If you have a top notch personal coach who tends all your needs, you don't need any book to improve your running. If you are like me who have the passion for serious running, enjoy reading and analytical thinking while having a full-time job + other professional activities, this book is a must-have. I got one for me and two as presents to my friends. Using this book as the major reference to coach and heal myself, I qualified for the Boston Marathon at my marathon debut after about one year's training, took 10 minutes off in another year and I am on my way to beat NYC marathon qualification time for guaranteed number. Running programs are everywhere. "Individualizing" has become a cliché. Understanding the fundamental mechanisms and principles behind body and training is essential to derive a healthy and effective training program that adapts to the body's response. Lore of Running distinguishes itself from other running books by offering a large volume of solid evidence to support the principles concluded by the author. The readers have the freedom of utilizing these materials, often presented in interesting ways such as stories about famous runners, to make their own conclusions. I feel like having a very pleasant academic discussion with the author who is convincing, but not dictating while reading the book. The background of the author - ultra-marathon athlete, researcher and practicing sports MD is perfect for writing such comprehensive running book.
This book is certainly not a quick recipe. It takes time to digest the material. If you enjoy reading, it is a plus. I have read some section multiple times. Another very good running book that takes much less time to read is Daniels' Running Formula by Jack Daniels that is geared more toward elite runners, but still very helpful for midpack runners like me.