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Four Months to a Four-hour Marathon,Updated Paperback – June 27, 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dave Kuehls is a contributing editor for Runner’s World, the world’s largest running magazine. He has also written for Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health, GQ, and ESPN magazine. His fastest marathon is 2:57.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; Rev Upd edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399532595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399532597
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i'm a 38 year old male who had never run a distance of more than 6 miles, though to be fair, i have been an avid runner for several years. i followed dave's book almost to the letter and ran 3:47 for my first marathon -- which was the ny -- a notoriously slow marathon. felt great the whole race, no wall, plenty of kick at the end. what sets book apart from others i skimmed was that it was more suitable for a "real" person's schedule. . .. basically, short runs during the week, and one long run on the weekend. couple of days of rest. only complaint with the book is that it is light on discussing injuries -- just gives the pithy advice of "stop running" for most every minor discomfort, which i suspect is likely just CYA.
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Format: Paperback
NOT FOR BEGINNERS! This might be a great training program for somebody who has already run marathons and is looking for an easier way to train. However, I have been a runner for 15 years and decided to run my first marathon, and this program was totally inadequate.

Unfortunately I didn't consult my experienced marathoner friends before starting this program. I learned the hard way that this program DOES NOT REQUIRE ENOUGH WEEKLY MILEAGE to run a sub 4 hour marathon. The longest run at race pace is 8 miles. The author makes it seem like it will be so easy to stretch that 8 miles at race pace into 26. I was COMPLETELY UNPREPARED for the marathon and hit the wall at 13 miles. I think somebody without a strong running base could seriously injure themselves using this program.

From what I've heard Hal Higdon's program prepares you much better for the race than this book and has the necessary weekly mileage so you won't get hurt.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is rather misleading. It should be Four Months to a Sub-5-hour Marathon

First of all, the author states at the start of Chapter 2, "Oprah Winfrey ran her first marathon in 4 hours." He then repeats that statement for emphasis. The truth is Oprah came in at 4:29 something. Not to put down her time, but I think the author's translation of "4 hour marathon" is a time with a "4" in the hours column. i.e. anything from 4:00 to 4:59. He gives four training plans: ones for 4:00, 4:15, 4:30 and 4:45. Throughout the book he talks about your longest run being 24 miles, which is a lot longer than the vast majority of marathon plans, especially for first timers. Yet, the 4:00 program tops off at 21 miles. All of the other slower programs do go up to 24 miles. I'm not sure if this is a typo or what. But it makes no sense to me. Also, it seems none of the programs have you doing anything more than 35 miles a week at peak. This seems rather low. There's also a whole lot of filler here: how to drink at a water stop, what to wear at different temperatures - gloves, hat, coat, long pants when it's cold, shorts and t shirt when it's warm, how to heel strike, etc.

I recently ran my first marathon at 4:26:57. I thought this book would help me break 4:00. Ultimately, it was the wrong book for me.
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Format: Paperback
I do not recommend this book. It does give some useful information on running--general stuff on what to eat and wear and where to run. If you are new to running you might find it helpful. However, the training program is terrible. I ran my first marathon in a little over 4.5 hours. I took it very easy though and there were a lot of hills, so I was hoping that with the flat Chicago course and some harder training I could run a 4 hour marathon. A lofty goal, but my plan B goal was a sub-4.5 marathon. I bought this book hoping to reach at least one of my goals (unfortunately, the stifling heat ended this year's Chicago marathon before I finished & I had to walk a couple miles so I did not reach either goal, but that's not Kuehls's fault).

To run a four hour marathon, you need to run a 9 minute mile. I used to be able to run several miles at that pace, but this training program made me SLOWER. Here's the basic plan: there are two 20-30 minute jogs each week that are supposed to be done around a 12 minute mile pace (yeah, that's HARD--it took me a couple weeks before I could even get that slow). Your long run is supposed to be done at a 10:40 to 11:20 minute mile pace. Then you have one interval speed workout (at the beginning of the program) or a tempo run (at the end of the program to be done at a 8:40ish minute mile pace). How one fast run a week is supposed to prepare you for 26 miles at a 9 minute mile pace is beyond me. It didn't make sense at the beginning & I guess I'm the fool for following the plan anyway. If you want an easy training program, choose this one. If you want to run a 4 hour marathon, look for something else.

Now that the marathon is over, I need to work on building up the speed I lost over the last four months.
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Format: Paperback
My personal experience with this book:
I bought this guide a little after finishing my first marathon in 4:51. While my main goal was just to finish, I felt that I could have done better. For my first marathon, I had been using a basic mileage program that didn't involve speedwork. This book had similar weekly mileage, with added speedwork, so I gave it a go.

I decided that I wanted to get my time down to 4:30, since I was already comfortable running that pace. To test out the training plan before committing to it for a full marathon, I used a modified version of the 4:30 plan to train for a half marathon I had coming up (cut down on length of speedwork and long runs, got rid of a taper week). My previous best in the half was 2:26; I finished my half using this plan in 2:19. I had hurt my overall time by being overly cautious for the first 5 miles, and it put me too far behind to get where I wanted at the end.

Taking all of this previous experience into account, I decided to train with the 4:15 plan to give myself a cushion. About halfway through the 4:15 program, I noticed that the long-run pacing and distances seemed a bit... off. I'd had absolutely no trouble running at the 4:30 long-run pace (found it difficult to go that slow, actually! It might have even been TOO slow), but the 4:15 long-run pace I found incredibly difficult to maintain. In the book the author states that your long runs should be run at about 90-120 seconds slower than race pace, but the 4:15 pace was only 65-95 seconds slower. I only noticed after really starting to struggle halfway through.
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Four Months to a Four-hour Marathon,Updated
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