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Marathoning Book Review - If You Want To Do More Than Finishing a
There is a
world of difference between running
is not about
"just" finishing a marathon. Even though that is a major
accomplishment. It is about running your best marathon yet.
This marathon running book is the perfect
book for you if you are aiming for your best marathon.
I would argue that this book is a great read for any runner
because it covers many sound basic running training principles.
When comparing this book with another great marathon running book, 100
Day Marathon Plan, we see a few differences:
100 Day Marathon Plan takes a more modern approach
Advanced Marathoning is about advanced
marathoning. 100 Day Marathon Plan is more inclusive offering plans for
slower runners as well.
Advanced Marathoning is more mileage-focused. 100
Day Marathon Plan uses a lot more speedwork (this is the more modern
I think both books are great and useful in their own way. It
is good to see both perspectives and pick up elements and insights from
So, why is Advanced
Marathoning an excellent
book about racing marathons?
In short :
Written by marathon experts Pfitzinger
Covers all aspects of marathoning
Good running programs
Real world perspectives
The book contains eleven chapters, with chapters eight to eleven being
predominantly running programs.
Chapter 1 to 3 - The Basics
The first chapter explains the concept
of "advanced marathoning" and describes what the rest of the book is
The second chapter is a great chapter
about marathon running training. It tells you what
you need in a marathon, which of your body systems are addressed and
how that translates into your required training regime.
Very useful are parts titled "When are long runs too long"
and "Increasing mileage while minimizing the risks of
breakdown" as well as a chart with sample long run
Also the concept of periodization is clearly
explained as well as how it applies to marathon training. Basically,
periodization is cutting your training into blocks, each block being a
number of weeks in length, in which you train certain body systems.
Nutrition and hydration are the subjects
of chapter three of Advanced Marathoning.
Pfitzinger and Douglas explain what the critical factors are in a
marathoner's diet and what the intake should be of proteins, carbs,
iron and fluids. During training as well as on race day.
What I especially like about this chapter, in fact about the whole
book, is the realism.
A good example is a part about alcohol and caffeine. Idealists would
say "Thou shalt not drink alcohol and caffeine" and
leave it like that.
Pfitzinger and Douglas don't do that. They take their time to address
the issue. And they recognise that the majority of runners do have a
daily coffee and an occassional glass of wine, beer or spirits. And
they use that to give some recommendations on what to do around race
Chapter 4 to 6 - About Training
The fourth chapter deals with balancing
training and recovery.
Issues discussed are :
Hard and easy days
Again the realism and completeness do it for me with items like "When
to do back-to-back hard days" and "Recovery
considerations in the real world".
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Chapter five of Advanced Marathoning
covers cross-training and which types of
cross-training are beneficial to you.
Chapter six is about tracking
As a runner it is good to think about the
Pfitzinger and Douglas ask you to state your marathon
career goal, goal for your upcoming marathon and about your short term
These goals need to correspond with each other.
If you do not put the required training in this
week, then you will jeopardize the goal for your next marathon and,
further down the line, your marathon career goal.
Their message is, set your goals and track your progress. Know why you
do what you do. Marathon training is hard work and requires sacrifices.
In order for you to not lose your motivation and direction, focus on
your short term goals.
Chapter 7 - Race Day Strategy
The seventh chapter covers race
This is oh, so important. Have your plan ready for race day.
Know how you'll prepare yourself, know your goal time and pace yourself
Going out too fast is the number one mistake for too many marathoners.
Every minute too fast in the first miles will cost you at least five
minutes at the end.
Pfitzinger and Douglas also tell you what to do when you go out too
fast or too slow. The main message of this chapter is that you have to
be in total control of your plan and be fully aware of what you are
When you get to those final six miles your pacing, eating and drinking
during the first twenty miles will determine what you look like,
how painful the end will be and whether you'll make it to your marathon
chapter a lot of attention. Think about it when you are training
Marathon training is taxing. Do not make an improperly carried out race
the cause of regret and waste of many training hours !
Chapter 8 to 11 - Marathon Running Programs
Chapters eight, nine and ten cover a
good range of marathon running programs. Depending
on what you are after, you can go for a 12-, 18- or 24-week
running program for upto 55 miles per week, upto 70 miles per
week and more than 70 miles per week. So plenty to choose
from and certainly something in there for you.
The last chapter covers the area of multiple
marathoning. Not really the great ending I want from a book I
otherwise fully endorse. I have always written off the idea of multiple
marathoning as plain lunacy.
It speaks for Pfitzinger and Douglas that they want to be complete and
realistic. They know there are people out there who need to, or who
want to do more than one marathon within a certain time frame.
So the final chapter of Advanced Marathoning has five transition
programs in this book depending on the times between marathons (12, 10,
8, 6 or 4 weeks).
This book is required
reading for you if you are serious about the marathon. It offers
helpful advice on all aspects of marathoning.
here for more information about Advanced
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