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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different running book you can't ignore
I sat down at the computer this evening to write a review of this inspiring book and decided, first of all, to read the other reviews that have been posted. There were six in all and the trouble is I'm not sure how I can add to them! They all give unqualified praise to Julian Goater and his co-writer, Don Melvin. So my first remark would be - read all the other reviews...
Published on 3 May 2012 by Sunshine Pete

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All you need to get a lot faster - with reservations
Each page gets you thinking and there are some great tips. However, be careful with the sections on changing your running technique and visit the sportsscientsists.com website and see the sections on running style and economy. Other claims are made in the book with rather too much certainty for comfort. Rather expensive for what it is. Don't get me wrong, Julian is...
Published 14 months ago by Notadwarf


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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different running book you can't ignore, 3 May 2012
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I sat down at the computer this evening to write a review of this inspiring book and decided, first of all, to read the other reviews that have been posted. There were six in all and the trouble is I'm not sure how I can add to them! They all give unqualified praise to Julian Goater and his co-writer, Don Melvin. So my first remark would be - read all the other reviews! The book itself is divided into two Parts: Building the Base and Sharpening the Knife. What's interesting is that the first Part, in particular, makes use of Julian's experience as a coach as much as his career as an international runner. His advice is pitched at all ages and levels of runner in establishing a set of common principles to work to. The very production of the book - the size, the cover and the layout of the pages - makes you want to pick it up and read it. The chapters are logically organised and the writing is in a very accessible and conversational style with photos and highlighted points that altogether make it extremely readable. It is also not a book that you will look at once and then consign to the shelf. There are some absolute nuggets of thought-provoking ideas, information and advice that give it value as a reference that I know I shall keep returning to. As a former, very average club runner I had long since resigned myself to steady decline with the sole objective of keeping going as long as possible. However, I have already been inspired to try some of Julian's ideas, beginning with how to run a recovery session! It remains to be seen how much I can actually speed up but following some of the ideas in the book will certainly make the attempt a good deal more fun. I can't claim to have read every running book that's been published but this one is certainly different and it all seems to make perfect sense. At less than the price of a pair of socks, it is difficult to see how any runner or coach can possibly ignore it!
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who wants both in depth advice on how to run faster but with page turning writing, 15 Aug 2012
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This is the best book that I have read on running technique and training (and I have read quite a few).
The book is full of countless gems to help you to run faster, but is also full of wonderful stories of the authors own races and those of his fellow runners, including Steve Ovett, Dave Bedford and Brendan Foster to name but a few.

It is so nice to be able to have a chance, at last, to take advice from someone who has been there and worn the T-Shirt (anyone who can run 10K in 27:34 is worth listening to in my opinion).

I have even managed to get on top of recurrent calf strains from some simple advice in the book.

This is the 1st review that I have ever written but I felt that this book deserved all the praise that it could get.

I hope that this review has been helpful
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Break that plateau, 25 Feb 2013
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I'd got stuck with my training running at a steady 7.5 mph / 8min mile type pace - race days 10k at around 48 mins, 13 miles at around 1.45. This book has helped me to rethink how I train to make sure I maximise my time. It' s not about running further, this is a definite "run smarter" book. I suspect that if you are well up on the technical aspects of running or very experienced, this may not be for you. But it is really well thought out, easy to read, follows a logical progression, advises you on your training and how to improve. I really recommend it to anyone looking to improve and wanting to get the most out of their training.

Finally, yes it does what it says - I have seen an improvement in my running speed!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin....., 14 April 2012
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In this very readable book the author provides some very practical advice for the simple act of running faster. The text reveals some simple but thought-provoking points on improving running speed (for example speed is driven by leg cadence and leg cadence is driven by the arms, how to get speed work into your schedule) as well as best preparation for improving race-day performance.

The author draws heavily on his personal experience as a top level runner in what many consider to be the golden age of British middle distance running regularly rubbing shoulders with the likes of Ovett, Coe, Bedford and Cram.

The book is certainly a comprehensive running guide but also part autobiography in which the author looks at several of the key races in his career and analyses what caused success and, in some cases, failure in those races. He then brings those factors back into the advice being given those who aspire to run faster and be more competitive in their own racing.

This book is a welcome break from the plethora of run coaching books which are focused on hours of obsessive slow base-level running and a deep emphasis on heart-rate analysis, VO2 max, lactate threshold etc. Whilst there is certainly huge merit in such an approach to athletic performance The Art of Running Faster takes a fascinating look at the basics of running and advises some simple, practical and functional approaches to getting those legs going faster and longer and watching those PB's fall!

An immensely enjoyable read that will get you thinking about your running from a whole new perspective.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps It Simple and Sensible, 1 July 2012
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John Maitland (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Through Julian's own experiences this book links back to the golden age of British men's distance running. The anecdotes which populate the book not only illustrate points of relevance to current runners but also provide an insight into the training and attitudes behind his success and that of his contemporaries.

