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Advanced Marathoning, by Pete Pfitzinger & Scott Douglas

Pete Pfitzinger, a top marathon runner in the 80s, has taken the art of marathoning to a new level. With a master's degree in exercise science, he specializes in endurance athletes. Advanced Marathoning takes the casual marathoner to a new level, using the technology of science of physiology and psychology. A good part of the book is general review, with a few interesting things thrown in (did you know that your red blood cells can break down during the foot strike?). His description of lactate threshold is easy to understand, and he makes some good points on why you shouldn't run intervals too fast or frequently.And it isn't just because Coach says not to. I got a little confused with macrocycle, mesocycle and microcycle, but the outcome is a periodization plan for racing.He includes information on recovery, which is more important to the advanced marathoner than to the sometime racer. He also discusses overtraining and how to break out of it. Citing research by Carl Foster, he outlines a technizue to detect and avoid overtraining., which is related to the difficulty of training and the "monotony" of training. In the chapter on tracking your progress, he gives us several options for checking how well we are doing. There is excellent information on running form. I would like to see more good form pictures, though. All of the pictures in this section depict something someone is doing wrong. Thank goodness for the little biographies scattered throughout the book. These generally display good form, so at least we have something for comparison.The second half of the book is devoted to training plans, based on your mileage per week. The workouts are all based on the science he has used in the first half, and are very complete. It even gives you various deadlines for the race, ranging from 24 weeks to race to 12 weeks before marathon. Lastly, he does cover multiple marathons, which was brave. Bottom line: This is an excellent book for anyone who loves the marathon and wants to improve their times.

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