Customer Reviews

94
4.7 out of 5 stars
The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$18.17 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Phil Maffetone has followed up his highly influential works of over a decade ago with a volume not only validated by basic science and research but more importantly experienced and felt by those willing to use the methods. I am a physician and lifelong distance runner trying now to teach healthy lifelong endurance for patients to help them deal with life...not just athletics. I discovered Phil's principles after recovering from foot surgeries from overuse running injuries in 2000. Training slower was a tough pill to swallow at first but as soon as I saw the results of aerobic development in how I felt all day there was no turning back to the "no pain, no gain" approach. Now its "No Pain, Thank You."
With his methods I've achieve a sub 2:35 marathon in 4 decades and we've even opened a small running and walking store in a small rural community teaching his principles ([...]
We are also trying to transform how the US Air Force approaches fitness and help them achieve success in their annual fitness tests and their demanding jobs. This, of course, involves Maffetone principles.
Mark Cucuzzella MD, Assoc Prof of Family Medicine West Virginia University and Lt Col USAF Reserves
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
105 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
I want to highly recommend this book and its approach [and I have, in the past, to friends] but I would now hesitate after 1 year with Maffetone. Today, I find myself unsure of the principles and frustrated with the gaps left open within this book. Let me summarize what I have found that I believe is very worthwhile and/or appealing:

* The principle that fat utilization must be maximized for peak endurance performance

* Dietary principles of reducing excessive carbohydrate intake and eliminating allergenic foods (such as gluten) for optimal health

* The appeal of an relatively easy-intensity way to good health and peak performance

As one who'd tried higher intensity training efforts for amateur running and cycling, I found Maffetone's message very appealing. I especially gravitated to it after cutting the carbohydrate in my diet which limited my access to higher intensity training. I tried adhering to his heart-rate based formula to keep my training intensities within the prescribed training band and started, after 3 months, to see slivers of success in training. On the treadmill, over time, I eventually saw a 0.5 mph improvement in pace at the same heart rate. On the bicycle trainer, a 30 watt improvement at Maff heart rates. These changes were very gradual, however, as I train only 3-4 hours / week. In fact, for 3 months, I saw virtually NO improvement at all. Now, I was not a perfect adherent to the principle of NO anaerobic work; I did weight train, but only 2x a week and only for 30 minutes at a time (actual time in the act of weight lifting was likely only 15 min a week with rest-between-sets time factored out). Does this invalidate my results? I should hope that the human body is not so frail that a mere lifting of something heavy a couple of times, on off days, is enough to completely destroy aerobic adaptations. What a weak species we would be. Consider that I'm not training 10-15 hours a week as many, more dedicated runners might be doing. Either way, you should know from where I'm coming from. Maffetone does indicate that he considers any aerobic training in excess of his prescribed heart rate formula or weight training of ANY kind (regardless of the heart rate) to be `anaerobic' work that could interfere or destroy aerobic adaptations. Nevertheless, I do feel that my training schedule, overall, was light enough that I was exercising well within my recover abilities. Nevertheless, my results on his program were modest at best. I sleep well, eat fantastically healthy compared to the average Joe (frutis, vegetables, low carb diet, omega-3s daily, lean meats, healthy amounts of good fats --- you get the point). Even though I did see what could be regarded as "significant" improvement in a couple of markers, I found that very little of this translated during races. As such, let me summarize the issues I've come to see with the Maffetone method:

* The 180 formula does NOT take into account individual variations in heart rate stroke volume or muscle physiology for different sports. Maffetone does not consider maximum heart rate nor resting heart rate to be significant. Instead, his formulas are purely a function of age and a few modifiers that have nothing to do with your heart's individual characteristics. This seems to fly in the face of common sense and science. If you have a larger heart with a greater stroke volume, then you will be pumping more blood at 140 beats, doing more work and feeling a higher level of perceived exertion (and likely have a lower max heart rate) than someone with a smaller heart who, at 140 beats, might feel as though they are barely working. This is why most heart rate-based programs factor in maximum (and some resting heart rate) - the level of exertion for someone with a max hr at 170 will be different than someone with a max of 200. In addition, Maffetone does not consider "perceived exertion" which varies between sports at a given heart rate, to be significant: one Maff heart rate for all. Really? A swimmer should use the same heart rate as a runner though we know that the muscle composition of the upper body is likely very different than the legs (which are designed for long-range locomotion)? Isn't that why you would likely have a higher perceived exertion at a given heart rate in swimming or perhaps cycling than running - different muscle fiber composition? I should think so but Maff believes that the same metabolic demands are being made so the training effect is identical. I dare to say that this is likely to be proved wrong by science but I only dispute it today by my intuition that "perceived " exertion is a real phenomenon that is being ignored by Maffetone. He does not present a cogent explanation for ignoring it other than saying that weight bearing sports produce a higher perceived exertion. Weak. It certainly doesn't explain the difference between cycling and swimming which are both non-weight bearing but generate different perceived exertions. I strongly suspect that more sugar-burning aerobic fibers are involved in swimming given the use of upper body muscles and, hence, the higher perceived exertion than running (which uses muscles with a higher % of red muscle fibers) at a given heart rate but that's' for a physiologist to work out. I don't buy Maff's explanation at all, however.

