The Runner's Handbook

10 weeks after starting review

I’m usually skeptical about workout/diet/exercise/etc. books because usually it’s someone touting their new “fad” programs that stick around in the news for a couple of weeks and fade away like yesterdays business, or perhaps a book geared towards those who are in shape already and want something to maintain that fitness, therefore being far too difficult for beginners. Well, there’s a reason that this book gets 5 stars by nearly everyone here, and I have personally experienced the benefits from the programs listed inside.

A little background before I got this; I was a 21 year old recent college grad; I used to run sprints in track at my 1A high school…not state qualifying fast, but I could run a 400 meter dash in 53 seconds, a 200 in 24, and a 100 in 11; I weighed 170 pounds at 5’10” but was extremely fit due to lots of sprinting and weightlifting, but I could barely run long distances. Then when I started college I majored in computers and have pretty much been sedentary since. I went from a muscular 170 pounds to a fat 200. I could sprint 200 meters with ease in High School, but afterwards I could hardly walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for air. I tried several times at my own running programs by trying to immediately run a mile each day and progress from there…all I got was insane shin splints and gave up. I figured I was doing something wrong and thus looked up on Amazon for good running books, and I stumbled on this gem. On the 4th of July, I started the program in this book. I only took a one week hiatus and returned from where I left off (no setback) and now I’ve reached week ten, and I am running 3 miles better than I could in high school (I think at a 7 minute/mile pace!). Now, four months removed from four years of college, I’m back in my high school running form, I weigh 185 (without giving up “unhealthy” food, but instead following the advice in the book) and that is only from the Beginner program…I can’t wait until I get through the Advanced Beginner workout (30 minute nonstop runs).

The program in this book really works, but I think I’m fortunate to be younger than runners in the age group I think this book is for and I think I had a relatively easy time with the program because of it. I gather that this book is written more for people in their late twenties and higher, since Bob likes to discuss workouts around 9 to 5 schedules. I wish there was a chapter dedicated to runners in different professions, like those in retail who may already be exhausted from being on my feet for 8+ hours and dealing with fluctuating schedules, making it really hard to set up a running schedule; perhaps an added chapter that would cover people in different professions such as retail, 9-5, and even for college students who aren’t out for sports would have been handy. That was my biggest problem in school was finding time to work out…perhaps an alternate running program to compensate for these issues would have been nice.

Oh well, that’s a tiny nitpick at best that shouldn’t shroud a book that not only covers some excellent running programs, but almost everything else related to it, such as gear, nutrition (TONS of info here, and some surprising info for you anti-carb people), running in poor weather conditions, etc. This book is written very well, instead of other books which read like stereo instructions. I thought it would be a dread to try to read all of the info inside (I can barely read comics folks, I just look at the pics), but this book seriously gets you motivated to work out (no exageration, this book pumped me up), and I give this book five stars for that alone. Glover has truly debunked the theory of “no pain, no gain” and that I believe is why people fail when trying to work out on their own. For me this program is like a locomotive; when I started it WAS hard, though not impossible, but I’m now running 3 miles/20 minutes with ease!

Update: It’s been a while, and I figured I’d come back to this and post a quick edit. I have no regrets about getting this book, still a definite life changer, but I’ve since broken off onto a more rigorous training program involving strength training and sprints. This book will help you get lean and drop unnecessary baggage, for sure, but if you’re looking to build muscle mass, this may not be the route to stick with. I still think it is an excellent resource if you need a jump start before you get to an intense program like I’m on now, and even then it might be a book you want to stick with. I did run my first 10k several months ago in 90 degree in very humid conditions, and I made it in the top 30% out of 20,000 runners (and didn’t pass out from heat exhaustion).

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