Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Complete Running & Marathon Book by DK Publishing

The Complete Running & Marathon Book goes through the biomechanics of running, a variety of training plans, as well as programs to build strength and speed. It also covers typical injuries, ways to prevent them, what to wear, nutrition, hydration, training, what to do before and after race day as well as the day itself, as well as lots more. Basically, it offers advice on all things to do with the sport. It's geared towards all levels; those just starting to run and those wanting to take it further.

Overall, I liked reading this book. I'm not a runner nor do I expect to be. I wanted to read this book because I've been using my treadmill a lot more for walking and I wanted to get more out of it. I was hoping that some of the advice would be transferrable to my situation. It was pretty much what I expected and I wasn't disappointed.

The first part of the book deals with the body and how it works, concentrating on the lower body. It also covers running styles and ways to assess your running fitness. I didn't find the last bit all that helpful as I found them too hard for a "walker" like me.

The "Get Ready to Run" section covers: goal setting, shoes, clothing, nutrition in general and in regards to training, and hydration. It also features sample programs with descriptions and large photos for the exercises and stretches for proper a warm-up and cool down. My favourite part of working out is the stretching so I loved this part of the book.

The "Plan Your Training" section starts with the good training principles, which includes advice on a variety of runs, crossing training, and overtraining, before launching into the actual planning and log keeping. It then goes into the different training programs: foundation, 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. It also has additional programs to help with strength and endurance, increasing speed, and post-race recovery. While the programs are nicely laid out and should be fairly easy to follow, I found the suggested speeds much too fast for me. Therefore, they aren't going to be as helpful as I would have liked. They do give me some ideas, though, on how I should be training.

The "Build Your Strength" section focuses on a selection of strength and resistance training exercises tailored for runners. It starts with core training then moves onto resistance training. Both of these parts features programs for beginners as well as more advanced athletes. The photographs of the exercises are large, labelled, and well explained. There are also side bars that have a list of the targeted muscles as well as an illustration that pin points the muscles that are being worked. I didn't realize that runners have to do so much strength training so I appreciated all of this information. What I didn't like was that some of the exercises used machines and/or equipment that might not be accessible or readily available in a home gym. Not everyone has a desire to join a gym.

Now that the athlete has trained and exercised, the book moves onto a section for race day. This part has advice on tapering your training, mental preparedness, eating and drinking, strategies, and recovery. I loved the advice in this section and found most of it accessible and relevant.

Finally, the book has tons of advice on maintenance. Topics include: avoiding injury, caring for your feet, self-massage with foam rollers, common complaints (with prevention and first aid), and injuries with descriptions, symptoms, treatment and training advice. Since I've experienced a number of sports-related injuries, this is the first section I turned to. The advice is invaluable.

Overall, I got a lot out of this book. I may not use all of the advice, but there was enough in it for me as a walker to recommended it to others.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank Chris at DK Canada for this review copy.

The Complete Running & Marathon Book by DK Publishing, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2014. ISBN 9781465415769(Soft cover), 192p.

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