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282 of 286 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive and Current Work
I think it is important that readers understand precisely what this 931-page books IS, and what it is not. Dr Noakes is a trained physician, a professor of exercise science, and a highly published researcher in the field of exercise physiology. His meticulously researched book (the online references occupy over 100 pages) offers an authoritative compilation of the...
Published on April 13, 2004

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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lore (?) of Running
At just under 1000 pages, I'm probably one of the relative few to have made it all the way through this, which was dubbed something other than "Lore" of Running by my wife, watching me drag it around for weeks. And it was a trek about as dry as a Badwater 100. There are a few exceptions, but this tends to be sterile and obsessive overall almost to the point of morbidity...
Published 19 months ago by Leon Worth


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282 of 286 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive and Current Work, April 13, 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
I think it is important that readers understand precisely what this 931-page books IS, and what it is not. Dr Noakes is a trained physician, a professor of exercise science, and a highly published researcher in the field of exercise physiology. His meticulously researched book (the online references occupy over 100 pages) offers an authoritative compilation of the latest and best research to guide the intelligent coach or self-coached runner in the structuring of productive and safe training regimens. For those who lack a PhD in physiology but still want to understand WHY they should perform specific types of training, based on current research, this book is simply unsurpassed. If all you want is a "table" of training prescriptions with no grounding in research or explanation of validity, then look elsewhere: this book is not for you.
In my opinion, Dr Noakes has done an excellent job of extracting results from current research and translating them from the highly specialized language of sports physiology into language that the intelligent layperson can understand. Indeed, I found the book pitched at a slightly less technical level than the popular competitor by Martin and Coe---a book I hve also found to be invaluable.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Fourth Edition is Noakes' unapologetic challenge of THE prevailing paradigm in distance running; he questions the widely accepted belief that an individual's VO(2) max, or maximal oxygen uptake figure, is the key limiting factor in distance running performance. In a carefully argued Chapter 2, complete with dozens of references to research of the past decade to support his claims, Dr Noakes argues for an alternative "Central Governor Model" in which exercise capacity is primarily limited by coronary blood flow to supply oxygen to the heart. I cannot even present an outline of this fascinating alternative model in the brief space allocated here, but suffice it to say that Chapter 2 of his book, in which this theory is developed in detail, is alone worth the price of the book.

In addition to the physiology of training, there are entire chapters devoted to temperature regulation, ergogencic aids, injury prevention and treatment, apparel (emphasis on shoes), etc: all of the usual topics with which self-coached runners must eventually cope.
If I were to offer criticisms of the book for the sake of balance, there would be only two, both relatively minor.
(1) Chapter 6, entitled "Learning from the Experts" offers training programs from a number of famous past champions who raced over distances from 1 mile to the ultramarathon. However, as Dr Noakes points out clearly and often, many of these runners, almost inhumanly gifted with natural ability, became champions IN SPITE OF their obsessive, unbalanced training programs, and not because of them. For the person of average gifts, emulating the training programs of, say, Dave Bedford (who occasionally logged as many as 160--200 miles per week!)is a certain prescription for injury (as it ultimately was for Bedford). I would therefore suggest changing the title of this chapter to "Learning from the Champions." The accomplishments of these highly gifted people all too often had very little to do with "Expertise" in rationale training, as the current title suggests, and far more to do with natural endowment.
(2) Since Dr Noakes is willing to challenge the VO(2) max paradigm so openly, I think it is necessary that he offer some guidance on precisely what differences to the training program his alternative Central Governor Model implies. It is not easy for the non-specialist to see what amendments to training are implied by this alternative model; perhaps an addition to be incorporated into the Fifth Edition?
In summary, if you are a self-coached runner looking for an intelligent basis on which to construct a training program, then this 931-page book is comprehensive and has no real rival. If, on the other hand, you would prefer a 5-page pamphlet offering some training tables for the beginner, then I advise you to look elsewhere.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal book on running, best I've come across., August 12, 2007
This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
I have been reading about running for the past couple of years--probably more than I ought to. I came upon this book recently in the library (most of my reading is online!) and upon poring through its pages have realized that a lot of what I've read either came from this book, or this book has a lot of what I've read in it. Noakes has written this tome relying upon the best science we have for running with all of its available studies. He bases his conclusions and statements on journal articles where possible and where not does not go overboard in conjecture.

He is an accomplished marathoner and ultra marathoner and in his practice has treated a lot of runners.

Go ahead and buy any book on running. It will have a section on nutrition with the basics that we all know. Contrast with the nutrition section in this and it's actually worth reading; he spends many pages on such details as the proper sodium levels in a beverage, the amount of liquid we need to drink while exercising (not the vague catch-all of "drink as much as you sweat"). His guides on injury and footware are the best researched I've found anywhere.

This is not just the best book on running I've seen, it's the best book _by far_.

I slight this book in two areas:

1) Injury treatment seems to be really slanted substantially toward footwear and orthotics. Now, there may be a reason for that I'm not aware of, and he does give time to exercises and "holistic" approches for injury prevention, including training the hips for, say, a knee problem and not just the feet, but I would have just preferred a bit more.

