Run with the Champions: Book Review

Written by: Joe Bosshard

Run with the Champions: Book Review
Run with the Champions Book Cover Run with the Champions
Marc Bloom
Sports & Recreation
Rodale Books
April 21, 2001

In Run with the Champions, award-winning running writer Marc Bloom feeds the voracious appetite of America's growing running population in two ways: by creating a unique system to objectively rank the nation's top 25 male and top 25 female runners of all time, and by revealing their little-known training secrets and strategies, from what they ate to how they trained for their biggest victories. Any average runner can benefit from the insights and advice offered by running legends like Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, Joan Samuelson, and Lynn Jennings. The rankings themselves are expected to create a buzz in the large running community, and the affiliation with Runner's World--the world's leading authority on running--will ensure credibility. This comprehensive book is at once an exciting compendium on elite runners and a terrific training manual.

Run with the Champions: Book Review

This is a must own book for any serious runner.  Marc Bloom ranks 50 runners. The top 30 men and the top 20 women.  Whether you agree on his list or not, that is not the point of the book. The book was written in 2001 so it’s obviously missing anyone since then.  This book is filled with inside information on some of America’s greatest distance runners.  Each runner has 4-5 pages dedicated to them. There is a brief bio and story on each athlete.  Each runner has a page with a brief look at certain workouts, a week or two of training, or a philosophy the runner had towards training.

You can compare a snapshot of Bill Rodger’s training vs. Frank Shorter vs. Bob Kennedy.  For instance, Rodgers relied on a steady diet of very high mileage (over 160 mpw at times) and few intervals.  Shorter trained at high altitude much of his career and used short fast intervals as well as high mileage to become one of America’s greatest marathoners.  Kennedy didn’t do nearly the volume that the two marathon runners did, but he had incredibly intense track workouts, while maintaining 100 miles per week.

Other runners include Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Joan Samuelson, PattiSue Plumer, and Mary Slaney.

There isn’t enough information in here to really devise an entire training program, but understanding what elite runners did and how they approached training can be useful. At the very least it’s entertaining.

This is a book that you will likely come back to a few times per year and flip through.

It would be great if this book was re-published including runners from the last 15 years, especially on the women’s side.

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Joe is a former University of Colorado runner with a penchant for numbers and filing tax returns. He started run2run as a distraction while studying for CPA exams.

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