* There is absolutely no guidance with regard to training volumes for different sports what-so-ever. Inexcusable. On the one hand, we're given, effectively, a simple one-size-fits-all 180 heart rate formula that does not take into account anything substantive in the way of individual cardiovascular physiology - yet we're told that training volumes are largely and individual matter. OK, fine, but can you give me a suggestion for the minimums here? A range? Can I improve at such low heart rates training 3x a week for 30 minutes a day? No guidance. Let me save you some suspense here - unlikely. For a book about `racing', there's an almost total lack of any sort of even semi-structured program regarding durations and frequency for ANY sport (save one small and not very useful example of a triathlete schedule)- just a lot of sidebar anecdotes of people training for unspecified periods of time and having "success" or reducing volumes, when specified, from 18 to 12 hours a week (volumes far in excess of many amateurs I know). While it might vary from individual to individual and given your goals, I think we can all agree that training 1x/week for 1 minute will get you nowhere. So there, that's a lower boundary we can all agree on. Extreme case? Yes - but the point is one can and ought to give a lower limit from which to start a training program to see progress and then principles upon which to evaluate whether volume should increase or decrease.

* Heart rate variations are not thoroughly discussed. There seems to be this implicit and rather impractical notion that you can train up to the maximum prescribed heart rate and just hold it there - as if it is some number that can be reached and held. If my maximum "aerobic" heart rate, as prescribed by the 180 formula, is 140, I can guarantee you it will drift to 141, 142, even 144 and then back to 140, 139, 138 within any given 2 minute period of time - I know, I've seen it happen all the time. At such low heart rates, my body is so relaxed that if I so much as *think* about something a little exciting, my heart rate will spike. How much variation around my max Maff heart rate should be tolerated? We're told, none. So, given the natural variation in heart rate that occurs in training (i.e. I see +/- 3 beats, routinely), best to play it safe and shoot for Maff -3 so as not to exceed it for even a brief period. All in all, at such low heart rates, it is subject to considerable "noise" from your state-of-mind, thoughts, ambient temperatures, etc.

* Mis-use of the term "aerobic". Maffetone clearly defines what he means by "aerobic" early on to refer to that which uses predominately fat for fuel while fully acknowledging that, technically, sugar is burned aerobically as well. Nevertheless, anything that uses sugar, predominately, for fuel, is deemed anaerobic for purposes of discussion in the book. Fine. However, later in the book, he seeks to emphasize the value of his training principles by pointing out that the aerobic system provides 99% of the energy for long distance aerobic events. OK, wait a minute. Now, yes, that's true, but that involves both the sugar and fat burning systems (and sugar burning would actually account for a larger portion of that 99% than fat at higher intensity aerobic events) but he "implies" that it's the fat burning system providing that 99%. Let's keep the discussion about "aerobic" system straight here and acknowledge that the sugar-burning component IS a critical system for racing success as well.

* Results. Bottom line, if you train for modest volumes (read: 5 hours / week or fewer), I think your success will be modest at best. I conducted 95% of my aerobic training with Maffetone principles and, while I've seen some improvement, it was absolutely dwarfed, in comparison, by my prior success with programs such as Smart Coach provided by Runner's world wherein, training at more moderate intensities for most of my longer runs and doing just one speed workout a week resulted in a 9 minute improvement in my half marathon time in just 3.5 months of training (40s/mile improvement in pace). My average training week was only 18 miles/week (3 hours/week) when using the program prescribed by Smart Coach [and I weight trained....]. Compare that to training for 4-5 hours / week using Maff and I've seen - I don't know,....maybe 1-2 minutes of improvement for a half marathon- if you squint. In fact, Chris Carmichael has pointed out in his book "The Time-Crunched Cyclist" that, if you have less than 8 hours / week to train, traditional, lower-intensity programs just don't work for such folks. That's the only guidance I have right now and I would pass that on to those considering the Maff approach.

