Though we all run at different paces, I think it is fair to say we all have at least some level of curiosity regarding the fastest among us, those who complete at an Olympic level. Depending on the races you attend, there is often even a chance to see one at a race, or even line up at the same starting line. Being able to read a book, such as ‘Abdi’s World, by Abdi Abdirahman, is an interesting peek into the mind and life of such athlete. Written as more as a glimpse into the personal life of the man, and not a summary of his training, gives an insight of the mindset and balance that a pro runner may practice.
While the book refers many times to his coach, Pat Melgares it only touches lightly on the details of training at this level. The important aspect that come up several times is how Abdi is able to balance the input of his coach with his own desires and feelings. This is the first I have read of an athlete at this level not surrendering near complete control of the training regimen. I think it says a lot about the duration and effectiveness of his career as well as his overall happiness.
One of the biggest aspects to Abdi’s story that stood out to me was his upbringing. As an immigrant who did not have an easy childhood, it was interesting to see that path that got him to global level competition and how he did not let the struggles of his younger years ruin him or bring him down. I think this is one of the most important lessons in the book, as many people tend to focus on the shortcomings in life and it keeps them from reaching their potential.
The book is a great eye opener into maintaining a balance between running and having fun. The amount of focus that it can take to become the best of your potential can be overwhelming and even the consideration of it may dissuade people from doing it. Making competing in peak form can induce burnout and Abdi has a great mindset that he shares to help avoid it. It recommend this book to anyone, runner or not, because of what it shares of life from someone who is driven to perform and has taken that to a consistent, successful career spanning many years.
Title: Abdi’s World
Author: Abdi Abdirahman with Myles Schrag
Length: 224 pages