The book is written to be widely accessible and doesn't provide in-depth scientific explanations of physiology or biomechanics. A lot of the sections emphasise common-sense and keeping things simple - this is a large part of the strength of the book as it is well known that common sense is not so common and getting the simple things correct is not so simple!

I definitely recommend the book to coaches and athletes looking for guidance and inspiration.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes me want to get out and run ....faster., 9 April 2012
By 
Liz Clark (Watford, Herts United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I already have a shelf full of books about running, but most of them simply say the same things in different ways. This one is different. Julian Goater is a hugely intelligent athlete and coach who has taken the time and effort to think about what makes for successful running - from the technical aspects of posture and cadence to the mental aspects of how to get the most out of training and racing. He's integrated concepts from other disciplines into his approach and is not afraid to present new thinking and challenge accepted wisdom. He explains how his approach has worked for him and other runners, who span a variety of ages, backgrounds and aspirations. One of his main challenges is to get away from the tendency for all training to morph into similar sessions - similar in length and similar in content, producing, not surprisingly, similar results, and he describes how to go about increasing the variety and impact of training. Unlike many other books on running, it is extremely readable, being illustrated with examples of the points being made from all areas of running with occasional references to swimming and cycling, and I found myself inspired to go out and try some of the new ideas for myself. I'd be surprised if anyone finished the book without finding that they have tried some of the sessions Julian describes, but should you get to the end and want a sample schedule as a starting point, these are presented in an appendix. To quote from the book, "In training, often the aim is to experiment, throw caution to the wind, and find out what you're capable of doing. What you discover might surprise you." That holds for the book too....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of good advice, 12 Jan 2013
This is the first book on running that I've read and it's not only very informative it's also an enjoyable book to read.

There is lots of good information about planning your running and how to improve your form while running. Another reviewer commented on the old photos but everything in this book applies to the modern day runner (beginners included).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent running book with new ideas, 29 July 2012
I am an elite marathon runner and found this book really mad me ask questions of my training and what more I could do. Julian Goater is clearly writing around his own experience and philosophy on running and while his advice is slightly lacking in scientific evidence, it is completely logical and it gives fresh ideas on how a runner should approach their training and lifestyle. This book is suitable for the beginner right up to the elite and it covers aspects around training techniques, racing, injury prevention and flexibility. What I like about the book is it relates everything back to how to run faster and it also makes running 'fun' with exercises and techniques that need not be boring or time consuming.

It's easy to read and serves as a great story of Julian's career as well as a fantastic reference guide for anyone looking to improve their running.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical advice from a seasoned runner, 31 May 2014
I bought this book (e-book version) last year (2013) when I could barely run 5k. I recently (May 2014) completed my first marathon. I can't say I ran faster, because I cannot compare the marathon to anything else, but towards that goal, I did manage to run about eight 5ks, a couple of 10ks, and two half-marathons; each time trying to concentrate on running faster (without injuries). Still on my first year of running long distances, I identified closely with the first part of the book, which is called "Building the Base." My pace is very slow, and with a group of seasoned runners I trained with last year, I always came in last, whether we did speedwork or long runs. I think the book helped in making me understand that speed does not come naturally. It takes patience. More importantly, for turtles like me, the book gave something to look forward to, and a charted path towards that goal. While I don't think I will ever have a podium finish, I know I can run faster than my present pace. The main thesis of Part 1 of the book is that "speedwork is part of the base," not something to be added on later.

There is a 10.2k route around where I live. Two days ago, I got through that in 1:08:32. Many readers will find that slow, but the first time I ran this route (eight months ago), my time was 1:29:33. I know I can do even better by focusing on the five S's: speed, suppleness, strength, stamina, and skill, plus another "S" which is psychology. The book identifies these areas and encouraged me to identify WHY I am doing a particular run or exercise. I think "endurance" is different from stamina, and in my own logbook I tag each run according to the areas described in the book, but I use "endurance" not "stamina" for really long runs. However, the book does have a term called "speed endurance" which fits in quite nicely with the easy to remember 6-S's. Endurance is thus explained in the sense of running at speed for longer distances, which is really what you'd expect from a book on how to run faster.

Part 2 is called "Sharpening the Knife." It assumes that I've already built a base to build on. I'm not so sure, but I'm getting there. For more experienced runners, this part would make more sense. It talks about hills, cross country, fartleks, tapering, mental strategies, and race day. The point here is that the schedule of runs for the week should not all be about long slow runs (that produce long, slow runners), but to have variations in speed, surfaces, and gradients (hill inclines).

I think some readers would find the writing style too conversational. Goater talks a lot about his own running experiences (good and bad races, injuries, other runners and coaches). If you like the dry, scientific type of exposition, then the book might come across as chatty. Personally, I like his (their) style. If you imagine the whole book as a letter from your coach, then the story telling makes sense.