So, while I think there is some value here, I think a follow-on book with much more specific guidance is needed. Realistic training expectations need to be established based on possible training volumes. Actual training programs should be indicated with clear discussions of "frequency" and "duration" for running, cycling, swimming and triathlons. Different distances could be discussed as well. Given the size of this book, the actual intellectual content could have been condensed to 1/3 the size. That leaves 2/3rd of relative fluff that could have been used to address the aforementioned gaps in concrete training advice and coaching.
1414 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Dr. Maffetone is a pioneer and his methods work. His coaching helped Mark Allen win six Ironman World Championship titles in Hawaii. Dr. Maffetone's 180 Formula for determining maximum aerobic heart rate (MAHR), coupled with his maximum aerobic function (MAF) test are the foundation for an effective training and racing program. Since I started following his methods, my race times have dropped, injuries are very rare and my overall health has improved.

The information on 'carbohydrate intolerance' and Dr. Maffetone's Two-Week Test are priceless. I've completed the Two-Week Test and experienced the benefit of more even energy levels and reduced belly fat. Why do we eat so many refined carbohydrates and so much sugar anyway? Stop it for two weeks (based on the protocol outlined), see how you feel and how much weight you lose, and then decide how you want to eat. Dr. Maffetone also details how eating fewer refined carbs and less sugar will improve your training and racing. But don't take my word for it - the MAF test (running a set course at MAHR) will provide you with the results.

Results: at age 29 I qualified for the Ironman in Hawaii and completed the race in 10:37. Several years later I started using Dr. Maffetone's methods and competed in races up to ½ Ironman in length. (This book includes the information from two of Dr. Maffetone's earlier titles, Training for Endurance and Eating for Endurance.) At age 43 I qualified for Hawaii again and set a goal of beating my previous Hawaii time. I completed the race in 10:19. This would not have happened without Dr. Maffetone's methods.

I give this book to the triathletes I coach and it is the basis for our work together. The key is that athletes feel and see the results; this is motivating. "The Big Book" truly is THE book for faster race times, reduced body fat and better overall health.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
That's what 90% of this book's information revolves around, so if you are going to use his methods, understand that you will need one, and that you will be monitoring all of your workouts.

There is a lot of other information in the book, and he has added a lot of anecdotes from individuals that have used his methods and had success, so whatever your sport or activity, if you are doubting what he says, others have too, but doing it his way has given them great results. Just about every person that gives you their story basically says "I thought there was no way this would work, it sucked and I thought that I was losing my speed and ability, and in the end I was not only faster, but I had fewer injuries."

I just want you to be mentally prepared for the fact that if you buy this book, and are going to use his methods, you should understand that buying a heart rate monitor is mandatory.

Also, there aren't really any pictures or charts that are better in the print version than the kindle version, so if you are trying to decide if the hard copy is worth it, you can get the kindle without losing anything.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Dr. Phil Maffetone is a legend in the world of triathlon and endurance sports. His eloquent writing style is entertaining and instructive with proven results (6X World Champion Mark Allen). This book is not only suitable for the entry-level endurance runner, cyclist, swimmer or triathlete, but will bring breakthrough levels of performance to the intermediate and elite-level athlete.

The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing is the ultimate reference book for all endurance athletes, or, quite frankly, anyone seeking to achieve a healthy, fit lifestyle.

I rate this book a **Strong Buy** and long-term Core Holding in everyone's library.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Having heard Phil Maffetone on trailrunnernation, buying the book was the only obvious immediate follow up I could make. And then following a plethora of advice the next many follow ups thereafter.

As he does so clearly not have any commercial interest in what sports product you buy, consume or wear, his advice is so much more believable.

The book itself is big. But it's worth reading every page and touches domains I would have not expected, like a detailed physiology of the foot. Which now seems obvious, since it is the one part or the human body that has to deal with all the impacts of running, cycling and even swimming (pushing off the wall...). So you better know all about it.

