The Science of Running: How to find your limit and train to maximize your performance Paperback – February 17, 2014
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Frequently bought together
-Alan Webb American Record Holder-Mile 3:46.91
"For anyone serious about running, The Science of Running offers the latest information and research for optimizing not only your understanding of training but also your performance. If you want to delve deeper into the world of running and training, this book is for you. You will never look at running the same."
-Jackie Areson, 15th at the 2013 World Championships. 15:12 5k
"This is a training book that will be a constant reference for me even though I am no longer coaching endurance athlete's day to day, it will be there because the ideas on training are so sensible and applicable across all the whole spectrum of physical performance. This is the best book on coaching running I have seen in quite sometime."
-Vern Gambetta, Author of "Athletic Development", former director of conditioning for the Chicago White Sox
About the Author
Additionally, he maintains the popular running website ScienceofRunning.com
- Publisher : Origin Press; 1st edition (February 17, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 344 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0615942946
- ISBN-13 : 978-0615942940
- Item Weight : 1.8 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.5 x 0.78 x 11 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It is intended for elite runners and their coaches, but this book can still be useful for individuals with a background in science and/or training theories based on physiological data (heart rate training, vO2max, etc.) who can glean the principles Mr. Magness is getting at. For me, the author's holistic perspective on running is really useful to help take a step back and gain more awareness that I might be giving more attention to fancy gizmos, or supposed markers of fitness, than what my body is saying.
I hadn't seen his breakdown of athletes by muscle fiber type before and this section is very interesting because it explains how to adapt training plans and workouts based on whether a runner has predominately fast twitch or slow twitch muscle fiber for their event. This would help explain why, besides other genetic variations, different athletes respond to the same workouts differently. He definitely is not a fan of cooking cutter training plans and really gets into adapting training for the individual athlete.
He's also doesn't seem to be a fan of zone training and advises to through it out of the window. His classification of workout paces makes a lot of sense and has been proven effective by coaches such as Renato Canova. Also his explanation of funnel training was new to me and varies quite a bit compared to Lydiard type training.
So the fly in the ointment is the plethora of misspellings and grammatical errors and is the reason for not giving it 5 stars. They book just needs a good editor to go through it and help fix those basic errors and perhaps to refine the organization of the content and make it read better. The book is still quite readable, but it's been a long, long time since I've seen these kind of problems in the age of word processors.
What the audiobook was able to hide was one of my biggest pet peeves: terrible grammar and punctuation. With a little editing, this book could have been interesting, without it, the many errors are a huge distraction to anyone who cares about the English language. And I'm just getting started.
I am a huge fan of one star reviews. I'm still not sure why, as is true on Goodreads, Amazon doesn't show the average rating that amateur reviewers give the items they review, but I think that reading them is useful, even if I love a book or item that others hate. It was a one star review that led me to track down another, much better book about the science of running: Running Lore by Timothy Noakes, MD, which I am reading now. But back to this book.
Author Steve Magness lets readers know at the start that there are tons of books out there for recreational runners (like me) and not many for elite and professional athletes. It's true. I have never run a 5 minute mile. I don't want to be mean, but I have also never written a 300 page book and decided not to, at a minimum, run it through some sort of grammar checking program. But that's just me. Even though the book is not for me (and, in fact, it doesn't appear to be geared towards female runners, elite or otherwise), I found some of it interesting. Ahem...then I found the same stuff even more interesting in Lore of Running, except with the addition of excellent writing by Dr. Noakes. The parts that I actually enjoyed were random research-related things like the fact that you can change the types of muscle fibers from one type to another, the discussions about lactate and VO2max, the bit about being able to keep your core body temperature down by drinking cold liquids and the idea of challenging homeostasis. Did I mention, all this can also be found in Lore of Running? Having read and definitely benefitted from Run Less Run Faster, I felt like (as...ahem...a lowly recreational runner) in spite of Magness making the point that the prescriptive one size fits all approach (like the RLRF's tempo run, long run, interval training plan), his summary of what a runner can do to improve sounds really similar. Of course, lowly me agrees that with elite athletes, it makes no sense to pick a plan and force your trainees to follow that rather than use feedback gained from their training in order to see what works best for them and modify subsequent training based on that, but I didn't learn anything that was completely jaw dropping from his book, which I read from cover to cover. Also, I found the fact that after saying that one size fits all doesn't work, he provides a section at the end with example workouts. And not a word about heart rate training. What's that about?
In summary, although there are a few pearls of wisdom in this book about training for elite and professional runners that even recreational runners and "joggers" can use, the number of errors in grammar and punctuation (in my estimate, about a hundred if you include the capitalization of common nouns) and the repetition of information in multiple sections (which, when removed, could have easily shrunk the book down by about a third) is too much trouble. If you are determined to experience this book, I recommend listening to the audio. Better yet, read Running Lore instead.
Top reviews from other countries
Steve Magness is a coach with noteworthy credentials and his book is split into two sections. The first is basically about the physiology of running [what VO2 max and lactate thresholds are and why they do/don't matter] whilst the second part is on the 'coaching' side of things. As such the book's two halves read somewhat differently. [but more than they ought to.]
The first half as many others have noted is full of typo's and to me reads like a poorly drafted Master's dissertation, which is possibly what it started life out as. It's also hard to read at times and suffers from far too few diagrams [which are always helpful] and too much jargon - which is fine for a science textbook but not for something which I assume is aimed at the interested reader.
But all is not lost! The second half has many redeeming features and I enjoyed reading each and every chapter and am happy to say that the material felt fresh and enthusiastically presented. It was even quite different to what I have read in many other books given its coaching slant [as opposed to scientific slant] and I think would made a fine purchase for a coach or an athlete in interested in tailoring his/her work-outs.
I think what makes this better than most is the way the author tries to steer away from the cookie-cutter approach to coaching and work-outs and move more towards tailoring work-outs based on an individuals physiology. He suggest how work-outs can be tweaked not only by changing speed, length, intensity, frequency but also by adding other more subtler tweaks several of which I have already incorporated into my own running.
So overall 'a game of two halves'. If ever updated, I think the first section needs to be pruned and redrafted considerably and then this book would have a considerable competitive edge over the competition.