Runner Reads: “Race Everything” by Bart Yasso with Erin Strout

“Race Everything: How to Conquer Any Race at Any Distance in Any Environment and Have Fun Doing It.” (Vanessa Junkin photo)

For the inaugural edition of the BibRave Pro book club, we read “Race Everything: How to Conquer Any Race at Any Distance in Any Environment and Have Fun Doing It” by Bart Yasso with Erin Strout.

The book club idea started from an Instagram comment, and earlier this month, some of us BibRave Pros discussed the book on Slack, the platform that we use to communicate.

I really enjoyed chatting with the fellow BibRave Pros about the book and I felt like we got to learn something about each other as well by discussing topics raised by the book.

I had already read “My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom and Insights of a Road Racing Icon,” Yasso’s previous book, so of course I was interested in his latest release. “Race Everything” just came out last year.

The bulk of the book is split up into chapters pertaining to certain distances — featuring 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons, ultramarathons, unconventional events, and relays and multiple race events.

In each of these chapters, Yasso writes about his experiences and his favorite races, while also providing advice. Some chapters feature recommended workouts, and training plans are also included for the 5K through the ultramarathon.

Some of us longer-distance runners may question training for a 5K — I run that distance all the time — but in order to improve at that specific distance, I’d imagine it could help. I was reminded of this article in Runner’s World where one of the writers, Heather Mayer Irvine, put her training efforts into a 5K and was able to break 20 minutes.

I don’t even follow marathon plans fully — I do what works for me, making sure to get my long runs in — but I might be able to improve upon my times if I did. Reading this book also encouraged me to do something I know I’ve been needing to do for a while — speed work.

Here I am with the book after running four Yasso 800s earlier this month. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I ran four Yasso 800s about two weeks ago — between 4:24-4:29 — and I ran six of them on Thursday — between 4:23-4:39. I’m planning to work up to 10 before the Vermont City Marathon and see how the 800s compare to my race time. If you’re unfamiliar with these, named for the workout’s creator Bart Yasso, here’s how they work: Doing the 10 Yasso 800s at 4:30 should get the runner about a 4 hour and 30 minute marathon time, and for faster or slower times, it is said to work, too.

I’ve also been wanting to set a PR at the 10K for years, so I may have to consult the book for some workouts. Even if it could help, I don’t see myself following a 10K-specific plan because I like to run all different kinds of distances, and I’m often training for a marathon. However, I could work in some of the speed workouts.

I’m also interested in running a relay race at some point, so I found that chapter’s tips interesting.

Readers also get to learn about Yasso’s various race experiences, from the Comrades Marathon (which is actually an ultramarathon) to running up Pike’s Peak and in Antarctica.

Community is something I believe is such an essential part of running, and I’ve noticed that the topic has made its way into the last couple episodes of the BibRave Podcast. Of course, BibRave has a community, but recent guests were from Another Mother Runner and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, and they also discussed their communities.

Yasso agrees about that importance.

He writes in the book, “You can run all the miles, eat all the right foods, and lift all the weights you want. Sure, these strategies will make you a great athlete and enable a long career in running. But you won’t find a bigger reason to stay in this sport than the people who are in it with you. I’m still here because of a community I can’t imagine being without” (page 196).

Interested in reading the book? It’s available on Amazon here. (Not an affiliate link.)

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5 thoughts on “Runner Reads: “Race Everything” by Bart Yasso with Erin Strout

  1. I really need to make more time to read – it sounds interesting! I will have to add to my list for sure


  2. Great recap! I really enjoyed this book and getting to “know” Bart Yasso better. I loved learning about his history and how he began running and how he came to be where he is today. Really great stuff!

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