Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: The Ultimate Beginner’s Running Guide

I was contacted by author Ryan Robert quite a while ago to review his book. I do not have any connections with Robert, and I made it clear that I would write my own opinions about his book, no matter how positive or negative. He agreed to that and sent me an ebook. I certainly did not receive any payments in any shape or form.

Despite being a fairly geeky techy, I do not own a Kindle or any other e-reader device, so I had to do with software versions. I tried them on 2 completely different devices, my PC and my smartphone, and both worked surprisingly well. Reading a book like that has clear advantages when you’re out and about, though I’m certainly not advocating getting rid of paper.

Anyway, the book.

As the title shows, this is aimed at complete beginners, and I wasn’t exactly the target audience, but I tried not let that deter me.

The book is quite short. It has 5 chapters: 1 Getting Ready To Run, 2 Raising the Bar and Staying Motivated to Run, 3 Hydration, Running in Adverse Conditions and Common Injuries, 4 Running Inspired and 5 Training Schedules.

You can read it all in a day or two. As you would expect from a book aimed squarely at beginners, the advice is fairly basic and pretty much to the point. It’s easy to understand without much jargon and should be accessible by anyone. There are a few things I might disagree with (you’ll never get two runners to agree on everything), but on the whole the advice is very sensible. The author warns against static stretching, something I wholeheartedly agree with but something that is sadly still recommended a lot, no matter how outdated the research it is based on.

There was one section where 2 sentenced were repeated on the next page. I did notice a couple of spelling mistakes and the layout isn’t quite what I’m used to from a professional book. I don’t know if that is a limitation of the e-reader format or lack of professional editing, but it feels a little less polished than maybe it should be.

There are four sets of training schedules, for Active Beginners, Non-Exercisers, Weight Loss and People over 50. Personally I think this is overkill, 2 sets would have sufficed in my view but others might disagree.

Experienced runners won’t find much in there they don’t already know, as should be perfectly clearly from the title alone.

If you’re a complete beginner and desperate for some practical advice, you could do worse than having a look at this book. It’s $6.14 from amazon.com (unavailable from amazon.co.uk, not that it matters for an e-book), probably less than you’d pay for a paper copy, and if you follow all the advice you will be well able to take your first steps on the road to running fitness. Reading a book is not as good having an experienced runner as your running buddy, but that’s something you can throw at any running book. If you’re looking for basic advice, give this one a go.