I still cannot believe I have not heard earlier about him, but am now sharing his thoughts and advice as much as I can - let alone follow it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I purchased this book at Dr. Cuccuzella's recommendation (see his review above) and it has changed the way I train. In addition to the fascinating depth of information available, I appreciate the whole-body approach to training and his ability to back up his approach with real world examples. The only thing I'll add here is to suggest purchasing the physical book instead of the kindle version at this time. It appears the kindle version of this book was created, either by the author or publisher, with trial software. As a result there is a "nag" page every few clicks witha message saying that the book was "Created with trial version of EPUB to Kindle Converter" which is very distracting, and there are no chapter points in the kindle version. For a reference style book of this length, not being able to jump from chapter to chapter is disappointing and problematic.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A few years ago, I was barely able to walk, much less run. I suffered from horrendous Plantar Fasciitis in both feet that would leave me hobbled after a morning of coaching my kid's soccer team. Trips to the podiatrist, painful injections in the heels, and expensive custom orthotics didn't seem to help. I was giving up all hope when my wife and I saw Christopher McDougall, the author of "Born to Run," interviewed on the Daily Show. He described the same "icepick in the heel" pain I was having, so my wife bought his book for me as a gift. It literally changed my life, actually, considering my family history of heart disease, may have saved my life. While I have trained barefoot to work on form, I do not consider myself a barefoot runner. But, I have readjusted my gait to a very natural, mid-foot running form using Newton Running shoes. While it took a while to build up my atrophied calf muscles, less than 2 years later and 50 years old, I was running regularly without joint pain, but was still struggling every now and then with significant flu-like pain and fatigue. And my Plantar Fasciitis, the vampire bite of running injuries, was always lurking out there forcing me to take 2, sometimes even 3 rest days between runs, and when it would flare, I could be down for 2 to 3 months. In summary, I was running, I was running better, but I was still struggling more than I felt I should be. When I tried to extend my runs out to the 8 to 12 mile range, I always found a demon lurking out there in the thin air, ready to pour cement in my legs while I would bonk and my body would shut down. The dream of running a marathon seemed beyond my grasp.

While researching a "100-Ups" drill on McDougall's website, I stumbled across McDougall's endorsement for Dr. Maffetone's book. I bought the Kindle edition and started reading "The Big Book on Endurance Training and Racing" and was hooked by the first few pages of the introduction. I learned that the biggest hurdle I had to get over was my male ego. I was pushing too hard and running too fast. My running partner and I were both suffering from aerobic deficiencies that we could measure with our heart rate monitors. While we could run moderate distances in the 8's and 9's, we were locomotives causing injury in our anaerobic zones, and excess weight just wasn't coming off. So, while skeptical, I decided to give the Maffetone method a try and only a month later, I am happy to report to all of you I have seen amazing improvements in my aerobic function by slowing down and following Maffetone's advice. Here are summary results from my two actual MAF tests 1 month apart. To demonstrate just how deficient my aerobic zone was, I had to slow down from my usual 9 min/mile pace to 12:37/mile average in my first 4 mile MAF test. Talk about a blow to the ego! But in the book's sidebars, you will learn that you are not alone, that even elite athletes have suffered from the same aerobic/anaerobic imbalance. So, 1 month later, at the same aerobic heart rate, my average time in my most recent MAF test has improved to 11:28/mile.

Additional benefits of training aerobically and teaching my body how to burn fat is that I have lost a total of 10 pounds so far. I have left that demon behind in the dust, and I am now running a ½ marathon every weekend with plenty of gas left in the tank, and I will run my first marathon in the spring. I can even run back-to-back runs if my training schedule calls for it, which is a miracle for me considering where I've come from. And when I need to pick the pace up on race day, I find that my AHR is lower than it used to be, even when I am in the anaerobic zone, and I can gradually pick up my pace as the race progresses. I feel that Maffetone is teaching me how to build this much needed, and often overlooked base.

While McDougall's book provided the inspiration for the paradigm shift I so desperately needed, I honestly believe that Maffetone's book was the missing piece to the puzzle. Get this book, get a good heart-rate monitor, set the ego aside, and enjoy pain-free progress in your running. I cannot recommend it enough.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
At age 47, I have been running for many years, but only started running halfs and marathons over the past two years. I increased my mileage from 15 miles per week to 40 without changing my pace, but found myself with nagging injuries. I also saw my race times increasing instead of dropping. I beleive this book has the solutions to my problems. After a few weeks following Dr. Maffetone's advice on diet and running, I have lost a few pounds, I feel great, my injuries are healed, I don't feel sleepy in the afternoon and I'm starting to see improvements in my aerobic pace. Thanks, Doc!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have discovered that there is a lot to learn. I have made so many mistakes killing my self at training. Now I know that I possible to do better but being smarter and with less effort.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed


80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower
80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower by Matt Fitzgerald (Paperback - September 2, 2014)
$11.11
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.