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The Competitive Runner's Handbook: The Bestselling Guide to Running 5Ks through Marathons Paperback – April 1, 1999
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"Competitive running gives your running life a focus. Competition measures progress. You set a goal and accomplish it." Bob Glover and Shelly-lynn Florence Glover, authors of The Competitive Runner's Handbook, know what they're talking about. Bob has run competitively for nearly 40 years, coached for 30 years, and completed more than 30 marathons, while Shelly-lynn has raced for more than 20 years and is an exercise physiologist with a master's degree from Columbia University. They've coauthored several books on running. Clocking in at over 600 pages, The Handbook covers basic training techniques, gives tips on speed training, and outlines regimens for specific races: short, 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon. There are also sections on motivation and the mental aspects of competitive running, proper running form, nutrition, dealing with illness and injury, and more. In addition, the book includes many helpful charts. Straightforward and authoritative, this is a comprehensive reference guide that's suited to runners of all levels. --Andy Boynton
From Library Journal
As anyone who has ever run competitively knows, there's more to it than putting one foot in front of the other as fast as possible. The Glovers here provide a full range of advice and instruction on all aspects of running, including diet, exercise, training, strategy, and footwear.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Following the recommendations of some runners I know, I bought this book. In my view, it's just about perfect, and it could be the only resource most runners would ever need. It strikes a great balance between being casual and fun to read, while still containing a healthy dose of the denser scientific stuff which is necessary for effective training and racing (lactate threshold, carbo-loading, etc.). There is very thorough coverage of the major kinds of speed training, hill training, long runs, and so on; great chapters on injury prevention/recovery, diet, mental training, and footwear; and specific chapters and training plans devoted to the major race distances from 5k to marathon (as the title states), and much more. You get the idea - this book covers pretty much every topic of running with good detail. I don't believe it says much about the latest fad, barefoot running, but training principals are significantly altered for that method compared to normal shoe running, so you'd probably want an entire book specifically devoted to it.
While I say that this might be all a typical runner would ever need (and that is true) I use it as my 'bible,' the resource I go to first and always return to, while still consulting other sources like magazines or other classic training guides such as those by Daniels and Galloway. As Bob Glover points out in an early chapter of this book, other training guides are neither right nor wrong, just a different application of the same training principals used by everyone.
In my review title, I suggest getting this book over the more beginner-oriented 'Runner's Handbook' by the same authors. I don't own that one, but I recently spent a good 15 minutes paging through it at the bookstore; this book contains basically all the same information, PLUS the more in-depth and advanced material. It's beneficial to read that stuff, and view the training plans that an elite athlete would use, just for the perspective, even if you're still a novice. With any luck this book will help you catch the running bug, and within several months or a year you'll need some more advanced advice - so just get this book and get it over with.
This is one of those books that is rare in any field - a well-written, extremely credible, thorough guide that basically has no drawbacks. Get it, you won't be sorry.
Many marathon training books properly emphasize cross-training and rest, rest, rest, but my experience is that there is too much emphasis on rest. The Glovers' plans (which can be tweaked and customized pretty easily based on your goals and fitness level) called for much more running, much more hard running and more mileage. The plans still emphasize rest, but the cold, hard truth seems to be that the best way to train for a marathon is to log a lot of miles.
I also appreciated the tone of the book. It was upbeat, but did not include too much "cheerleader-ese." Too many of these books try to be inspirational and egg the reader on, and if that's what a reader needs maybe he or she shouldn't be running a hard race to begin with.
I read this book exclusively for marathon training so I can't speak to the shorter, faster race plans, but as a marathon training book I found this to be the best (by far) after having read several others.