ll find detailed dictates on everything from disqualification to bib-number placement to the caliber of the starter’s pistol.

But what about the everyday rules of running? The unspoken ones that pertain to the lingo, behavior, and etiquette that every seasoned runner seems to know and every newbie needs to learn? Veteran runner Mark Remy and the editors of Runner’s World magazine provide answers to these very questions and many more in The Runner’s Rule Book.

Inside you’ll find:

Rule 1.18

LEARN, AND LOVE, THE FARMER’S BLOW

Farmer’s Blow \ fär-m?rz blo \ n: a process by which one clears a nostril of mucus by pinching shut the opposing nostril and exhaling forcefully

[syn: Snot Rocket]

Rule 2.32

DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO FINISH AHEAD OF A COSTUMED RUNNER

Because being outkicked by Elmo is too much to bear.

Rule 3.1

CALL THEM RUNNING SHOES

They aren’t sneakers, or tennis shoes, or kicks, or trainers (sorry, Brits). They are running shoes. So call them that.

…and many, many more. With 100+ rules that cover the basics of running, racing, track etiquette, and apparel and gear, including hilarious running commentary on running culture, The Runner’s Rule Book will be the reference guide you’ll turn to again and again for answers to your burning running questions.


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About the Author

Mark Remy lives, runs, and writes in eastern Pennsylvania, where he is the executive editor of RunnersWorld.com. He has run 15 marathons, including 5 Bostons, with a personal best time of 2:46. (Note: He ran that 2:46 in 1999; see Rule 1.51, page 54.)

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

This book attempts to capture and share portions of the rich, dynamic lives of many North American mammals. This is not a replacement for your Peterson Field Guide to Mammals, but a book to complement it. Think of the subtitle for this guide as “The Secret Lives of Mammals.” Our emphasis is on behavior and how mammals survive, reproduce, and interact with other animals and the environment in which they live. This information will not only fascinate and inform, but also leverage your time in the field and allow you to see and know more of what is happening when you watch wild mammals.

WHAT IS A MAMMAL?
Mammals are warm-blooded animals with hair that feed their young with milk produced by the mother. Mammalian bodies regulate their own temperatures, and hair functions in many mammals as insulation and protection against temperature and weather. Lactation—the production of milk in mammary glands—allows mothers to provide sustenance to offspring as they develop outside the womb. These traits have allowed mammals to extend their collective range from pole to pole, to inhabit nearly every aquatic and terrestrial ecological community on earth, and to build incredibly complex societies.

LEARNING ABOUT MAMMAL BEHAVIOR
AND NATURAL HISTORY
There are three easy ways to increase your knowledge of mammal natural history and behaviors: viewing wildlife, interpreting mammal tracks and signs, and delving into the literature—the books, articles, and other media that record and convey our collective knowledge of mammal life and behavior. Watching animals in the wild requires patience, stealth, and knowledge of where and how to find them. Of course, some species are more easily seen than others, and some places can make wildlife watching seem easy.
  In the Lamar Valley in northern Yellowstone National Park, with some patience and a spotting scope, you can watch wild wolves, coyotes, bison, elk, Brown Bears, Black Bears, ground squirrels, Red Foxes, and others. Atop Mount Evans in central Colorado you can easily observe Yellow-bellied Marmots, American Pikas, Bighorn Sheep, and Mountain Goats. There are plenty of books, websites, and employees of parks and refuges out there expressly to help you find these places. Any opportunity to watch animals move and interact with each other is valuable, and you shouldn’t wait until your next vacation to do so. Animals in zoos and wildlife parks are tremendously educational, and you can learn a lot from watching videos. Opportunities to watch urban and suburban wildlife abound, and even domestic animals provide us some insights into wild animals. Watching domestic cats hunt in the garden teaches us much about their wild counterparts. There is also new technology to help you watch wildlife at night, whether you are awake or not. New night-vision goggles expose nocturnal animals, and inexpensive remote cameras unobtrusively record mammal behaviors throughout the day and night while we are away.
  Learning to interpret wildlife tracks and signs will open a window to the hidden behavior of wild animals. Scratches on the trail are territorial scrapes of coyotes; girdled saplings are sites of feeding Snowshoe Hares. This book doesn’t teach you how to identify tracks and signs, but it supplies the critical knowledge necessary for finding and interpreting them. It will provide the “why” that is so important to understanding the bits and pieces you observe directly and indirectly through tracks and signs in the field. Some excellent field guides to wildlife signs are Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species (Stackpole Books) and the Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks, 3rd ed. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
  There are literally tons of printed material written about mammal behavior and natural history. Information can be found in literary accounts of naturalists; in field guides to mammals, forests, and regions of North America; in magazine articles; and in scientific journals. Every resource has something to offer. At one extreme, scientific publications are frustratingly opaque to most people, but they are the foundation of our knowledge of wildlife behavior. At the other extreme, various Internet sites deliver easily accessible information, but often of unknown accuracy. The species accounts provided by museum and university websites are often quite informative, and Wikipedia, too, provides wonderful accounts for many species. For many mammals, there is also a host of printed books for readers of all backgrounds and interests.
  Your local libraries and universities should have excellent books and journals, as well as special web-based search tools to help you find what you are after. Universities also maintain a staggering number of online subscriptions to the scientific journals that publish the latest research. The help of a librarian will be invaluable in learning to navigate the various different sources of information.

