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on June 16, 2016
The best thing about this book is how it outlines how to decrease days spent running while training.
The layout of the book is hard to follow not very well organized. The concept is great, however I would recommend researching running plans online instead of spending money on this book. It is not one that I will keep in my library.
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on September 26, 2008
I've always had the theory that if everyone who trained for a sport would cut their training time in half, their performance would improve. While this book doesn't advocate that exactly, it proves the idea that training a lot less does improve performance. The method is called the FIRST program, which stands for Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training.

The book is for anyone who wants to improve their running performance and is divided into 4 sections. The first section explains the FIRST approach, where a "3 plus 2" format is the foundation. This means you have 3 quality runs each week and 2 cross training workouts.

The second section is how to follow the program. Briefly, one day is a cross training day, then a "track repeats" day, then a cross training day, then a "tempo run" day, a day of rest, a "long run" day, and then either another rest day/or optional cross training day. Cross training days include activities such as cycling or swimming.

The 3rd section covers performance factors which include such things as running in hot and cold climates, nutrition, and injuries (readers who have plantar fasciitis that interferes with their running might also be interested in The 5-Minute Plantar Fasciitis Solution).

Lastly, Section 4 covers supplemental training, which I feel is an often overlooked/skipped part of running training. Here you get info such as instructions and pics on how to strength train and stretch for running (important!!).

The book ends with a bonus section on how to qualify/train for the Boston Marathon. Additionally, you get an Appendix A (pacing table) and an Appendix B (how to calculate pacing).

Backed by studies conducted by the authors, this is a great resource for anyone who wants to get better results with less training.
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on October 14, 2013
I have run a marathon and a half marathon using this books training plan. The name gets it right because you only have to run three days a week and, for me, I went from doing a 1:09 10 k to a 53min 10k as I trained for a half marathon. The half marathon was the best race I have ever run. I kept going faster and faster as I ran until I came in almost 5 minutes faster than my goal time of 2 hrs. The marathon was my reason for giving this book 4 stars. It only trains you out 20 miles. In the marathon, it's the last 6 miles that are the killer. I trained for a 3:44 marathon. Everything was on track until those last 6 miles that I had never trained through. Then, eventually, every step became torture and I finished in just under 4 hours.
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on August 11, 2010
I ran my first marathon a month ago and I wanted to keep running but I couldn't find the time. I also wanted to do more than run. This book has been fantastic so far. I'm 3 weeks into the half marathon training plan and I'm really enjoying the variety. There's lots of cross training options outlined in the book. The runs themselves are challenging! I was a slow and steady runner before. I could run forever at my comfortable pace and often I felt like I wasn't getting a workout unless it took almost half the day. This book has me speeding up on my runs and it feels good to push myself. Excellent book, well written, very clear, lots of practical advice.
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on February 25, 2008
I am currently using (and enjoying) the FIRST program outlined in the book. I find it attractive because, being a self-coached runner, it is highly prescriptive and based on current ability levels rather than pie-in-the-sky race goals. Each workout is highly challenging but ultimately achievable and focused on the goal of making you faster. The major quibble with the book is that it is very poorly laid out and requires a lot of flipping back and forth throughout the book. Read with a highlighter and post-it notes.
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on October 21, 2010
The book has a section "for beginners" and, before purchasing it, I was led to believe that it was adaptable/suitable for runners of all skill levels. It is not.

There is a couch-to-5K plan in it (which I suppose is how they justify it being for beginners) and, I suppose, this 5K plan is reasonable for a brand-new runner - i.e. it starts with instructions to run one minute, walk 2 minutes "at a comfortable pace"

The trouble is that once you've done this beginning plan, you are running 30 minutes "at a comfortable pace". The next "level" of the training schedule STARTS assuming your absolute slowest pace is a 10 minute mile (6mph). Week one requires that you do 400 meters (quarter mile) at a pace of 2.15 (6.6 on the Treadmill). So you go from running 30 minutes at a comfortable pace to being able to run at 6.6? The first "long run" of the first training plan is only 3 miles (good thing) but it's at a pace of ~10 minute miles (5.8 on the treadmill)!!!

There needs to be an intermediate "phase" that moves a new runner from 30 comfortable minutes of running, to the speed demons the author thinks we all are, that, or don't sell this book as if a beginner (or a slower runner who has lots of running experience but is not fast) could use it.

If you can run fast enough to use the charts he provides, then I guess it's a great plan. Trouble is that it's useless for me as a slower runner.
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on May 3, 2014
Good book and easy to read. The authors go direct to the point. Several questions and ansewrs are provided in the book.
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on November 30, 2011
Great book...very usful and inspiring in all your training needs. I Am very happy I purchased this book and look forward to the out come with this new way of training!
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on April 11, 2015
Great thank you
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on December 10, 2015
Good book
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