Hello everyone!  Today, I thought I would write a review about the running book, The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition by Matt Fitzgerald, that I mentioned a few posts ago.  There seemed to be some interest in it, and I really enjoyed this book so I'm hoping you'll enjoy a little more information about it.  Of course, all of these views and opinions are entirely my own, and I was definitely not compensated for this!
What It's All About/Layout

As the title of the book suggests, the book's focus is on the nutritional aspect of running - how to fuel for optimal performance.  And this book covers it all: fueling during training, during the taper period (one to two weeks before the race), the night before the race, the morning before the race, the 30 minutes before the race, the race/run itself, and post-running.  Fitzgerald focuses mainly on food, supplements, gels, sports drinks, and a few other nutritional "tips" such as how to enhance sleeping the night before a big race.  While the main focus is nutrition, there is a small section on pacing, a few section on achieving and maintaining your "ideal racing weight", including what he believes to be a good, balanced diet, and a section on how to best train for "the wall" as well as training plans for the half marathon and full marathon.  Included are a total of six plans, three different levels for each type of marathon.  


Information Sources

One of the great things about this book, is that most recommendations are based on actual experiments and studies.  There is also, of course, stories of personal experience and the experiences of other elite runners, but for the most part, Fitzgerald sticks to the science.  When their are controversies on a specific topic, he usually explains both sides before giving his personal recommendation.


What I Like

Being a science major, I greatly appreciated that in many cases, Fitzgerald explains the science (at least to some extent) behind why he recommends a certain technique.  For example, he explains that fat loading increases the body's reliance on fat as a fuel thus decreasing its reliance on glycerin as fuel source.  This slows the depletion of glycerin stores while running.  Specifics like that make me much more inclined to  actually take his advice that if he had just said "fat loading will you give you more energy on race day."

Along similar lines of being specific, I like that Fitzgerald gives specific foods that he suggests will enhance running performance, including "top meal ideas and recipes for runners."  He also provides a few specific one day meal plan examples for fat loading and carb loading during the taper period.  Also, instead of just saying something like "you need lots of carbs," he gives numbers in the form of x grams of carbs/kg of body weight for different periods in the training/racing process.

Fitzgerald also does a good job about giving you options.  He understands that different bodies are, well, different and that what works for one person won't necessarily work for everyone.  To give an example, he provided five different methods for nutrition during running, each some combination of water, sports drink, and gels (from one extreme - using all three - to the next extreme - using none of the three).

Finally, I think Fitzgerald does a great job explaining the different components of the training plans.  He doesn't expect you to just know what a tempo run is for example (which is a good thing because, being new to running, I had no clue what it was!).  When I first glanced at the training plans, I was lost, but after reading his explanations, not only did I understand what the different runs were but also why they were beneficial to enhancing running performance.


What I Don't Like

There's really not too much about this book that I didn't like.  I mean, not every tip is all-natural or anything, but that's not the focus of the book.  The focus is providing ways to boost running performance, and that's exactly what was provided.  

Really the only thing about this book that I would have to say I wasn't too fond of was that in the reaching your "ideal running weight" section and when Fitzgerald talks about getting into shape after a race, it seems as if he assumes that you're currently overweight or that you will definitely gain weight in the period following a race (I could be wrong about these two things, but it was my interpretation).  Thus he offers a number of weight loss suggestions.  I personally have absolutely no need or desire to lose any weight, and I think assuming that the reader does have that need is not at all necessary.  I find this type of thing in a lot of fitness and health books actually, which drives me crazy.  Some of us want to exercise and eat healthy simply because it makes us feel good, we enjoy it, and we want to treat our bodies well.  Health and fitness isn't just about losing weight!  Okay, rant over.


Conclusion

Overall, I learned a ton from this book and can't wait to implement a lot of Fitzgerald's suggestions in my own training.  I definitely recommend this book if you're looking to boost your running performance, are preparing for a race, or simply want an interesting read about running!

Have a great weekend everyone!  I've been trying several new recipes from around the blogworld lately and can't wait to show them to you guys this WIAW!
 


