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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 26 reviews
on June 3, 2013
For years, a friend who's quite an experienced coach and accomplished master's runner himself has been recommending this book to me. And I always thought, "Road Racing for Serious Runners" ?? No way! I'm NOT serious! Between two young young kids, a busy job, long commute, household chores and maintenance, volunteer stuff, etc., etc., -- oh, and at age 53 -- I barely have time to squeeze in 30 - 40 miles a week when things are perfect.
But finally, after a stretch of PWs (personal worsts) races the past year and herky-jerky aimless training, I broke down and bought it about 2 months ago.

One of the best training guides I've ever read/followed! (And I've been a runner for 35+ years.) Here's why:
1. The physiology/sports-science chapters up front are a great mix of information, presented in a very readable/conversational tone. Super approachable stuff that just makes sense as you read. Not over-done, either.
2. The training plans are tailored to fit ANY level of runner, looking to improve at ANY distance from 5K to the marathon -- and at ANY pace. So, even if you're jogging 20mpw and hope to break 34 min. for a 5km, you'll find a great plan to fit your needs.
3. The training approach is similar to my other favorite training book: "Jack Daniels' Running Formuala." So, instead of a day-by-day, 7/days/week strict regiment, it gives you just 3 key workouts/week to focus on. Do them in any order, and however best fits your schedule. Miss one of those workouts? Skip it and don't sweat it, and keep moving on... The key, it explains, is establishing a good pattern over 12- to 15-weeks.
4. Outside those 3 days, it encourages you to do what you like -- and what fits. So, easy running for most folks. Or, maybe cycling, cross-training or something else for others.
5. The flexibility is incredible -- and the progression feels do-able, even for us mere mortals who are less than obsessed with nailing PRs every race!
6. Reading it feels more like being mentored and encouraged by a great and wise old coach -- rather than being forced into a regimented, one-size-fits-all program. (My life outside of running is already regimented and scheduled enough!)
7. It respects the reader's intelligence and self-awareness. So, yeah, it requires a little more thought than following some cookie cutter training plan book. But that's awesome!

Take my word for it: Perhaps the best training book for "citizen" runners, ever. Highly recommended.
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on October 2, 2007
What I like most about Pfitzinger's and Scott's book is that it is a very friendly efficient book that gets right into the subject matter and it breaks down what others describe in more complex fashion, like VO2 Max, into much simplier terms making the comprehension easy and in far fewer pages. Although written in the very late 90s, this book is still an excellent guide for HS and runners virtually up to local elite status. "Daniels Running Formula" is probably mote satisfying, and more detailed for top guns but Pfitziner and Scott give you a lot of the same information with a variety of workouts based on goal times at various distances. The authors even quote Daniel's research and others so it still is in the game. If you want a quick grasp training book that is top knotch, pleasant to read with examples and pictures, then this is your book.
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on March 31, 2000
There are several good books available now that explain "state of the art" training for distance runners. Most of those books deal with concepts like VO2 max and lactate threshold and show the reader how to make use of those concepts in his or her training. This is the best book I've seen of that type. The concepts are explained clearly, and the author shows how to train effectively and efficiently using these and other key concepts. I felt like I understood a lot more about training when I finished the book, and rereading some sections has deepened my understanding. I especially like the fact that training schedules are easy to understand, reasonably flexible, and that schedules are provided for runners at different levels and for different distances, e.g. runners who do around 20 miles a week and want to train for a 5K. I remember watching the author win the 1984 Olympic marathon trials against many runners who arguably had more talent, and that credibility should give the reader confidence that good results will come if the schedules and principless are applied.
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on September 28, 2013
One thing that was and is still very unclear to me is the total weekly mileage.
For instance, in the first week of the advanced schedule (40+ miles per week)it says 46 total miles but when you add up the miles, it is nowhere near that many miles. Where do all these missing miles come from?

For example, with 11 weeks to go before race day: day 1 = 8 miles; d2 = 7 miles; d3 = off; d4 = equivalent of 3 miles; d5 = not even a mile (3/4 of a mile speed work); d6 = off; day 7 = off.

That comes out to not even 19 miles, 18.75 to be exact.
How fast and on what days and in what increments are we supposed to do the missing 27.25 miles?? There are already 2 long runs that week. That only leaves 2 other days. Surely we aren't supposed to run 27.25 miles in warm up and cool downs. What am I missing here?

Also, we are really supposed to only run 4 days that 1st week and never run more than 5 days per week? Understanding the schedule is 99% of the book's value and I don't understand it at all.

Update: Based on the sample they provide and rereading several times, it seems they didn't include a guideline for how far to run for the warm ups and cool downs but the one sample for lesser mileage has an example of over 2 mile warm up and 2 mile cool downs. Then they also do in fact have additional long runs that are called recovery days. These recovery days are not accounted for or noted in the schedule. Flexibility in scheduling is great but not at the sake of clarity. Several full examples of the entire 11 week schedule would have been tremendously helpful, or at least mention example days for recovery in the schedule.

Flexibility / Stretching
Speaking of flexibility, stretching is discussed only in passing with a few sentences here and there and less than a page total. There are no specific stretches mentioned and only one illustration mentioned at all. If you don't stretch regularly, you will not be able to train this 3 month schedule. You will need to seek additional sources for the best runner's stretches if you don't know them (youtube). They do suggest yoga, which I too find helpful. Perhaps that is outside the scope of the book since it is just recommended and not further discussed.

Strength Training
Not mentioned.

I wish this entire book focused only on 5k (create one for each distance) and went in much more detail with more examples of every single day and how many miles each day and when and how fast, etc.
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on October 11, 2014
This book has been my go to resource for technical, but not too technical, information about running for many years. Having run over 50 marathons (and ultras) I have purchased many copies as gifts for people seeking advice.
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on February 16, 2012
Pfitzinger spells out VO2 training, lactate threshold, and of course long runs and the reasons underlying each, and what occurs in the body for each type of training. Finally, a book that pieces it all together. I have read it once, and next will have a highlighter in hand. Highly recommend this.
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on August 23, 2010
I have been running for just over a year but have been running with others in my group that have been running for 20+ years.
This book gives great advice that goes along with the advice that my long time running friends have offered to me.
Highly recommend.
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on December 30, 2012
A serious book about serious running which should be in all runner's bookcase.
Some items are a bit dated, but still very usable.
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on December 26, 2008
If you are a true runner this is the book..!!!. It help you to improve your training and explains in detail what you can do to reach your goal.
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on March 30, 2009
Extraordinary book for the lovers of marathons, great tools for desing your own training schedules.
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