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Lore of Running, 4th Edition Paperback – December 3, 2002
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About the Author
Dr. Timothy Noakes is Discovery health professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town and director of the medical research council/UCT research unit for exercise science and sports medicine at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Newlands. Noakes received his MD from the University of Cape Town. He is a veteran of more than 70 marathons and ultramarathons. He is an editorial board member for many international sport science journals and a former president of the South African Sports Medicine Association. In 1999, he was elected as one of 22 founding members of the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Science Academy. Noakes is also a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He and his wife, Marilyn Anne, reside in Cape Town, South Africa.
Top customer reviews
For coaches and experienced marathoners, this is a great book that summarizes research. At the same time, Noakes doesn't leave out the details of training that are too often thought to be common knowledge such as training apparel.
As a college coach, I enjoyed reading this book for the scientific side of running that Noakes can contribute because of his background in exercise science. I simply do not have time to read through individual research publications, as Noakes has done, and then compile the information by subject matter.
This book should remain on the shelf for those times when you need a source of reference. The science of running is constantly evolving (and certainly has since the publication of this book). Coaching runners is about trial and error. Coaches must understand that every athlete is going to react to a stimulus differently. Thus, this is a great resource but should NOT be treated as the only source of training for runners in the 10k and up.
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.