Advanced Marathoning: Book Review

In his latest book review, David Anderson (dare I say it, the younger one) praises the works by Pfitzinger and Douglas.

maraAdvanced Marathoning Second Edition
by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas. (Foreword by Ryan Hall)
£9.65 Paperback
£7.62 Kindle
Published 2009


This book is the Bible for marathon training programs; it helped me go from a time of 03:51 (2008 Robin Hood Marathon) to a finish time of 03:06 in the 2012 Marathon of the North.

The opening dedication “To all runners willing to work hard and intelligently” Summarises the book quite well.

Pfitzinger won the 84, 88 Olympic marathons and twice won San Francisco with a PB of 2:11:43.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts with an MS in Exercise Science, he has more than 18 years coaching experience.

Douglas (Runners World) provides the Journalist touch to organise the material to make it easy to read.

The first part of the book offers training advice on hydration strategies, nutrition, balancing training, recovery, how to remain injury free, supplementary training(Core exercises, stretching) tapering and race day strategies.
Important advice especially on hydration is given: 4 pints of water a day should be drunk. When training weigh yourself before you run to see how much you lose, then replace lost fluids by 1.5 times.
You could argue this can be quite technical, algorithms for lactate threshold and VO2 max. How to avoid hyponatremia (drinking too much fluid with low body salt) advice etc.

If it gets too much and it’s training you want then move to part two.

The second part essentially covers the training programs; increasing in mileage from intermediate to elite. Training starts from up to 55 miles a week: there are two programs an 18 week and a 12 week for each mileage range 55 to 70, 70 to 85 and 85 plus, though only the top elite athletes run over 100 a week.

Explaining why you do different runs and how every run should have a purpose, especially recovery, is helpful for the beginner or those who have done a marathon and want to reflect on what could be improved.

Strictly business, maybe it isn’t going to be for everyone. Although for marathon runners dedicated to improving their times, who wish to step up their training, absolutely essential. Just make sure you can fit real life in too.

5/5 Authority on marathon training

You can read Pfitzingers Lab reports from ‘Running  Times’ here

David Anderson

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1 comment

    • kenny mac on 14th September 2013 at 14:11
    • Reply

    Dave I enjoyed your book review.I got a lot of ideas from the Pete Pfitzingers book Road Running for Serious Runners and would recommend this book.

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