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Four Months to a Four-hour Marathon,Updated Paperback – June 27, 2006
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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.
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.
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.
So, I really liked this book. Now, there are some stipulations. First, you can't be obese and expect to have this book work. Second, if you're not alread able to run faster than an 9 minute mile at the age of less than 40 then you will not be able to follow this book.
The rule of thumb is to double the trainining time if you're older than 45. The times are spot on if you're 30 to 40. The times are long if you're younger than 30 but if you're that young then this book is too basic for you.
Get this book on discount and you can't go wrong.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Haven't seen the results yet, but hopefully after my marathon I can post an update. The plans look fairly common to other running schedules, but perhaps the small differences will... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Erica Rose Belverstone
Well-written, short, and covers what you need (and often didn't consider) in marathon running; the marathon plan is essential, and helpful to say the least.Published 3 months ago by Dog
The title can be misleading for very new runners. However, it have various levels to completing a marathon and the schedule is clear. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Zulette Henry
I have done a marathon and used some of the same principles to train in 12 weeks for a half marathon. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Kelly