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Triathlon Training in Four Hours a Week: From Beginner to Finish Line in Just Six Weeks Paperback – 26 Mar 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Press (26 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579547486
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579547486
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 215,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Eric Harr has an astounding ability to motivate practically anyone and crafts a compelling case for the fact that fitness challenges are not just feasible but fun. Eric makes the daunting feat of training for a physically demanding event completely doable because he is there every step of the way--cheering you on, spurring you to greater heights, "making you want to do this." His book is a brilliant tool that should truly inspire members of our sedentary society to put themselves, and their health, first."--Alexa Joy Sherman, senior editor for "Shape" magazine "Eric Harr's book will be of great value to the newbie triathlete. He will help you from your first step to when you cross the finish line."--Jim Taylor, Ph.D., sports psychologist and ironman triathlete "Everyone dreams of being an athlete, but most of us don't think that we have either the time or the ability to do it. In "Triathlon Training in Four Hours a Week," Eric Harr will give you the inspiration and the right information to accomplish that dream. It will fit into your life, you'll never feel better, and you'll never look back."--Susan M. Kleiner, R.D., Ph.D., author of "Power Eating"

About the Author

Author and professional triathlete Eric Harr began his career as an out-of-shape legal clerk living in the U.S. Virgin Islands. After training by commuting on his mountain bike, he competed in his first athletic event, the St. Croix Triathlon. He waddled across the finish, ahead of a few noted professionals. Almost one year after that event, Eric was ranked sixth in the world and was named Rookie of the Year. Since then, he has won 30 amateur and pro events in 23 countries and has represented the United States in two World Championship events. He is about to undertake the Hawaii Ironman as the culmination of The Ultimate Challenge, in which he's competed in 10 of the world's most strenuous and celebrated athletic events to raise money for international charities including Special Olympics. Eric is also a TV and radio show host, a columnist for "Shape" magazine, a nationally syndicated columnist for the "Los Angeles Times" and the author of "The Portable Personal Trainer." He lives in Marin County, California, with his wife, Alexandra Stretton, and their dog Owen.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 26 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Triathlons can seem a bit daunting, but are obviously a great challenge to set for yourself. With the need to get fit I embarked upon the road to a Sprint Triathlon, and after researching a lot of material I came across this book. Brilliant. Everything I needed to know to get me started, without all the confusion of the magazines and books.

I am now at the end of my second season, and have thoroughly enjoyed myself over the last two years. A huge part of my happiness I put down to this book. It will continue to be a reference, even as I move onto other more detailed literature in the hope of improving my performances.

If anyone is looking for a new challenge or wants a good fitness target then by this book and be happy!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Jessica C. Hicks on 25 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this before I did my first Triathlon and it really became my bible. It has everything that you could need in it to feel prepared, from diet tips, to equipment, to training programmes and also how to cope on the day. It helped me to feel really prepared for every eventuality and it meant that not only did I get a great time, but I also loved the event, and as a result I am planning on doing 2 triathlons this season.

Equally, it doesn't then become useless once you've done a triathlon. The training programmes are varied, from the absolute beginner, to the semi-professional athlete and I am planning to follow the training programme again this year.

Highly recommended book - I looked at some other books as well, but this was by far the best. As long as you can deal with Eric's over-enthusiastic and slightly idealised way of writing (i.e. annoying!) then you'll love this book as much as I did.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By billysmart on 25 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
For a real beginner, it is a very good book. If like me, you have a background in fitness (army and my own running and swimming program) then you can literally skip many pages at a time.

There is a few chapters on positive mental attitude and the spiritual side of things which was a waste of time for me, I found it very American in places. In British speak, more show, less substance.

A lot of common sense stuff which is useful to know if you never competed before.

It was not a waste of time purchasing the book but there are not many pages dog eared for me to go back to for reference so I suspect it will be sold on or given away pretty quickly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 66 reviews
177 of 183 people found the following review helpful
An indespensible guide! 26 July 2004
By Kate - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up this book after reading Eric's articles in Shape magazine. I just finished my first triathlon, thanks to this book! I would have never crossed that finish line without it. I can't wait for my next race!

