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Brain Training For Runners: A Revolutionary New Training System to Improve Endurance, Speed, Health, and Results
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Brain Training For Runners: A Revolutionary New Training System to Improve Endurance, Speed, Health, and Results

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  406 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Based on new research in exercise physiology, author and running expert Matt Fitzgerald introduces a first-of-its-kind training strategy that he's named "Brain Training." Runners of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels can learn to maximize their performance by supplying the brain with the right feedback. Based on Fitzgerald's eight-point brain training system, this boo ...more
Paperback, 562 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by NAL
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Oct 15, 2012 Sandi added it
Amazing! This was my bible for about a year and the knowledge gained never gets old. I recommend that if you get this book, get sticky tabs so you can quickly access the most meaningful passages. (I'm not kidding about it being my bible). In psyching myself up prior to the marathon of my hour PR, I would recite the passages over, and over again so as to commit the knowledge to memory so I could access it when the race got tough in the later miles. After so many positive outcomes, I can't help bu ...more
Keith Kendall
I should mention that while reading this book, and gently applying the exercises in it, I twice beat my 5K PR from 7 years ago. I feel like those exercises made me a faster runner.

Cross Training is not just doing other sports. There are muscle specific exercises that enhance speed, endurance, and reduce chance of injury. It is based on recent advances in sports physiology. To me, these are sound principles. It even has a forward written by Tim Noakes, MD where he endorses it.

Some parts I liked:
Jess Dollar
This is a good choice for athletes and coaches that want to learn more about the Central Governor Theory. Fitzgerald sums it up pretty well. It's very important to at least understand that there is more to fatigue than just be tired. Certainly if you believe that lactic acid comes first and then fatigue, you can learn a lot about yourself and how your brain works through this book.
As a coach, I know that most people don't want to think about their brain; they want to swim, bike, and run. I see
Great book with cutting edge training plans, and insight into what is actually happening during intense/event specific training. The brain needs gradual conditioning to race pace and race distance to avoid sending signals to the muscles to shut down and protect the organs. Also, the maximum number of muscle fibers should be brought into action. When brain senses problems, it starts shutting down the fibers, important to get them activated early in the training cycle.

I've not read cover to cover,
I didn't get to finish this but it was very interesting. I like the way Fitzgerald combines physiology and psychology. I used to fear something bad would happen to me if I ran too far for my body, like my legs would just give out and I'd fall. I learned that even when we have "hit the wall" we still have about an hour's worth of energy available to our muscles. Our brain causes us to feel we've ran out of energy in order to PREVENT muscle death from lack of energy. Knowing this, I was able to be ...more
Roberto Rigolin Ferreira Lopes
Now I'm very very deliberative during the long runs. Last one I started with full of confidence knowing I ate and slept well. During the first 5 min I checked form and started pushing Earth using my hamstrings, you probably noticed shorter days recently. After 30 min I was warmed up and found a pace where I became running. You read it right: I became running. That is the best feeling out there and I managed to switch from flow to tough reality every one kilometre or so. Reach 2 hours felt like h ...more
The introduction was absolutely atrocious. For Tim Noakes' horrendous writing did little more than annoy the expletives out of me - he certainly did not lend credibility to Fitzgerald's argument.

Moving on.

I picked up this book because I thought, oh, hey, this guy's going to give tips on how to train your brain to get beyond those "I can't do this" barriers - awesome! I'm not an avid runner, but I am a fitness instructor, so I figured there might be tips I could use and share with my classes. I'm
Dec 10, 2014 Patrick rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Athletes
I was quite happy with the start of the book. Matt gave new insight into the way we view running and how we are able to push back the wall of fatigue. However the last half of the book was about training. Training plans get covered in a lot of other books and it felt misplaced here. I would love to have a full book on just the brain behind running, and the part that was in the book was well written, however I was left disappointed at the end.
Excellent (though I say that about all of Fitzgerald's books). Unfortunately, the main impact of reading this book will be that I (at least temporarily) stop running: I've been trying to ignore Achilles tendonitis for months, and this book has made me realize I have to stop and let it heal.

