In characteristic Dorling Kindersley style, The Complete Running and Marathon Book is beautiful illustrated and full of stunning photography and art. It’s an enjoyable reference, with almost coffee-table book presentation, but has some very practical and usable content between its covers too.
The book contains the spectrum of essential topics for distance running, including basic physiology, running style, hydration and nutrition, shoes and kit, training principles, training plans, tapering, core strength, psychology, recovery, injuries, and much more.
The highly illustrated presentation brings topics to life, including anatomical diagrams in the first few pages to illustrate the key physical demands of running. It includes two-page spreads which explain specific muscle groups, anatomical regions, and physiological processes.
In my view the most valuable inclusion in this book—and the feature that sets it apart from the multitude of other running reference books available—is the excellent range of illustrated running-specific exercises:
- These include pre- and post-run stretches, running-specific warm-ups and cool-downs, technique drills, core training and resistance training.
- For each exercise, it explains the purpose and benefit, how to achieve good technique, and the target muscles.
- Each exercise has two or three photographs to illustrate the position and movement.
I have not seen another running book yet that provides such a broad array of good running-specific exercises, so clearly presented and explained.
Another nice feature is post-race recovery training programmes to follow after a target race. These are designed to promote appropriate movement and mobility for muscle recovery. The recovery plans encompass a balance of different activities such as walking, stretching, yoga, swimming and cycling.
Where I found this book a little lacking is in the training programmes. While it covers plans for different distances, it does not provide any split for beginner/intermediate/advanced, and therefore will either be too much or too little for a large proportion of runners depending on previous mileage and experience. However, given the enormous number of training programmes available on the internet, for me this doesn’t affect the value of the book overall.
I’d recommend this as a useful illustrated reference, and a great practical companion to have with you for strength, resistance and stretching exercises, and technique drills.
This book is available in The Flying Runner bookshop.
Click here to find it.