Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
A marathoner's page turner
on 13 January 2013
This was such a well written, page turner of a book that it is an essential read for experienced and would be marathon runners alike. I have run 50 marathons and ultra marathons, home and abroad and the author captures the absolute essence of why we do it again and again. I have read as many running related books and this one is right up there for me. Phil brilliantly captures all the high's and low's, effortlessly weaving real life and all it's distraction's into the training and the race's.
Running a marathon is the end product of months of training, which often impacts negatively on family life and which takes a great deal of commitment. One of the reviewers above complained that the author mentioned his wife too much. I totally identified with Phil and why he did so. For those of us like him with a family, we need their help, support and to be honest, permission to race after race, to leave the house to go on training run's at all hours and to go abroad mostly without them to run around 26 plus miles of foreign ground. I so very much identified with everything that he went through, which was all down to just how well he links together all of the elements of what goes into marathon running.
This is much more than just a book about running although it's primary purpose of course is to share Phil's running experiences. The rather harsh review above just does not relate in anyway, shape of form to my reading of this book. It is so far off the mark, that even in objective term's I find it very difficult to connect it to this book. There is an effortless flow throughout, with the difficult times being as compelling as the good times. Any runner knows that there are days and races when we are on fire and days when we are not. The down days and run's are inevitable. It's how we deal with those, get back up and carry on that matter. I loved and totally identified with the roller coaster of races Phil went through and found it very inspiring to read all about the races, some of which we would have run at the same time although I have never met the author. I also identified with all his doubts, at times his lack of belief in his own ability and the high's when his goals are met.
Phil also weaves in interesting sub stories and his father in law in particular seems to be an amazing character who should write his own book. He builds up the tension with each race. The final chapters with all the details of his self doubt are compelling and had me racing through them to see what happens (I shan't give the story away!).
This isn't a text book on how to run a marathon. It doesn't try to get too geeky and provide step by step expert analysis on every type of training run you should do, the speed you should run, diet etc. If you want that, buy Runners World. What it does is give the reader a fantastic and inspiring insight into everything that goes into marathon training and running from lot's of different perspective's.
Perhaps the best compliment I can give to the author is this. I am a very experienced runner. I have run the races I mentioned above. I have run two hundred plus mile races in one go. In 2012, I ran every single day covering 2500 miles in the process and I am a coach my running club. Despite all of that, the book completely inspired me and having never written a review about a book in my life, it was good enough for me to write this. Given the number and extensive range of books I have read, that say's it all really.
This will appeal to novice and experienced runners alike. Don't hesitate. Buy it now.