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May 17, 2013

"The Official Rock 'n' Roll guide to Marathon & Half-Marathon Training" book review

About a week ago, I contacted Velopress about doing a review of one of their latest books, "The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide to Marathon and Half-Marathon Training".  To give full disclosure, I've not run a Rock 'n' Roll race yet.  The key word being yet.  I certainly plan to run one of their great event in the future.  Regardless, the book is geared towards training for this race distance no matter what race you run.

I've read several training books over the last few years with varying degrees of training programs.  I also happen to have run four marathons and thirteen half marathons.  Of course, that doesn't make me an expert but it does give me some experience to discuss the topic of training plans

While the book has several programs for both first time half marathoners and marathoners, the book really is geared towards the beginner in my opinion.  I don't mention that as a bad thing but many of the discussions are likely things that most experienced marathoners would already know.  For example, preparing for race day.

The book does have a tremendous amount of great information.  It's not just a training plan.  It helps the runner with various topics including getting started with the basics such as what types of shoes there are to pronation of the feet.  It really gives the beginning runner a great start to understand things about running and racing.  It's gets into further detail as to the types of runs you will need to do in order to get the training in.  As most of you know, it's a big time commitment.

There's a dedicated section about nutrition while training and before the race that is quite helpful.  It's not a really technical book meaning it does not get much into the science of running.  There is some discussion of it but its really focused on what you need to do to train for a successful race versus the science behind it.  While there are many that want to know the whys of what you need to do to race, I think the typical reader would be one that just wants to know what to do so they can join in on the fun.

Subsequent to all this is a chapter related to racing.  What to do race week.  What to do during the race.  How to fuel and how to notice signs of dehydration.  It's excellent information especially for one that has not run a race of these distances.  The book also helps with recovery - how to do it, nutrition to help you including what to drink and eat.  How to train after the race so that you recover properly before the next race.

One of the most informative chapters is related to cross training.  There are some programs that feel in order to run a marathon, you need to run more.  While I don't disagree with that, I feel cross training is an important part of the plan as well.  The author does an excellent job at showing additional exercises that can be used to supplement your training and help reduce the chance of injury.

Speaking of injury, the books goes into detail on the most common injuries that can creep up in your training .  In addition, it discusses the solutions to help prevent those injuries and/or fix them after they have happened.  Of course, as always, if you are unsure about an injury, see a doctor.

Finally, the book has four training programs: Beginner half, beginner full, experienced half and experienced full program.  The full program for beginners tops out at 39 miles with the experienced plan topping out at 58 miles.  The program also has some excellent charts including race pace charts, race equivalency charts and perceived effort chart which are quite useful.

Of course, the book is geared towards the Rock 'n' Roll series which is understandable.  The race series has some incredible options for running a half or full marathon throughout the world.  So whether you are considering running your first half or full or your fifth, this book is a good read that can help you meet your goals.

Interested in reading it?

You can preview the book HERE.

You can buy it HERE.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!


  1. I have done two RNR halfs and they were both excellently done! I had a great time at both venues, Seattle and Las Vegas!

  2. As i am planning on running my first full this year after a couple of years of 3-4 half's, I might be interested. It is always good to reexamine your training and other aspects of preparation. I might check it out.