Top critical review
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Principles based on anecdotal evidence
on January 2, 2004
This book has 221 pages. I think the useful information could be condensed down to 20 pages or so. This book makes heavy use of the anecdote pattern. Chapters begin with little stories about elite athletes and experienced runners from which general principles of running are drawn. The problem is that the stories are incomplete and entirely anecdotal. Elite athletes and experienced runners don't need this book and the principles that apply to them don't apply to middle-aged people who truly are beginners. The book doesn't address the subjects of weight and size (very important in long distance running), and it only addresses age at a very superficial level. The good things in this book are: the focus on staying injury free; the incorporation of easy running and rest days into your training schedule; some sample training schedules; some diet advice; and some seemingly useful information about race logistics toward the end. On the negative side, a lot of space is devoted to fluffy stories; evidence to support advice is almost entirely anecdotal; there is practically no advice on runner injuries and how that affects your schedule; and no talk about weight/age; Put simply, this book contains a lot of anecdotal, unscientific, irrelevant, happy, feel-good fluff. The training schedules may work for you, but if they don't you will not have gained enough knowledge from this book to understand how to adapt them to fit your needs.