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What Run Oregon is Reading: How Bad Do You Want It? & Hanson’s Marathon Method

When Run Oregon is relaxing after a day of running, we sometimes like curling up in front of a fire with a good book. Below are a few that have been passed along to us. Book: How Bad Do You Want It? Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle by Matt Fitzgerald Cost: Approximately $14 on Amazon ($10 on Kindle); $18.95 (list) Review by: Tung Yin "Why can't I run faster?" Most of us have probably wondered this at some point or other in our running career, even if one's running is more on the casual side. Is the limiting factor purely physical (i.e., conditioning, VO2 max, etc.), is there a hard-wired internal governor that keeps us from running too close to the breaking point, or is there something else? Sports journalist and runner Matt Fitzgerald proposes a psychobiological connection, where mental toughness is the determining factor in endurance contests such as running, cycling, triathlons, and the like.

Unlike training plan-specific running books such as the Daniels’ Running FormulaHow Bad Do You Want It? is not filled with tables, data, or even guidelines aimed at improving your race times. In fact, the central lesson of this book in terms of how to run faster can be summed up as, “Suck it up and embrace the suffering!”

What made this book a fun read was how each chapter focused on a single endurance athlete’s challenges and travails, starting with a specific event, but then pulling back to see that event in the context of the athlete’s career. Many but not all of them “won,” but their stories all demonstrated different aspects of their mental toughness in persevering. Fitzgerald is a skilled writer and the drama and excitement of the various races really jump off the pages. I felt like I was there, watching Jenny Simpson’s unexpected collapse in the NCAA cross-country championship, followed by her subsequent redemption in her pro career, nicely illustrating Fitzgerald’s contention that she didn’t perform well in the collegiate race because she wasn’t mentally prepared for it, having already been looking ahead.

If you like reading books about racing, you would probably enjoy this book. If you are feeling a bit unmotivated about running, this would be a great book to pick up, as you are likely to be inspired by all of the thrilling stories.

 

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Book: Hansons Marathon Method by Luke Humphrey with Keith and Kevin Hanson

Cost: Approximately $15.50 on Amazon and Kindle (can also be purchased at at barnesandnoble.com)

Review by: Brian Bernier

Unfortunately, I received this book a little to late in my training to apply it to the plan for Boston. The line that caught my eye shortly into the book was the claim that they generally improve a persons marathon time by 20 to 30 minutes, which is obviously quite substantial.

The book starts with a look at the training philosophy and the physiology of the marathon. It is a great introduction and provides the basics for the information presented later. From there it goes into the long runs, in terms of the actual length and pace, and how to figure that out from your current capability. It is definitely written in a way that can be applied to all paces, not just the elite or competitive runner. The book starts with a look at the training philosophy and the physiology of the marathon. It is a great introduction and provides the basics for the information presented later. From there it goes into the long runs, in terms of the actual length and pace, and how to figure that out from your current capability. It is definitely written in a way that can be applied to all paces, not just the elite or competitive runner.

From there it lays out different speed workout options, which are an essential part of training, at any distance. Again, it shows sample times from elite to those shooting for a 5 hour finish. There is little to guess about as everything from target times to rest distance are addressed. From there it lays out different speed workout options, which are an essential part of training, at any distance. Again, it shows sample times from elite to those shooting for a 5 hour finish. There is little to guess about as everything from target times to rest distance are addressed.

There is really no minor detail in marathon prep, as anything can be a major issue in the face of a 26 mile run. From how and when to rest, how to fuel, stretches and exercises to work on parts of the body that running misses, gear, and then formulating the actual race strategy, every key detail is addressed. This is the kind of book a rookie marathoner can pick up and use to ensure they reach the starting line feeling like they are ready for the challenge. There is really no minor detail in marathon prep, as anything can be a major issue in the face of a 26 mile run. From how and when to rest, how to fuel, stretches and exercises to work on parts of the body that running misses, gear, and then formulating the actual race strategy, every key detail is addressed. This is the kind of book a rookie marathoner can pick up and use to ensure they reach the starting line feeling like they are ready for the challenge.

Oddly enough, my informal, run by heart training plan is fairly similar to what this book suggests, even down to the targeted split times for the track work. Regardless of how Boston goes in May, I will be taking notes off this book to ensure that I will reach my goal of 2:30 in Eugene next year. No matter your goal, if you plan on doing a marathon and want some solid direction on how to properly prepare, I advise picking up this book and a highlighter a year before race day. Oddly enough, my informal, run by heart training plan is fairly similar to what this book suggests, even down to the targeted split times for the track work. Regardless of how Boston goes in May, I will be taking notes off this book to ensure that I will reach my goal of 2:30 in Eugene next year. No matter your goal, if you plan on doing a marathon and want some solid direction on how to properly prepare, I advise picking up this book and a highlighter a year before race day.

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About Tung Yin (176 Articles)
Law prof by day, runner all the time. Got off the couch in January 2011 and have been obsessed with running ever since.

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