Book Review-The Science of Running: How to find your limit and train to maximize your personal performance #allaboutrunning Wednesday Blog Link up!

This post is a part of my #allaboutrunning blog link up.  If you have a running blog, check out the link and join in! 

Running Book Reviews and Recommendations- #allaboutrunning Wednesday Blog Link up

The Science of Running: How to find your limit and train to maximize your personal performance

© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

Author: Steve Magness

ISBN: 978-0615-94294-0

I purchased this book on Amazon. If you use my link I do receive a small compensation. This review was written purely out of interest in the content recommended by another coaching friend. I am in no way affiliated with Steve Magness or any entities tied to this book.

The Science of Runners is written by Steve Magness.  As coach Steve Magness has coached at multiple division 1 school along with working with a handful of professional runners.  Steve Magness worked alongside Alberto Salzaar for a while on the Nike Project as well.  Steve completed his Master degree in Exercise science and has an in depth understanding of the scientific principal of exercising training. You can tell quickly in his book.

Overall this is a content rich book that does take some understanding of the physiological factors of training.  A foundation of biology and chemistry concepts will make reading this book more user friendly.  This book goes more in-depth than the average running book.  Many authors of running content fairly surface level to appeal to a larger audience of readers, Steve goes much more in depth which has some postie and negative.  The book is content rich and references a lot of scientific principals and studies.  However the content can be very dry and read very text book like. Especially the first half.  If you are looking for an easy how-to book for running this probably isn’t what you are looking for.  Magness recognizes that from the start.

The book is separated into two parts.  The first part focusing on the scientific principals while the second part focuses more on a training plan.

Part 1 is the portion that gets into the nitty gritty of science content.  Steve does a great job referencing the limitations of our scientific understandings. He takes a moment to recognize the unknown and every changing limitation to our understandings.  This can cause a disconnect between scientific principals and training practices that are most successful.  Part one contains 13 chapters covering large concepts like gross motors functions all the way down to the microscopic adaptation that occur during training.  Also covering important mental components that occur during racing and that can be training during workouts. Each chapter goes pretty in-depth into the content.

Part 2 is a bit more user friendly for an average runner.  He lays out his plans and how to apply the principal to training.  However, I would say many of these concepts would still be best fit for a runner with a solid training and racing back ground.  With 22 chapters total and the final chapter are all dedicated to application of how to train with physiological factors in mind.

I did a post on Jack Daniels Running Formula and there are some definite similarities but also some key differences.  I believe Jack Daniels book offers more for a variety of abilities.  Jack Daniels plans are also more easy to follow as laid out in his book.  However Magness does a great job of the limitation of training in zones, such as Daniels plans.  Magness looks at the physiological factors as functioning much more on a spectrum.  While Daniels looks at applying limited stress to a specific physiological factor.  Also, Daniels puts a lot of emphasis as VO2 max, while Magness spends a portion of his book arguing against the specific emphasis.

I enjoyed the book overall and look forward to rereading so that I can further absorb some of the more in depth physiological information laid out in the first section. I would recommend this book for science-running nerds, competitive runners and coaches mostly.  While I think it could be a bit content rich and dry for someone looking to read and support more of a casual hobby.

Disclosure; Runcanvas is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites

Published by RunCanvas

Avid Runner, mother, wife and teacher. On a wonderful journey, taking it one mile at a time.

25 thoughts on “Book Review-The Science of Running: How to find your limit and train to maximize your personal performance #allaboutrunning Wednesday Blog Link up!

    1. The key is to start small! My husband swore he was not a runner and now he enjoys it. Follow my page and I will give tips to living an active life!


  1. This is a great summary. I enjoy running but have given up for now as I’m pregnant. I will have to take a look at the book next year when I’m active again!


    1. For sure, I really re-emerged as a runner after my kiddo. It was such a great way to get back in shape and have some me time after the little one


  2. I’m a big runner and reader. I was looking for some inspiration and this the science of running sounds like my next book! Thanks for recommendation!


  3. Very interesting book for people who are interested in running. For me, it’s not really what I would read, unless researching. I like other genres of books.


  4. I love any topics about exercising and glad to learn about the book of Science of running here! Great review and you have also separated into part 1 and 2 section for readers to get a better understanding. Great work.


  5. This seems like a really good book! Running has never come easy for me, but my high school soccer coach taught me breathing tricks to keep from getting side stitches. I haven’t run in years, so this is super helpful!


  6. I am sure this book is very helpful for someone who enjoys running. I hate it though, been planning for a really long time to start but unable to find time.


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