However, when I come back, I'll definitely be incorporating the knowledge in this book.
Damon Henrichs
This is a great book with a new way to look at how "fatigue" works, what runners can do about it, and how to train better as a result of that knowledge. Traditional training (while still in most ways getting it right in terms of HOW to train for best results) suggest that the body physically breaks down in many ways when we "hit the wall", but new science has shown this to be largely untrue. I can't remember without looking at the book all the "sciencee" aspects of it, but his arguments are stro ...more
Rhonda Coale
I thought this book was ok. I think it's geared more towards better or more experienced runners, rather than the novice or casual runner (like I consider myself to be). That said, I did pick up a few tips, new ideas, and new theories that I will try in my training. Over half the book is various training plans, less than half the book is actual reading.
An interesting read, but long winded. Over 500 pages, of which the last half of the book is training schedules. I found it interesting, but would have preferred a condensed summary without the training schedules.
Covers some interesting ground although there's a wider focus than just training the brain and the second half is just training plans that look similar to other plans for the same distances.
Good book but you have to stay focused on the science and the anatomy of your body. Could be a little intense.
Amber Campbell
Really dry at parts, but seems like solid advice.
Mark Fallon
A good book, with some interesting concepts. However, Fitzgerald makes some assumptions based on incomplete scientific research. A lot of the rationale for his methods centers on initial studies of certain chemicals (e.g., interlukin-6) and the possible ways the brain may function. However, these are newer studies, with very limited clinical trails, and no widespread consensus on causation vs. association.

It will be interesting to see how this book holds up as we learn more about the brain.
Lisa Aguilera

I read all if the book up to the training programs. I really enjoyed Chapter 3 breaking through the wall. Fatigue "is an effort by the brain to prevent a dangerous loss of homeostasis by reducing muscle activity and my producing feelings of discomfort and loss of motivation." "...but exhaustion always occurs when the runner feels completely exhausted-because that feeling of exhaustion is what fatigue really is."
i really enjoyed reading the different pieces of advice. especially the parts on becoming mentally stronger. i think this is a good book to just take little pieces here & there. gave this book a three because every runner is different and not all advice may work for everybody. second half includes training plans---after skimming those don't think i'm personally interested those particular ones.
Robert Kosara
Some interesting ideas and I think a good approach overall, but the writing is very repetitive and the author needs to remind us that he came up with the brain-centered approach on every other page. The parts about nutrition could have been fleshed out, those seemed really interesting. But the rest could probably have been cut down by 30% to make a more readable and focused book.
Hans Reitzema
Nice to read some new insights and opinions about athletic training. The author states that these new insights are based on scientific research but I think they are partly based on his personal convictions. Which is fine by me, dont get me wrong.

I find the book very interesting and I am curious about future developments in the brain training area!
Not having been a runner in the past, I don't have a lot of experience to agree or disagree on this but I thought it was an interesting look at the interaction of brain and body and how you can train to greater advantage with that knowledge. I will definitely be putting some of it to the test and keeping the book as reference material.
This is my primary training book. I don't know if I first read it in 2010 or 2011, but I am referring to it right now, almost everyday. It's methods are close to Run Less Run Faster, but more conservative. I hope I can keep up with the plan as time goes on. The paces are still a bit faster than I am comfortable with.
I mostly skimmed this book. Distance running advice is dangerous because no one piece of advice is universal. Except maybe "If it hurts, stop doing it." This book worked really well for me. It has detailed plans and schedules for running. If you used to be a runner and want to get back on the horse, this is a great book.
Susan Gallagher

Not a bad read. I learned a lot about what's going on in your body when you run. The author asserts a brain-centered theory of why fatigue sets in and recommends some tweaking to training times. But I wouldn't call the info revolutionary in relation to how the average runner trains.
Tracy White
Well, I still have to put this into practice, but this was a case of reading the right book at the right time. I feel better about the slump I have been going through and mentally recharged about going back into training. Thanks to Rozzie for the suggestion!
The best chapter explaining the perfect running stride that I have read. Some great detailed explanations of other parts of great running too. Though, it comes across a little too strong that you have to adopt a whole new system to do anything.
Jackie Fowler
Excellent book for intermediate to advanced runners who include speedwork in their race training. I loved all the technical information about training, physiology, nutrition, and stride. A wealth of in-depth running information!
Willie O
If only I could get my legs to respond to what my brain thinks it could do: I'd be world class. A ton of valuable information that is taking time to digest and apply to my everyday training.
Joe Miller
Pretty good book. Helpful stuff about form. I'll probably go back through it and try some of the core training exercizes.
Jim Allen

Really enjoyed this book. Can't wait to implement the training plan and see if I can improve my time!
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