With this years plan of running a full marathon I have started doing something I have never done with my running before. I have turned to books as a way to help me train. I have been told by others before that a full marathon is just as much mental as it is physical. [Really any run you consider major is mentally daunting regardless of the distance]. So to help offset any mental roadblocks I may face, I have ordered a few marathon training books.
The first book I have completed is “You Can Go The Distance” by Bruce Van Horn. You can find it here.
Overall I enjoyed the book. It wasn’t long, about 150 pages and physically a smaller book than your traditional paperback. The writing style I took from it was like that of one long blog broken up into many chapters. Bruce even writes in the beginning about how his facebook, twitter and blog followers were the inspiration behind writing it. How they read his work and suggest he write a book. And the book reads as such. Each chapter is a story of how his personal experiences lead him to how he thinks someone should train for a marathon. I am not sure of Bruce’s education background when it comes to running but he does reference coaching cross country. So overall Bruce comes from a point of view that can be trusted. His goal for his marathon was 3 hours and 30 minutes. For me, with a goal of 5 hours, I was happy to read about his personal experiences because he knows what he is talking about.
In the book Bruce takes you from setting the goal, to making a plan, walking through that plan, to ultimately the day of the race as well as post race recovery. He even provides an 18 week training plan in his book that you can use for your marathon.
As a part of his training plan he discusses how you can incorporate Yasso 800’s. This was good for me to read because I have always heard about them but never truly understood what they were. Bruce was able to break them down and how they can have a major impact on your running. Along with this he also discusses the McMilan Running Calculator. Now this is something I have never heard of, so I was happy to add another tool to my running belt.
Another area I enjoyed in this book is where he describes a detailed plan for experienced runners who want to get faster. He brings up multiple training methods on how to shave down running times. While I am focused on just completing my first marathon, this is a good book for me to go back and re-read for those times I want to increase my speed.
Bruce fully admits that he is not an expert in certain areas, not that his words should be taken lightly. Once again, he is an experienced marathon runner as well as a cross country coach. Ultimately Bruce does know what he is talking about. However there are times where he will introduce a subject matter expert into the book to discuss topics that he is not as educated on. In one chapter he talks with a local shoe store owner to discuss the importance of shoes on your running. In another chapter he allows a Certified Holistic Nutritionist to write the whole chapter about how your food intake impacts your running. This chapter was very educational because I learned a lot of things about the amount of food you need based on your body weight.
Overall I think this is a great book to help with your marathon training. It is good for beginners as well as experienced runners looking to get a bit faster. It is also a book that you can re-read at multiple stages of your running career to continue to develop yourself. The book is an easy enough read that really there is no reason not to pick it up.