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The Runner's Handbook : The Bestselling Classic Fitness Guide for Beginning and Intermediate Runners (2nd rev Edition) Paperback – June 1, 1996
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About the Author
Bob Glover is founder and president of Robert H. Glover and Associates, Inc., a sports and fitness consulting firm. Since he founded the program in 1978, Glover has directed the running classes for the New York Road Runners.
Shelly Glover is a certified exercise physiologist with a master’s degree from Columbia University; she coaches all levels of runners and is a frequent competitor.
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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.