The author of a ""how-to"" guide (Women Running) now looks approvingly at the psychology of running--specifically, the...


RUNNING FREE: A Book for Women Runners and Their Friends

The author of a ""how-to"" guide (Women Running) now looks approvingly at the psychology of running--specifically, the ""changes that running can induce"" in the individual, the family, and some larger groups such as the medical establishment. Ullyot--a physician, a runner, and a major figure in women's running--tells her own story as ""The Transformation of a Cream Puff,"" illustrating (once again) that if she can do it, anyone can. She then addresses herself to the basic psychological differences between men and women runners; and finds that although women are at a disadvantage because of lack of early training and societal expectations, they may after all have a psychological edge: because they're running for themselves (no ""athletic machismo""), because they're more realistic (and less romantic), women generally run more sensibly, and are less likely to overextend and injure themselves in order to make an impression on others. Changes in women's self image can cause changes in their relationships: taking note of an apparent association between hard running and divorce (including her own), Ullyot feels not that running breaks up marriages, but that running is a response to stress--and even that ""it seems more accurate to say that running helped to facilitate new insights about the basic premises on which the relationship was founded."" Just in case, there is some advice for husbands: ""Be sure to act impressed with your wife's first mile. Ninety-nine percent of the women in America can't, or won't, jog an entire mile. A women who does so deserves extravagant praise."" Ullyot's enthusiastic acceptance of running as the ultimate sport, and her nose-in-the-air attitude toward many other athletes weakens her arguments and will turn some readers off. In spite of this, and some of her assumptions about women (""What woman would be caught dead [in a black and orange running shoe]-except on Halloween""), she offers some interesting speculation on the why's and wherefore's.

Pub Date: July 1, 1980


Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1980