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Lore of Running – The Ultra of Running Books

Ultrarunners love to go big!

I recently finished reading the Lore of Running by Tim Noakes and it definitely goes big, with 900+ pages of insight for nearly all aspects of running. When a book is big enough to be classified as a weapon in four states, it is worth a look. The amount of useful content in this one book – is crazy cool.

What’s Inside?

The book is broken up into four main sections.

  • Physiology and Biochemistry of Running – Thoughts and theories on how the body supports your running adventures.
  • Training Basics – The first sub-section covers basic training terminology,  useful guidelines and tips for a holistic training program, and basic get-you-moving training programs.  The next sub-section highlights some of the training and philosophies of world class athletes that excelled in the mile, all the way up to 700 km ultramarathons. The final two sub-sections include tips and guidelines on preventing overtraining and developing that often ignored area between the ears, the mind.
  • Transferring Training to Racing – Multiple training programs and tips for 10km-half mary (beginner based), marathon (beginner to advanced), and ultramarathon (80-100km, beginner to competitive).
  • Running Health – This final section covers ergogenic aids, injury prevention and management, explanation of the most common running injuries, and an array of medical conditions and their relationship with exercise and running.

Wow, I did say content rich. Simply loaded. Depending on your interests, it is a book that can be read from cover-to-cover or simply to reference your current area of interest. For new or experienced runners, the entire Training Basics section offers some solid concepts, reminders, and insight to support your journey.

The training programs definitely don’t cover all individual needs and distances but gives a taste of what is involved for many common race distances.

For those that periodically get running injuries, you can help but gain some insight from Noakes Ten Laws of Running Injuries that include:

  • Injuries are not an act of God
  • Most Injuries are Curable
  • Sophisticated Methods are Seldom Needed
  • Treat the Cause, Not the Effect

Some really empowering and self-reflective ideas.

Ultra Goodies

What areas of Lore of Running may most interest ultra athletes?

You can’t help but be intrigued by the training and philosophies of world class athletes throughout the last century+. One of the ultra athletes highlighted was Ann Trason (14 Western States 100 wins) and it is clear she does (or did) some huge training but even more usable for all of us is her training approach is also quite simple. Yes, simple!

Here is the basic philosophy and structure of Ann’s training week when preparing for a race:

  • 10-12 weeks of solid training before an event
  • weights – 2-3 times per week
  • 1 speed session (hill or track)
  • 1 up-tempo run (a faster than race pace effort)
  • 1 long run
  • rest of week rest, easy, or hilly social runs
  • specificity of training depending on the target race

Then do the work – week after week after week. Take it to the macro-level – year after year after year. Amazing things can happen. Of course, we all need to determine the appropriate training for our individual self, but you can’t help but appreciate the simplicity of a top-level athlete’s training.

Other ultra nuggets:

  • Temperature regulation during exercise – Of particular interest, heat management.
  • The running/ultra life of Arthur Newton, Bruce Fordyce, Mark Allen, Yiannis Kouros, Eleanor Adams, and Ann Trason (as noted above).
  • Avoiding Overtraining concepts. Of course, ultra athletes rarely have this problem. 😉
  • Ideas to prepare the mind.
  • Some basic ultra training programs.

The beauty of the Book

One of the cool points of the book is that it is actually readable. And when it is readable, it is understandable. And when it is understandable, it is usable.

For those that simply want a running program to follow, this book will most likely not be of interest. If you are one that likes to explore the various layers of the sport, the Lore of Running is bound to expand your awareness.

Have any of you read the book? What do you think of it?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

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About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

2 Responses to “Lore of Running – The Ultra of Running Books”

  1. on 05 Mar 2011 at 4:15 pm Ed Miron

    I agree, it is a fantastic book. However, there has been a fair amount of sports medicine research since the 4th edition was first published in 2001. An updated edition is needed.

  2. on 22 Mar 2011 at 3:21 pm David Hanenburg

    Hey Ed – Good point. Hard to believe the book is now 10 years old.