Handy Multiple-Race Training Manual
If you’ve been running endurance races for any length of time, you quickly learn that a lot of the books providing training plans are very similar in content and strategy. So, when I saw this odd-sized, spiral-bound training manual I was intrigued to see what was inside. I was pleasantly surprised. From the spiral-bound lay-flat binding, to the laminated “sweatproof” pages and the built-in cover-flap page holder, not to mention the 21 training plans for 7 different types races—Run Workouts for Runners and Triathletes (Velo Press, 2009) has it all!
After being wooed by all the bells and whistles, I was elated to see that the authors were none other than legendary running coach, Bobby McGee and one of South Africa’s greatest marathoners, Mark Plaatjes. This gifted pair has drawn from their more than 80 years of experience in running to write a practical training manual for any runner or triathlete who wants to enhance his/her performance as well as gain a better understanding of the complex connection between their physical and mental bodies.
The book offers something for just about every runner. Twenty-one training plans for 7 different races (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Olympic-Distance Triathlon, Half-Ironman, and Ironman) as well as 15 different types of workouts (that are incorporated into the training plans) are provided. In addition to the immense content, equally appealing is the flexibility built in by McGee and Plaatjes. For example, the workouts are designed so you can train by pace, heart rate, or perceived effort. Also, you can use the material to supplement a plan you’re already using or you can use one of the 21 plans provided.
To prevent you from doing all of your training at “one speed”, McGee and Plaatjes have created plans that put runners through a balance of endurance, strength, speed, and rest. Each of the seven race distances has three levels of training plans. Each training plan is broken into five phases—base, general, strength, specific, and taper. The 15 workouts implemented in the various training phases typically contain a warm-up, a main set, a cool-down, and a training tip.
Another extremely helpful tool that McGee and Plaatjes provide are six test s that help you establish several baselines to help you make sure you’re training at the most effective intensities.
The only drawback to the book is that because there are so many different workouts and tests, they’ve been coded in order to fit on the training plans. So it takes a little while to familiarize yourself with all the different codes. This may take a little extra time, but it’s well worth the solid, quality training plans you get in return.
In the book’s Foreword, Samantha McGlone (2004 Olympian and 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Champion) states, “Bobby McGee has coached all kinds of runners—from amateurs to world and Olympic champions. I’m confident he can make you a better runner too.” I couldn’t agree more.
Thad McLaurin is an avid marathoner and fitness buff living in Greensboro, NC.
His daily running and fitness blog—RunnerDude’s Blog—can be found at http://ncrunnerdude.blogspot.com.
Thad is also the Run for Fitness and Long Distance Running mentor at the goal-oriented social site TheCircle.org which can be found at http://www.thecircle.org. Please feel free to contact Thad at [email protected]