I recently finished two books THE SCIENCE OF RUNNING by Steve Magness and RUNNING SCIENCE by Owen Anderson. Judging the books by their covers/titles, one would imagine they would be fairly similar… but like your mother told you, never judge a book by its cover.
THE SCIENCE OF RUNNING is a very valuable resource that is worth every penny and is the book in review here. It’s not your traditional running book and takes a different approach compared to other running/training books. This different approach is what makes it so valuable. I have been following Steve Magness at WWW.SCIENCEOFRUNNING.COM and have gained a great deal of respect for his background. Steve has the experience of competing at the elite level, has a degree in Exercise Science, and is coaching some great athletes. Not many can say they have this kind of experience.
THE SCIENCE OF RUNNING approaches running from all angles. It doesn’t say workout “X” will make you faster, or doing X, Y, and Z are the keys to success. Most running books do this and this is where the others fail. There is no magic workout or secret. Although there is a plethora of valuable information in this book, probably the biggest takeaway I got from the book was how different runners respond to training, specifically in regards to slow-twitch and fast-twitch athletes.
Running for the University of Michigan, coaching cross-country/track at Haslett High School, and in my own training… this really hit a nerve with me. To some degree I wish I would have known this information sooner, but at the same time I don’t know if I could have fully grasped the concept without these priceless experiences. I could write a book on these experiences, but for now I’ll let Steve’s word be a testament for the in’s and out’s of training.
This concept also gets me thinking about the topic of Kenyan dominance in distance running. In the United States running system we have a melting pot of genetics. Coaches have to deal with teams/groups of athletes that all come from different backgrounds of both nature and nurture. How in the world can a coach accommodate this diversity under their training system? Kenyans and other undeveloped African nations are pretty unaffected by immigration, and their pool of genetics is not altered much… so once a coach can figure out a system of training, most of these athletes will respond positively to this system.
I love being a student of the sport and out of the 100′s of running books that I have consumed over the years, THE SCIENCE OF RUNNING has made it into my top running related books. It has been a few years since a book has made into this group, and it is very refreshing to see a coach/runner put something new out there. What makes these books the creme of the crop is that they don’t tell you to do X, Y, and Z… they inspire you to create the path that works for you and/or your athletes… that their is no magic workout. Take the time to learn from this resource and you’ll see that it’s about getting out there, putting in the work and enjoying the journey. Do those things and you are guaranteed to get somewhere!