Like other resource books for runners – such as “Runners World Complete Book of Running,” and “Marathon:The Ultimate Training Guide” – this is a book that aims to provide new runners with everything they need to know about taking safe and progressive steps towards their running goals.
With a focus on improved running performance and injury-prevention, Fitzgerald attempts to identify common mistakes that runners make as they try to get stronger and faster. He claims for example, that the reason so many runners get hurt is that they fail to recognize that metabolic changes take place faster than structural changes. Hence a runner’s improved level of fitness may be stunted by a weaker structural system. Fitzgerald explains how such imbalances can be corrected by incorporating short dynamic warm-up and cool-down routines, as well as specific injury-prevention exercises, all of which can be found either in his book or on his website.
Another point heavily emphasized in this book, is the idea that the “10% increase” rule is too limiting for most runners. Fitzgerald believes that a far more effective approach to improving both endurance and speed is to focus instead on consistently running the same mileage over a period of time, and then adding, for example, an additional day of running – even if that means more than a 10% increase in overall mileage.
Other viewpoints expressed in this book are well justified and explained, and backed up by testimonials of runners who have experienced pain-free and faster running as a result of following Fitzgerald’s advice. Fitzgerald himself, suffered a serious ITB injury in 2008, after finishing the New York marathon in 2:44. A subsequent six month absence from the running world forced him to question his views on previous training methods, and thus his current training philosophy was birthed from that period of reflection. Since developing the Strength Running program in 2010 and applying it to his own training routine, Fitzgerald has only had one injury, and he also ran a 5+minute PR of 2:39:32 at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2011.
In reading the promotional excerpts about this book, one gets the sense that readers will be able to acquire the kind of information that cuts to the chase of what beginner runners really want to know about faster and pain-free running. For new runners, I would certainly recommend this book; it will take away a lot of the guesswork for you in terms of how to set safe and realistic goals. For more experienced runners, I’d suggest that you give this book a try; I have a feeling you’ll be as surprised as I was and you may even find yourself pulling out pen and paper to scribble down a note or two.
[Fitzgerald is also a USA Track and Field certified coach, co-founder of Run Your BQ, and contributor to various publications such as Active, Competitor Magazine, and Daily Burn]