I started Run Fast: How to beat your best time Every Time by Hal Higdon over a month ago (right after I finished Marathoning For Mortals(), but I kept getting distracted by other things and have just now finished it. I liked it; this book has a lot of basics that somebody new to running or that has had a lay off for quite a while could benefit from.

Anybody who has not had a formal competitive coach could really benefit from reading this book. There are a lot of basics, and it does a great job of explaining the running jargon and where it came from without overwhelming the reader. There are a lot of good tips on stretching, different types of workouts, pacing yourself, developing a good workout schedule to train for different races between the 5k and the marathon, and helps new runners learn what they need to do to run their first race.

Even though I have a good idea what I am doing and have had a few different coaches, I found a few good tips in there that have either fallen by the wayside or that I had never had relayed to me. I especially enjoyed the stories that told about how different coaches and athletes used types of training to get themselves ready for specific events and to break certain records.

One chapter I did not wholly agree with was the weight lifting. There are some good basic exercises in there, but I don’t like his analysis of free weights versus lifting machines. He thinks that lifting machines are safer than free weights, and I believe the opposite. This is not really the place to discuss those differences; suffice it to say that anybody new to weight lifting should join a gym and take an introductory class on how to use all of the different equipment no matter what type of workout they want to do.

The chapters are an easy read, and it is easy to read a bit and then set the book down for a few days (weeks) and come back where you left off without being any the worse for wear. It is easy to skip around through the book as well. The table of contents and index are both useful for that and the few things that I checked seemed accurate enough.