I wish I could give this book 5 stars, but it is just short of perfect. I'll highlight my problems with it, just to warn other potential readers. These are suggestions I would hope the author keep in mind if he chooses to write a new edition.

First, the basis of the training breaks you into 1 of 4 categories. This is great! This allows you to graduate into higher levels of training in the future. The problem is the way you are directed to your training level. There is a 10 question quiz that will identify your training level. With all due respect to Mr. Harr, he either needs to toss out this test, or he needs to work with a psychologist to tune it to something a little more meaningful. Despite his best effort, this test does nothing but measure your motivations. I came into this working out 6 days a week for the past 18 months. While I had never done a triathlon before, I considered myself to be in excellent shape. I took the test and scored a level I, which is what he refers to as a Slice above Couch Potato. Luckily, I looked at what was involved in the training plan and realized I am more closely in tune right in between a level II or level III. Even more dangerously, I gave this quiz to a friend of mine who was terribly out of shape. She scored a Level III. If she had attempted to work out at the intensity outlined for a Level III, it would have derailed her quickly. That's too much for someone who isn't in shape! If you are racing in a triathlon for enjoyment rather than competition, this by no means makes you out of shape. As far as Eric and the quiz are concerned, however, it does. I'd strongly recommend anyone reading this to consider this for themselves. Basically, you should know what level of shape you are in. If you don't, read the descriptions of a level and the exercise routine. Last thing you want to do is put yourself in a situation where you commit 2 months to training for the triathlon and end up under or over training because of a score on a flawed quiz.

The second thing that got to me with this book was the product recommendations. It was great to see the whole chapter devoted to what I need and what to look for. But some of the "can't go wrong with Speedo" was frustrating. Rather than tell you what it is that he likes with certain items, he just directs you to a brand name with little to no explanation. In some cases, Eric really outlined why he was recommending the brand (Giant bicycles, for instance). It would be nice to see this outlined for all products on the list.

Sorry if this sounds nit picky, because this book is AWESOME! There are just a lot of things in the book that could mislead someone with limited knowledge. The book is so close to perfect - just be prepared to identify your own fitness level and ignore some of the blatant advertising, and you will be well on your way to being a triathlete!
64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Great place to start your triathlon training 30 May 2005
By Anthony - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is perfect if you are interested in training for a triathlon, but are just not sure how to do it.

I run and bike, but have never done a triathlon before. I just did not have any clue how to design a program that would allow me to incorporate running, swimming, and cycling in such a way that I would be able to finish a sprint distance triathlon.

Using the program in this book I was able to train for and easily complete my first sprint triathlon.

If you have any interest in training for a triathlon and do not know how, I would HIGHLY recommend this book. It is not technical. It makes you believe you can do it, and it provides a program framework that works.

The program(s) in this book cover fitness levels from bare beginners all the way to single sport Gods (runners, cyclists, etc.) They are geared towards a sprint distance, but adaptable up to 1/2 ironman distance.

Each program is doable (time wise). You do not need to quit your job and divorce your wife.

Overall, fantastic. If you want to train but do not know where to start, this is where to start.
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
The starting line for triathlon training 5 Oct. 2006
By David McCune - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are bigger triathlon books, and there are books with more detailed training schedules. There are books to hone your swimming, and books to make you run faster, but there is probably no better book for starting the sport of triathlon than Eric Harr's

For starters, Harr does a decent job as a motivational writer. This is no small feat for an accomplished athlete writing to novices. Harr manages to inspire without condescending. He gets you excited about the sport.

Next, he sets the stage. He goes into the basic equipment required to train for and complete the race. He gives estimates regarding costs and recommendations as to specific brands he has used (this was probably the only part of the book that felt dated, given the 2003 publication). He also asks you to give realistic assessments of your fitness and your race goals. These include simply completing the race, trying to complete a longer distance than previously, or even competing to win (more about that later). He helps a reader plan a training schedule that matches their fitness level with their goal while allowing time to have a life outside of the sport.