GETTING STARTED
Two handy concepts to help understand mammal behavior are niche and fitness. An animal’s niche describes how an animal makes its living, including what it does and where it does it. Wolves are social predators of large ungulates, which they hunt by coursing, or running, in packs. Chipmunks are solitary, seed-hoarding, burrowing rodents. There are more technical definitions of niche, but for now consider it as a snapshot of what a particular animal “is.”
  Fitness, on the other hand, helps us imagine the “why.” Fitness is the quality of success experienced by an animal. In ecology, it is measured by how well one reproduces—the continuation and proliferation of an individual’s genes into the future. Evolution selects for behavior that improves fitness, and keeping this in mind allows us to better interpret behavior. An animal has high fitness when it produces numerous offspring that themselves produce many offspring. Having offspring is not enough to ensure the continuation of one’s genetic heritage. An animal’s offspring need to survive long enough to breed, and their offspring too need to survive. Think of the measure of success as the number of grandchildren an animal has, since having grandchildren indicates successful production of offspring that were, in turn, able to survive and reproduce.
  A species’ niche is strongly influenced by its evolutionary heritage. Scientists use an evolutionary family tree to classify all living things based on how recently they shared a common ancestor. This book is organized phylogenetically, meaning “according to the evolutionary tree.” What this does in a practical sense is group species together in families—the “branches of the tree” that contain closely related, and therefore similar, species.
  You can improve your ability to understand any one species if you know something about the other members of the family. Many behaviors are common to entire families, and since space is limited, you might find an illustration for a behavior in another account in the same family as the one you are reading. That said, we wrote each species account to stand alone. If you are interested only in muskrats, walrus, or moles, you can find the relevant account and read the most economical, readable portrait we have been able to distill.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
Each species account follows the same organization, with information broken down into eight topical sections: Activity and Movement, Food and Foraging, Habitat and Home Range, Communication, Courtship and Mating, Development and Dispersal of Young, Interactions among the Species (for example, Interactions among Armadillos), and Interactions with Other Species. We begin with a series of brief snapshots of the eight sections, which provide background terminology and useful concepts to interpret and understand the information in the book. Enjoy.

ACTIVITY AND MOVEMENT
Activity studies in the field usually rely on animals with telemetry collars (radio and GPS collars) that relay to researchers when an animal is active and how far they travel in a period of time. Daily movement is related to food or reproduction and habits of rest, grooming, and maintenance. If an animal is most active at night, it is called nocturnal, and if active during the day, diurnal. Many animals are crepuscular, which means most active in the twilight hours around dawn and dusk.
  In North America, seasonal changes cause shifts in temperature, precipitation, and food availability and are a major factor in shaping mammalian ecology and behavior. Many behaviors are synchronized with the seasons, and often the length of daylight per day is the trigger. Breeding, migration, and hibernation all depend on changes in photoperiod (the amount of light per day) that trigger hormonal changes. External events also influence behaviors. When winter approaches and days grow shorter, a storm may cause a species migration, while at other times of year a storm will only cause animals to seek cover. With a redundant system, animals are less likely to migrate at the wrong time because of a freak snowstorm in July.

