Top critical review
Master of the humble brag
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2018
Not all bad. I am currently working on getting back into a running program having taken a couple years off from my last marathon. I have trained using Hal's novice programs in the past with success for 5k, 10k, half and Marathon. This book seems to focus mostly on the basics of running and how to accomplish a marathon for the beginner. There are good reminders and suggestions (though somewhat vague) for how to stay on track with your training and where to start if it feels overwhelming. That being said, I'm not sure that this book gave me enough to accomplish my PR goals. There is too much that is left up to the reader to decide what is right for them, and I am finding it hard to sort through all of the information and what I actually need to be doing. Moral of the book seems to be that there is more than one way to train for a marathon and hard work and perseverance are key. The quotes and opinions of other runners and coaches that Hal mentions seem contradictory and confusing at times. There is very little nutritional advice in this book, and what is there is repetitive.
One think that kind of bothered me about the book is that Hal keeps mentioning his accomplishments and experience in a constant, casual kind of way, like he feels he needs to keep reminding the reader that he is in fact an expert in the field. I wish he would just list the accomplishments at the beginning or end of the book like a CV and move on. If I didn't trust his knowledge, I wouldn't have bought the book. I do agree with the comments that say there is some outdated information and a lot of unnecessary 'fluff'. The book also includes some unnecessary speculation on women's involvement in running, saying that women are running more because it is 'trendy' was a bit condescending. Chapter 15 is unnecessary and sould be removed. Seriously Hal, take it out. It talks mostly about how a woman's period makes it harder for her to train and even implies that women are less competitive than men. There are alternative plans in the chapter for if your delicate and non-competitive female body is unable to handle the rigors of marathon training (note the sarcasm). In my experience, everyone will experience a setback or a bad week at some point in their training, not sure why the women where called out specifically.