Kathryn Lucas's Reviews > The Beginning Runner's Handbook: The Proven 13-Week Walk/Run Program

The Beginning Runner's Handbook by Ian MacNeill
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Apr 12, 12

Recommended for: People new to the sport of running
Read from January 01 to February 01, 2006 — I own a copy, read count: 2

This is a very valuable book for those totally new to running. If you're already running regularly, this is NOT the book for you. (It's called The *Beginning* Runner's Handbook for a reason.)

Even if you're a completely sedentary couch potato, the training plan outlined in this book will get you to the point of finishing a 10K race in 13 weeks' time. I personally always *hated* running with a white-hot passion. I was always the last kid in my middle school gym class to finish the yearly obligatory mile run (because I had to walk 90% of the distance), and I couldn't understand anyone who would choose to spend their leisure time jogging. But I came to a point in my 30s where I was looking for a challenge, and for some reason, a 10K race in a destination city seemed like a good idea. I had never run before, and I'd certainly never contemplated a race before. I followed the Learn To Run 10K training program in this book, and ran my first 10K (the Vancouver Sun Run) in 68 minutes. A terrible finish time for any "real" runner, but a huge accomplishment for me, as I was just happy to have been able to run the whole race without having to walk any of it -- particularly the giant, steep hill between kilometers 5 and 6. Later that same summer, my brother (an even bigger couch potato than me) also did this 13-week program, and together we completed another 10K, this time with a combination of running and walking.

This plan is a walk-run plan in which your workouts consist of walking segments and jogging segments. In the beginning, you're walking more than you're jogging, but gradually, the ratio of running to walking increases as your stamina slowly increases. If you stick to the script of prescribed workouts, you will be able to do a 10K race without killing yourself, either by jogging the entire distance or by doing a combination of jog/walk cycles (such as 12-minute jog segments separated by 1-minute walk segments, over the entire 10K distance). And you will most likely get through the program injury-free.

The book contains a lot of useful info that, to experienced runners, may seem obvious, but to beginners is not necessarily so obvious. For example, there are tips on the type of nutrition that running requires, the amount of hydration, how to motivate yourself to run when you just don't feel like going, how to begin running so that you don't injure yourself, what to think about when purchasing running shoes, how to run with dogs, how and whether to run while pregnant, how to get back on track if you do injure yourself or catch a nasty cold bug in the middle of your training program -- in short, anything that those who have never run might need to know.

I still find myself coming back to this book for information, even now that I've done the walk/run program several times. (I let my fitness lapse, then I get remotivated and start the whole training script over again for a new race.) Once you've done a 10K successfully, if you want to continue to challenge yourself, there is also a Run 10K Faster program in this book -- another 13-week program designed to help you improve your finish time.
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