This is followed by more detailed discussion of the various stages, with chapters on swimming technique and drills, biking (conditioning, equipment, and safety) and of course running. He discusses the importance of heart rate monitors and interval training, and he covers when to push your training, when to back. He doesn't particularly go into the science behind the training, but his recommendations are similar to other writers in the field. Above all, he strives to keep the training schedule compatible with achieving athletic success within the time constraints of the modern recreational athlete.

He puts it all together in sections that describe workout plans. These are tailored to fitness level and personal goal. They include recommendations as to sport, duration, and intensity (divided into zones I to III in increasing order of difficulty). These plans are outlines, leaving some details to the athlete.

This is the recommendation for the 3rd week of a 6-week plan for a "Fitness Enthusiast", the 3rd highest in his 4-level hierarchy of fitness:

Week 3: Moderate Intensity
Monday: rest
Tuesday: swim for 30 minutes in zone II
Wednesday: run for 30 minutes in zone III; strength train for 40 minutes
Thursday: swim for 30 minutes in zone I; bike for 60 minutes in zone III
Friday: rest
Saturday: Brick workout - bike for 50 minutes in zone I, then run for 20 minutes in zone II
Sunday: strength train for 20 minutes

Other miscellaneous chapters include discussions of injury prevention and treatment, nutrition, and motivation. An often overlooked aspect of endurance training is strength training, but I found that chapter to be very up to date. The exercises incorporate aspects of modern strength training, such as core training, and he discusses home as well as gym workouts.

Now, is this the only book a triathlete would ever need? That depends. If your goal is to run the occasional race, even to improve on a previous time, then this will probably be enough. Experienced triathletes will probably find it aimed too far below them. The Triathlete's Training Bible by Joe Friel would probably be a better bet for an athlete trying to move from the middle of the pack to the awards table. That's not a knock on this book; it's just pitched at a different audience.

In summary, anyone interested in taking up the sport of triathlon would have a hard time doing better. Start here, end at the finish line.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
It worked!!! 6 Oct. 2004
By Jacquelyn Wheeler - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I trained for my first triathlon completely out of this book. Before I started, I was in so-so shape but didn't know how to do the crawl and could not swim a single lap without stopping. I memorized the breakdown of the swim stroke in the book, practiced for a couple of months, and then six weeks before my race (sprint at Pacific Grove 2004), I started his training plan and followed it to the letter. I lost weight, got in great condition, and ended up finishing 13th in my division! I had a fantastic race, smiling most of the way, and crossed the finish line feeling like a rock star.

Just a few months ago I never thought I would ever do something like this, and now I've joined a triathlon training team and am preparing for my second race in November. I'm in the best shape of my adult life, I love cross-training, and I am very, very grateful for this book. Believe me, if I can do it, *anyone* can. Get this book, finish a triathlon, and amaze yourself at what you can accomplish!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Much More Than Meets the Eye 5 Jun. 2003
By "newbietriguy231" - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book should be titled "Training to Live a Better Life (by Doing a Triathlon)" The author talks about excuses we all give about fitness -- and how to overcome them. He explains how to use exercise to live a better life, rather than simply burn calories. He advises you to view workouts as a golden opportunity to "bond" with those you love every week. He explains how, when you finish your triathlon, mentoring others can be rewarding for you...and for them. He provides inspirational stories about people who did this and how it transformed "much more than their waistline." There is also tons of nuts-and-bolts information in this book, too: how to choose the right running shoe, how to avoid injuries, how to get properly fit on your bike, how to execute the proper swim stroke, how to choose gear without over-spending, how to eat, how to lose fat, etc, etc, etc.
I believe triathlon is going to be taken up by hundreds of thousands of Americans because of this book. And we need that right now. Nice work, Mr. Eric Harr. And thank you.
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