BOOKS IN BRIEF
THE NEW YORK ROAD RUNNERS CLUB COMPLETE BOOK OF RUNNING, Random House, 634 pp., $20, appears 15 years after the "Bible" of the jogging set, Jim Fixx's "The Complete Book of Running." While the new book lifts the title of its predecessor, so many developments have occurred in the intervening years that this represents a welcome update. It is authored by Road Runners Club president Fred Lebow and longtime club member Gloria Averbuch, with help from a host of expert contributors.
Lebow explains that public awareness about running was minimal some 20 years ago when he went to a newsstand to buy a running magazine and was handed Road & Track. Since then, information has poured forth, and much of it is shared here in page upon page of advice on training, diet, fitness, and the like. It would sink under its own specialized weight, except that there are so many leavening touches that even a nonrunner can find this a fascinating study of an athletic subculture.
In a section of tips for environmentally conscious runners (aren't they all?), the authors suggest carrying a personal water supply to races to reduce the number of throwaway cups. Elsewhere, it explains that with today's moisture-managing fibers, running in old-fashioned sweats - sweat shirts and sweat pants - is the equivalent of using a rotary-dial telephone.
The favorite recipes of elite runners fill one chapter, and they aren't bland health foods, but dishes with real appeal like Joan Benoit Samuelson's honey chicken and Bill Rodgers's pasta with vegetables.
SIDELINES: BEHIND THE SCENES OF AMERICA'S FAVORITE SPORT, Cadmus, 289 pp., $40, explores pro football with a well-conceived and well-executed game plan. Within its pebble-grained, hologram-accented cover, two objectives are realized. The first half of the book reveals much of what is little seen - training camps, strategy formulation, and the life of scouts, game officials, and equipment handlers. Among the revelations: The Atlanta Falcons pack about 3-1/2 tons of equipment whenever they hit the road; pl ayers around the National Football League are assigned a target weight and percentage of body fat before they go to offseason minicamps.
The remainder of the book is devoted to entertainingly presented histories of the NFL's 28 teams, with time lines and bar graphs that neatly consolidate each team's yearly results.
In true football fashion, the book is a team effort of 11 sportswriters, who bring a wealth of day-to-day observation to bear on this project.