FOOD AND FORAGING
Most of a wild animal’s life is dominated by its search for food. Food determines where animals are found, and over time, food selection significantly influences the shape of a mammal’s jaws, teeth, tongue, and digestive system, as well as the manner in which it secures its food.

FORAGING
In the interest of survival, animals balance the benefits of a meal with the costs of foraging for it. Most animals maintain stable home ranges, allowing their experience to inform and refine their foraging. Foraging becomes more efficient when future searches are in areas that paid off in the past.
  The theory of optimal foraging predicts that animals make choices that optimize their gain, compared with the costs that they incur while collecting it. Generally speaking, if two types of food are available, a mammal (whether carnivore or herbivore) should always choose the one with the greatest net benefit in terms of energy, or calories. The cost of foraging include... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As Much fun as Running Itself March 5 2011
Format:Hardcover
Want to know when it's okay to hawk a loogie? Or how to line up for a race? This book has you covered. It's very entertaining and is a fast read. Buy it and share it with your running friends!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and funny Feb. 12 2011
Format:Hardcover
Easy reading. Informs you on different aspects (tricks) of running with a twist of humour. Thoroughly enjoyed. I recommand it to any newbie runner.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  76 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little novelty item for (primarily) marathon runners Nov. 4 2009
By Nelson Aspen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a great little stocking stuffer for the marathoner/half-marathoner on your shopping list. Anyone else will have no interest in it, but the distance-running guys and gals will get a chuckle out of this friendly little volume.

There's little, if any, actual practical advice but there are immediately-identifiable "rules" and observations we die hards appreciate. It's almost like a collection of sidebars from your favorite running magazine. They kind of stuff you might clip out and post on your fridge, stick in your running journal, or tuck into a card to a running pal.

The author comes across as a completely affable, good natured and nice guy...the exact kind of person you'd want for a running partner or running alongside you in a race.

On the plus side, it never hurts to get a few reminders about safety and courtesy from someone who's been there, too.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and useful book Oct. 30 2009
By Christine M. Luff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is full of humorous commentary as well as very practical information about running. I laughed out loud and nodded my head in agreement many times while reading it. I know I'll definitely pull it off my shelf again when I'm looking for information or need a good laugh. It's a great gift idea for runners, whether they're just getting started or have been running for years.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light-hearted fun for runners of all abilities. Dec 16 2011
By Finley Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Checked this out at the library, and liked it enough to go get my own copy. Lot's of fun. I believe runners of all abilities and skill would enjoy this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for any runner Dec 16 2011
By M. Cobb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read this book before I became a runner (my husband was already a runner) and I nearly died laughing. I may not have gotten all the references, but Mark Remy has a way with words. I eventually became a runner and started following Mark's articles on the Runner's World website. I then re-read the Runner's Rule Book and honestly laughed for days. So much more of it made sense to me and it was even funnier than the first time I read it. Mark is a very witty writer and doesn't take himself too seriously, which is what makes him so relatable to so many of us runners, beginners or otherwise. His tongue-in-cheek, at times self-deprecating, way of writing has drawn so many of us into his world and we have become faithful followers of the Remy Race-Face.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential book to the runner's library Dec 16 2011
By Fighting Irish - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I began running, I found Mark Remy's daily column on the Runner's World website. I was treated almost daily to the wit and wisdom and laughter that he provides to us via the web. I was ecstatic when I found out that he had a book! I bought it as soon as I found it and keep it on my "favorites" shelf in my personal library, which contains 7 bookshelves full of books. Mark Remy is a must for any runner's library, beginner or "old salt".
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