Comments

08/10/2013 10:43

LOVE your book reviews! I need to read this one :)

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Alex
08/13/2013 13:26

I definitely enjoyed it! Hope you do too if you read it. :)

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08/10/2013 10:53

To be honest, I've never read fitness-nutrition books before, but thank you for sharing this review...it was pretty interesting...at first I thought I wouldn't be interested. And I would also be turned off if a book mentions about weight loss tips/suggestions because you don't need to as long as you're still in training and running often. And your'e right, health and fitness isn't just about losing weight!! It is about enjoying good and healthy food, and staying as healthy & strong as possible. Interesting about the five different methods for nutrition during running...I never knew that. :)

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Alex
08/13/2013 13:33

I'm glad that you agree that health+fitness is more than just trying to lose weight! I like being healthy because I genuinely feel better, and I want to treat my body well and hopefully avoid future health issues. Health can be a desire just as much as a need! :)

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08/10/2013 11:38

Okay Alex, I just found an Amazon gift card that I forgot I had, so I ordered this book! I've been wanting to read it since you first mentioned it so here I gooo! Love your little review! I'm excited to read it soon!

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Alex
08/13/2013 13:35

Oh yay! I hope you enjoy it! I have an Amazon gift card that I need to use too and am still contemplating on what to buy...

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08/10/2013 15:22

That book sounds great! Your review was so in-depth, I really enjoyed it. I will have to get that book when I decide to run a half marathon. Would it be helpful for running shorter distances or not so much?

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Alex
08/13/2013 13:38

It's definitely geared to longer distance and running at least one hour or more, so probably not so much unfortunately. I'm sure there would still be some helpful information in it for you, but it might be worth waiting. Definitely consider it when you run a half though! :)

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08/11/2013 04:48

Thanks for such a descriptive and informative review! I really find many health and fitness books off putting when they fail to back up stated facts, but the fact that this one did- definitely a plus in my book! It'll be great to see how you incorporate parts of it in your training plan and see any differences :)

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Alex
08/13/2013 13:41

Yeah I'm never too inclined to actually take information unless there's a reason for it. I like to know the how and why! And I'm excited to see if I notice any differences too! If I can cross the finish line during the half, I will consider it a success haha. ;)

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08/11/2013 05:23

Very thorough & insightful, review, Alex- thanks :)! It sounds like a great read and even though I'm not training for a race in particular, it's always handy to be aware of certain pointers which could help boost my performance...will have to check if my local library keeps a copy!

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Alex
08/13/2013 13:47

That's a great idea to check it out at the library first! I honestly always forget that there are libraries... there are a lot of books that I just read once, and I would probably save a lot of money if I remembered libraries lol!

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Great review...while I'm not a marathoner, I love reading all books nutrition-related and I was contemplating this one. Now hearing it is science based, very important, this will likely be my next read. Thanks :)

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Alex
08/13/2013 13:48

I love reading nutrition books too! There's always something new to learn in them. :)

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08/11/2013 20:36

That book sounds super interesting! I was training for a half and this would have been totally relevant until my IT band started acting up again grrr. May check to see if it's in the library anyway. Thanks Alex!

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Alex
08/13/2013 14:50

Awe I'm so sorry about you IT band. :( I hope it gets better so that you can get back to training for your half!

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08/12/2013 07:33

I wish I'd seen this book when I ran a half last year! I really didn't know exactly what to do in terms of eating!

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Alex
08/13/2013 14:52

I wasn't sure either which is why I decided to get this book! I especially wasn't sure about fueling right before/during the half so this book has definitely helped with that!

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08/12/2013 13:42

Thank you for this post! I'm early in my training for my first half and have no idea how I should be eating. I've just been eating the same but a little cleaner. I might have to pick up this book!

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Alex
08/13/2013 14:54

That's kind of what I'm doing in terms of eating too! Some other bloggers have mentioned picking this book up at the library so you could always do that first!

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08/13/2013 10:03

Great review! I'd love to run a marathon one day. I'm starting with the half in the fall. :)

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Alex
08/13/2013 14:56

Yay, good luck on your half! It's so exciting, isn't it?! I'd love to run a marathon someday too... we'll see how the half goes first though. ;-)

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Sounds like a really interesting book! I'm just getting into running and I often think about how what I eat is effecting my performance. Thanks for the review!

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01/13/2015 05:37

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