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on 23 June 2004
This is the one. Being a naturally cautious boy, I initially bought the Runner's Handbook. This one is a considerable improvement - it repeats much that is in the original; however, unless you're the kind of runner who can't manage more than a run down the end of the road, you should ditch the first book in favour of the Competitive ... It has all the useful information contained in the previous version, and then a lot more that will help you move up a level, whether you're low or mid-intermediate. Any higher than that (ie if you're looking at sub-40 minute 10kms, etc.) and I suspect you already know what you're doing and you're not looking to buy a book like this, although you may find some useful tips. Stretching, injury, different programs for different distances and different types of runners; ideas on how to run on various types of terrain; in different weather conditions. It's all there, and not only are the sub-chapters there to answer any question you might have but, most importantly, it's well written and intelligently done. There is very little filler in this book. There are very few annoying Americanisms and little wasted space - every chapter serves a purpose, is well constructed and leaves you with a bit idea of what you're trying to achieve. A great buy amidst the wealth of running books available.
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on 5 September 2011
I got this as I wanted to move up to the marathon and wanted a good running book that covers it all. Well from that point it does not disappoint. It really does cover everything that a runner would want to know.

There are a couple of areas that the book could be improved. First without a doubt is the style. One can only imagine the battles he must have had with his editor. The book has well over 600 pages but at least a third of that could be eliminated. His "chatty style style" means that you have to read half a page before he gets to the point. This gets annoying quickly. So many sentences either talk about himself and/or his wife - Shelly-Lynn. The book is also starting to show it's age now - it was first released in 1999 but I think a lot of it dates back to the 80's. It's in dire need of a complete style over-haul (So nothing about running with GPS or using an MP3 player) Also it's worth mentioning that the book does not have one picture or diagram which is very strange for a book of this size, especially as they are very useful when describing stretches and exercises.

I would say this book is aimed at the beginner-intermediate runner. If you can easily run under your Boston qualifying time you probably won't get much out of this book. (I recommend Daniels' Running Formula: Proven programs: 800 m to the marathon, I would also recommend this to runners of any ability)

Also it is a book written by an American for Americans, so don't expect any times in metric, and you may find some Americanisms annoying - "As many as 40m Americans are nagged by allergies. Shelly-lynn and I battle them year round".

All in all it is a very good book especially if you are just starting out.
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on 20 July 2000
If you are serious about your running then you need this book. This book covers just about every aspect of running from the point of view of a club athlete who is looking to improve their running.
Too many books and magazines are written for people who are new to running and want some simple advice on how to get around their local 10K before it gets dark - if that is what you want try another book.
Wether you are serious about running a fast 5K or a sub 3 hour marathon this book provides heaps of useful advice. Ther are chapters on specific training for all distances from 5K upwards, stretching, fartlek training, tempo training, treadmills, heart rates, illnesses, cross training ....
The book is written in such a way that you can either read it from cover to cover or you can dip into it as a useful reference manual. Since I unwrapped my copy, on Christmas day last year, hardly a day goes by when I don't 'dip into it'.
I challenge anybody to buy this book and not improve their running!
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on 23 November 2001
Covers most aspects of running to satisfy both the beginner and the serious club athlete. All chapters are relevant and easy to read but the most useful I find are the concepts behind speed training, the schedules which cover a variety of distances, psychological tips and the nutrition sections. I run all distances from 5k to ultras (sometimes for fun, sometimes competitively), I am self coached and I own 5 other running books but I always refer back to this book. It was useful to me when I was a beginner (the first edition) and it is still useful to me now after 18 years of running.
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on 31 January 2008
I guess it depends what you like in a running book, but I find Glover's style verbose. The tips & techniques are in here, but they tend to be buried in a wealth of guff. If you want a book that says "Here's what you do - get on with it!" then try Beck's Run Strong. But if you like a long, meandering fireside chat, liberally interspersed with anecdotes and tangents, but the odd useful tip every now and again, then go for this one.
This book would suit those comparatively new to running in organised events. Like a previous reviewer, I think that if you are already an experienced competitive runner then there is little this book can tell you. Do you really need to be reminded to pack your race number ... ?
The lack of photos or drawings to illustrate stretches is just plain stupid. Also, Glover advises changing your footstrike to improve running economy which, apart from being a sure-fire recipe for injury, research has shown makes no real difference to race times.
Finally, it's written in 'American', which is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but you'll need to understand feet, yards, pints & quarts to get the most out of it. And the tediously repetitive references to Central Park ...
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on 16 November 2006
I have been running for 3 1/2 years now and this is still my favorite book. I have purchased and sold many on the way but I still go back to this book and would like a hardbacked version as mine is getting a bit tatty.

Covers everything.
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on 14 May 2001
Having being a serious runner for about 5 years I thought I knew everything about running. I was wrong. This books gives you everything you need to know about every aspect of running. It has quite alot of funny comments which makes you chuckle but it was we all think. The Mental Training chapter contained within the book I found to be very benefitcial. I ran the London Marathon this year and Bob's words were ringing in my ears over the last few painful miles. Although it is called the competitive runner's handbook, it does cater for beginners as well as the speed merchants who we see disappearing off into the distance. This book is a must. I guarantee once you pick it up you will not be able to put it down.
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on 3 October 2007
This book goes into lots of detail on all aspects of running, but always remains readable and interesting. I've recently qualified as a Personal Trainer and find a lot of running books are too basic, but I'm learning lots from this, particularly on what actually works at a practical level. At the same time, jargon is minimal, things are explained clearly and the many questions I've had about my own running potential are answered. This is so useful to be able to set myself realistic challenges when I've really had no idea before what I'm capable of. There's just so much covered and so much useful information that I've struggled to find anywhere else.
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on 19 October 2001
Although I'm not a competitive runner, this book gave me some basic and advanced knowledge which I find useful when I run to train for other sports.
I think it's too wordy and doesn't really look like a handbook, which makes it not easy to use as a reference. Good book anyhow.
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on 3 February 2010
This is a great book for people who are just starting with running. It helps prepare for small runs and even gives you a training plan for running in the London Marathon! It helps every step of the way and also advises on the correct foods to be eaten. A great book.
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