Invigorating, inspirational, and informative, this guide has everything intermediate runners need to up their game.
Mastering Running, by Cathy Utzschneider, equips runners with the practical science and advice necessary for maintaining the sport at any level. The combined focus on running and aging sets this book apart from others in the genre. Utzschneider began running competitively at age forty, has been coaching others for twenty years, and has won races of many lengths and at multiple levels of competition. As a result, her book exudes the confidence of one who knows what it takes to succeed.
Utzschneider has a clear sense of her audience: people over thirty who want to begin running, run faster, or start running competitively. She refers to this audience as “masters runners”: “Depending on the country, governing body, and event—road, cross country, track, mountain, trail, or ultradistance race—runners usually are considered masters when they reach the age of 30, 35, or 40.”
The content of the book is superbly organized, allowing ideas to build on each other. The first section covers basics like proper form and injury prevention. The second focuses on training in three categories: goal setting, speed, and strength. The third explores training principles for specific events, from a one-mile run to a full marathon. Finally, Utzschneider discusses during-race strategies for competing effectively. The book allows room for everyone, but its advice is most apt for intermediate runners wanting to up their game—and those are the very people who will likely be invigorated rather than intimidated by the idea of reading a whole book on running.
Mastering Running has the right level of detail. Utzschneider covers general topics like stretching and nutrition and explains how to determine how much water to drink while running and the drawbacks and benefits of training on tracks and treadmills. Detailed training schedules aren’t included, but all the principles needed to design a tailored program are here. Additionally, Utzschneider opts for the tried-and-true “check with your doctor” approach rather than delving into specific health concerns like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Photos of stretching and yoga poses bolster the instruction, as do voices from other runners and experts on medicine and training—some in interview form, some as straight exposition.
Utzschneider’s tone and writing are clear, positive, and professional. With Mastering Running, she has provided an empowering and challenging must-read for master runners.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.