2) Running technique. He describes in detail the typical heel-strike of most runners but doesn't spend much time that I have found on particulars of technique, such as possibly forefooting or midfooting. Bits and pieces are throughout the book in this, but a subsection on what is now in vogue (pose technique, chirunning, etc.) would have been nice. I don't know that it's reasonable to dismiss these simply because he feels they're useless; I feel like he missed out.

That said, I really can't stress enough how much solid, quality stuff is in this book. He's not simply taking what "everyone knows" about running and making a thousand pages out of it; he does go into meaningful detail.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the final word on all things running, March 23, 2006
By 
D. S. Love (New York City) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
It would be hard to overstate the reach of this landmark tome on running. Noakes has put together, quite simply, THE authoritative resource on all things running. With a stunning level of historical and scientific research, Noakes reviews the entire global history of running, drawing well-reasoned conclusions about sports medicine, psychology, all aspects of training, injury prevention and acheiving the highest level of performance possible. Then he backs these theories up with irrefutable testimonials from the world's best runners of all time.

Noakes does all of this with a measured and humble attitude that presents his views with confidence, while acknowledging that there are always exceptions to any theory. Most importantly, he recognizes the importance of self-discovery and the illusory nature of "training secrets."

I can't recommend this book more highly, but offer one word of caution: don't try to digest this all in one sitting. It's a read best taken in small doses.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cautious Iconoclast, August 23, 2006
By 
Charissa Talsma (Big Rapids, MI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
This book is one of the best resources for a runner of a coach that I've come across. Noakes details a diverse sampling of current theories in exercise science, and explains them in a readable and comprehensible fashion. Alongside Daniels' Running Formula, this book is at the head of the pack with regard to allowing the non-scientist to understand research-based explanations concerning running performance.

Noakes is so rigorous in his standards of proof that he dismisses as unproven much of what is commonly accepted in the running community: the idea of improving VO2Max as a prime training goal, hydration recommendations, carbo loading, etc., unless there have been multiple clinical studies demonstrating their effectiveness, not only in improving a certain beneficial element of the runner's physiology, but in improving actual performance. This is refreshing, in that whatever he describes as beneficial will certainly improve your performance, but it also leads to a lot of question marks concerning what types of training are effective; a lot of practices are dubbed "potentially beneficial, but not potentially useless".

This is probably unsatisfying to the majority of runners, who want an authority to determine which of these potentially-beneficial practices are probable enough candidates to warrant incorporation into a training program, but that isn't Noakes' M.O. However, the book should provide solid shoulders from which current and future athletes--amateur researchers all--can experiment to determine just what works for them. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you purchase this book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, August 30, 2008
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This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
I bought this book because I'm told it has everything about running. It does, but, as a beginner, it's not what I was looking for. It doesn't advise so much as educate. I can now tell you all about pronation and the history of waffle treads, but I'm still not sure what my next pair of shoes should be.

Excellent and thorough book though. I've read much of it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LORE OF RUNNING, March 2, 2006
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This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
Superbly written. An excellent book for the technically oriented individual who wants to know the what and why of everything that happens in running. Still simple enough for any good coach to get important ideas as to how to train future and long time runners.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative Reference Work, February 29, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
I've read scores of running books and nothing compares to this one. It addresses every conceivable topic -- from training to injuries to equipment to nutrition -- with insights synthesized from the best scientific studies, leavened with the author's own intelligent extrapolations. The biographical analyses of history's greatest runners also happen to be immensely absorbing and entertaining.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing, June 16, 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
For the serious runner this is a must. Simply open the book to any page at random and you'll not only be hooked, but also enlightened. The medical advice is excellent. All distances are in kilometers, however, so have that conversion calculator going in your head.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any serious runner., September 7, 2006
This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
This book is excellent and an absolute necessity for anyone seriously interested in competitive running. Noakes covers all of the basics concerning the physiological and psychological aspects of running and presents them in a clear manner. The discussions about stretching, overtraining, and injury are equally useful as a reference.

The best part of the book for me was the analysis, in chronological order, of the careers of the great runners of the past and their varied methods of attaining world class stature.

It is hugely beneficial to study the likes of Newton, DeMar, Nurmi, the incomparable Zatopek, etc. The information on the great Bruce Fordyce, a figure not sufficiently known in the US, was of extreme interest; who would ever believe that an ultramarathoner could run a 5k that fast and do those speed workouts? It is particularly useful to study those among the greats who suffered from chronic overtraining and draw the obvious conclusions that are so elusive to many of us.

Any person who reads this book and thoughtfully applies its ideas about training (memorize the "Laws of Training")is bound to improve dramatically. The text will provide the reader with the theoretical concepts necessary to construct a scientific training program that works for you. The extensive bibliography and documentation will point the serious reader to points of particular interest. I have not studied the literature extensively, but this is the best book on running that I ever read and I return to it constantly as a resource.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More info than you can shake a stick at, March 2, 2006
By 
This review is from: Lore of Running, 4th Edition (Paperback)
The only downside to this book is that the amount of information is overwhelming! If you have any questions about what makes and keeps a person running, it is in here.

That said, everything is explained beautifully. The biggest benefit of this book is how simple Dr. Noakes makes these very complicated topics seem.
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Lore of Running, 4th Edition
Lore of Running, 4th Edition by Timothy Noakes (Paperback - December 3, 2002)
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