14 Minutes: A Running Legend’s Life and Death and Life by Alberto Salazar and John Brant, 5/5
Salazar’s life-story is every bit the page-turner that the book’s title suggests. It was fascinating to get a glimpse into the obsession that drives world-class athletes, but I was even more interested in how Salazar dealt with injury, set-backs, losses and depression to establish a thriving post-competitive career in a non-lucrative sport.
Why I read it: My friend, Peggy, passed it on to me.
This is an encouraging book, with lots of advice for beginning to intermediate runners (like myself) – basically, anyone who hasn’t yet settled on a rigorous training program. Several concise, entertaining articles are provided on the following topics:
1. Beginning Running
3. Injury Prevention
4. Women’s Running
5. Building Strength, Endurance, and Speed
6. The Mental Side of Running
8. The Marathon.
One of the main themes of the book is training smart as opposed to just training hard. The authors point out that, in conjunction with a good training program, lowering weekly mileage can actually be beneficial to performance. There is also a lot of emphasis on taking an appropriate number of rest/recovery days. These ideas and the training concept of “Yasso 800s” (which I am looking forward to trying out soon) are the most important things I got from this book.
I would suggest reading the newest version, since several aspects of this 1997 version feel a bit outdated.
This guide, which applies Galloway’s signature run/walk method to marathon training, is clearly the product of much expertise and experience on the part of the author, addressing a wide variety of helpful topics. While it wasn’t entirely convincing (I still really hate the idea of interrupting my runs with walk breaks), the concepts made sense and if I ever become injured or dissatisfied with my training progress, Galloway’s method is likely one of the first I would consider adopting.
Unfortunately, some serious flaws as a book affect the quality and utility of Marathon: You Can Do It! The first half contains multiple appearances of several identical or nearly identical sentences and paragraphs, making the text bloated and frustrating to read. Also, there is a notable lack of helpful diagrams and photos to illustrate key concepts (though the few charts that appear are good). This is a book that deserves to be updated and proofread by an editor who has eyes.