Anatomy, Stretching & Training for Marathoners

Striano, Dr. Philip and Lisa Purcell. Anatomy, Stretching & Training for Marathoners: a step by step guide to getting the most from your running workout. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2013.

This was a weird book for me. The goal of the book seems to be of two minds: either getting you fit enough to run a marathon (minus the cardiovascular endurance piece) or supplementing the idea that running is a good exercise for losing weight. The focal point of the book is strengthening and stretching key muscles that are used while running. Beyond that, there is very little about running aside from what to wear and where to run. The mechanics of running are largely ignored. But, to be fair, thrown in is a strange sample marathon training schedule. I’ll get to my comment on the training schedule later. But for now let’s focus on the good news.
There were a bunch of things to like about Anatomy, Stretching and Training. For starters, the overall layout of information is comprehensive and intuitive. I appreciated that the illustrations highlight the key muscles affected by the stretch or training move while the photograph of the individual doing the same thing highlights proper form. The anatomy information was, by far, the most informative aspect of the book. A neat little feature, one I’m sure everyone makes a beeline to find, is the stretching and strength training routines at the end.

Now for the bad news:

  • Page 9 – The last time I checked, a marathon is 26.2 MILES. In the introduction the last sentence is, “Take the time to learn how to run right, using the guidelines found in the following pages, and you’ll soon be entering that 26K.” Assuming that the “K” in that sentence is kilometers a 26K is the equivalent of 16.16 miles.
  • Yes, 16 miles is an impressive distance to run but it’s not a marathon.

  • Page 10 – I don’t know how they measure calories but I’ve never heard of a running program that burns 100 calories in an hour. As a 114 lb woman I burn approximately 100 calories for every mile I run. Maybe they meant mile instead of hour? That would make more sense.
  • Page 17 – I have looked at many different training plans for running marathons and they all agree on one thing – tapering mileage before a race. The sample marathon training plan supplied for Anatomy calls for a 20 mile run the day before running the marathon. Is that normal? To be fair, it might be a typo. It’s the only day that doesn’t actually have the word “run” after the mile distance. It just says “20-miles.” The question is 20-miles what?
  • I think the authors resorted to referring to yoga when they didn’t know what to call a certain stretch (like the back stretch = cobra). This causes confusion in regards to the high lunge/low forward lunge. For practitioners of yoga, a high lunge is done without either knee touching the ground, whereas a low lunge has the placement of the back knee of the ground.(p 86-87).
  • Some detail information is not consistent. Some exercises have times regarding how long to hold a move and/or how reps. For example, the standing quad stretch is to be held for 15 seconds at a time and repeated three times. The very next exercise, the sprinter’s stretch, doesn’t have that information. It would have been nice to see some consistency.


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