Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beginning Runner's Handbook

The Beginning Runner's Handbook: The Proven 13-Week Walk-Run Program
© 1999 Ian MacNeill
168 pages

As mentioned prior, I committed myself to an active lifestyle back in late August or early September, and began  a daily habit of exercise, choosing to go for brisk walks in the morning and evening.  I've been increasing the length and intensity of my 'walk-outs' steadily until this week, so my legs have been growing in strength and I'm so filled with energy that I wish to RUN -- but I can't. I've had to cut back a bit on my mileage because of runner's knee: my joints simply aren't ready for the intensity of running. Even so, I keep thinking about it and as a way of preparing myself and running vicariously, I decideded to check out The Beginning Runner's Handbook, a thorough guide that includes a transition plan for walkers to condition themselves into becoming runners.

The Handbook reminded me in part of the Complete Guide to Walking in that it stressed the need for the exercise, the ease of taking up running, and devoted sections to gear, stretches, and so on. However,  its chapter on nutrition is more thorough than the Guide to Walking, and it contains information on common running injuries, their treatment, and their prevention. MacNeill also encourages cross-training, along with strength training, but the Runners' Handbook isn't written as much toward a goal of "total body fitness" as the Guide to the Walking. MacNeill's strength-training exercises mostly target those muscles used in running, and cross-training is introduced as a way to keep active during running rest periods or injuries.  Because running is a more intensive activity than walking,  his schedule reccommends running three times a week and using the other days to rest and cross-training.

Altogether, a strong introduction to the subject. For those interested, I would reccommend both the Complete Guide to Walking and this Handbook: the walking guide is more thorough for fitness overall, but the running handbook is more detailed in nutrition needs and medical care.  Unfortunately, I can't evaluate the program just yet, but it has received high praise on Amazon.

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