At the back of the book is an Appendix with five sample training schedules. Schedule "A" for complete beginners shows 4 runs a week, while schedule "E" has 12 runs a week (two runs a day on five days, and one run each on two days). The point of the sample schedules is to show the variation in the weekly programme. There is no 16-week marathon plan (or something similar). The assumption is that the reader will find such a plan from other sources, and then run the recommended distances in different ways. I think some readers expect to find a 10- or 16-week plan in a running manual and might think that the book is somehow weak without these. I would rather figure out the combinations of workouts myself. I'm no expert runner, but I'm expert at how to balance my own work-family-friends-causes-travel-hobbies-running life and I would like to be able to change the structure of my week as I see fit, without somehow feeling guilty about not following a set schedule.

Negative aspects. The e-book version I downloaded from Amazon-US shows miles and not kilometres in the training schedules. I suspect there is a UK version with kilometres, which I would prefer.

There are no charts on appropriate paces for each level of fitness. The authors stress how to run faster based on feel or effort of breathing (rather than hard numbers from heart rate monitors or timed intervals). These pace charts might be important for some readers. These are not in the book but can be easily found online or from other manuals.

The other "negative" aspect is that there is very little mention of the training of African runners. This is not a truly negative criticism because I do not expect the authors to talk about training in Kenya or Ethiopia which is not their expertise. Neither would Goater have personal anecdotes about the African runners (in the same way he could call Steve Cram "Crammie"). The authors do not forget the African runners; not at all. Runners like Abebe Bikila, Patrick Makau, Tirunesh Dibaba, Samuel Wanjiru, Henry Rono, Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie, are all mentioned in the book. For example, when they talk about long, rangy strides, they make a point of saying that these can be done by a tall person with long legs (like the author Goater), or a shorter person like Gebrselassie. When they talk about balance, they explain how the African runners make it look easy, with "no wobble to be seen." I suppose I am impatient, waiting for the African elite runners to write their own training manuals. The lack of material from Kenya or Ethiopia is no fault of this book. The reader just has to be aware of the point of view.

Overall, this is an excellent book which I found very helpful for my own training as a beginner, using schedules "A" and "B", but I'm pretty sure the "D" and "E"-class runners will find gold nuggets too.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to run faster - for runners at all levels, from jogger to elite competitor., 18 April 2012
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Julian's new book, just published, is written by an athlete who has been there, done that, worn the vest and often got the medal.

Very few people are placed better than Julian to write about how to achieve your potential in running with this thought provoking, motivational and often humorous book.

However, despite Julian's performance as an elite international athlete let's get one crucial matter out into the open, this is definitively a book for runners at all levels; joggers, (those casual runners who want to keep fit, lose some weight and jog a few miles a week), as well as competitive runners who want to do better next week than they did last week.

The chapters in the book are set out in a logical, readable form, interspersed with concise comments highlighted in the text with a short summary of the chapter at the end of each section. Julian focuses on the 5, (or is it 6?), Ss: speed, suppleness, strength, stamina, skill and psychology. The importance of the mind is emphasised; the author believes that many of us do not achieve our true potential because often we lack self-belief, that ability to challenge our mental boundaries which inhibit our performance in races. This is as true for the social runner as it is for the runner who races regularly and wants to run faster.

Whilst this is a book full of advice, guidance and challenges, it does refer to Julian's contemporaries, (notably Dave Bedford, Steve Jones, Charlie Spedding and Henry Rono), referring to their views of training and competing as well as those of the author. (As an aside, Spedding's book "from last to first" is a classic autobiography of a sportsperson, an average runner who strived to be better). Julian is a great believer in each of us being able to achieve our potential by listening to our body and being honest with ourselves. However, never "over run" or "over race" is a clear message, and Julian warns runners at all levels that sometimes they need to say "No, I'm not going out this week-end for a few miles, but thanks anyway" in order to maintain that freshness and eagerness for running throughout the year.

It is not all serious stuff. There is a lot of light relief. "The Art of Running Faster" contains some great anecdotes; the one about the Ethiopian runners leading in the World Cross-Country Championships who thought that they had finished after three laps of a four lap race made me laugh and cry at the same time.

Those of us who race and follow athletics know Julian was always a great "club man", whether for Shaftesbury or the R.A.F. Not surprisingly, Julian advocates getting involved in a club for several reasons, (particularly for advice, guidance, support and friendship), emphasising the social aspects for club runners at all levels.

In summary, this is an inspirational book. If you are a runner and want to be a better runner, then this book will make you want to put on those training shoes and kit and go out for a run. Very helpfully, Julian has included an easy to follow training schedules at the end of the book, (written for runners of all levels and ability).

You may not achieve the times that Julian and his colleagues achieved, but this book will give you the encouragement to make the best effort to do so. It's a great read from a great athlete and now a leading coach.
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