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Book Review
Treadmill Training by Alberto Salazar

Posted by George Parker on
Book Review <br> Treadmill Training by Alberto Salazar

Treadmills are a valuable training tool if you know how to use them. 

Treadmill Training and Workout Guide by Alberto Salazar and Len Sherman elevates treadmills' role in running training. Alberto published this book in partnership with the treadmill manufacturer PRECOR. Alberto famously won the Comrades Ultramarathon after "retiring" from professional running. Plagued by injuries, Alberto used treadmills for many of his training runs to avoid unnecessary impact while fine-tuning paces and gaining cardiovascular fitness. 

This book is not for everyone. But if you are an advocate of treadmill training, its worth checking out. Here's my Book Review for you to evaluate before buying. 

Video Transcript

Okay. We dug into the archives today to get a book on treadmill training. This is Treadmill Training and Workout Guide by Alberto Salazar and Len Sherman. And I literally must've bought this book many years ago, it's been sitting on the bookshelf. And there's a reason why I bought it and I want to talk about that, because before you purchase this book I want you to understand exactly what it is so you can decide if it's worthwhile to you or not. So this book was published in 2000, so 21 years ago. And so that's going to be important as we go through this review. It is about 120 pages long.

You can see as you flip through the pages what it looks like. There's a lot of text, there's some pictures and that's the basic layout of the book. And I would say in general, the organization of this book is a hodgepodge of your typical general fitness running book. There are topics on just basic common fitness things. So you have topics on stretching, on the diets, on a cross-training, on your basic running programs, on what a sample marathon or a 10K program might look like. That's the standard stuff that you get in the book. What is unique about the book is that there are dedicated sections on the title of the book which is treadmill training.

And to step back to give you little bit of reason why I purchased this book and why I think the book was written, is back in the '70s and the early '80s, Alberto Salazar was winning a lot of things, winning a lot of the top marathon road races in the country. And then as he got older, as injury set in things like most athletes eventually start declining. And so he talks about in the book that in the 1984 Olympic Marathon he finished a disappointing 15. And that was the point at which Alberto started saying to himself, "Well, maybe I'm not going to be able to compete at the top level of road races any more than marathon."

And so a lot of people say that that was it, right? They wrote off Alberto, he wasn't going to do anything else. And then he emerged from relative obscurity in 1994, so 10 years later, and he won the Comrades ultramarathon. Which is the 54 mile events, has a history as rich as Boston which happens in South Africa every year. And when people started digging into how he won this race, one of the things that Alberto talked a lot about was because he was so injury prone leading up to the race and had to retire from competitive marathons road racing he started incorporating treadmill running a bunch. For him treadmill running allowed him to run and get the cardiovascular benefit without all the ground and pound that you get by running outside in typical outdoor running.

And so in fact in the book he talks about that there were times when he would be running as much as half of his weekly 120 miles on the treadmill, which let him both ready and healthy. So treadmill running became a very important part to Alberto for those reasons. And I think it became a pretty important part of perhaps some of his training with other athletes as well. But nonetheless he wrote this book, he wrote this book in partnership with Precore which is a popular treadmill manufacturer. It's a treadmill that I own. So I originally purchased the book because I personally I'm a fan of treadmill training. I know a lot of people dread it, but for me I actually think it's pretty effective.

One, for the injury prevention that Alberto talks about. Two, I think it's a great pace setter so it helps when you're setting specific pace goals and using that as a tool to help you achieve those particular paces. And then also for me honestly, there's a lot of convenience with having young kids, having work responsibilities, et cetera having a treadmill helps a lot of having flexibility throughout the day. So I love treadmill training hence I bought the book. That being said I would say in general, unless you are a huge fan of treadmill training and a huge fan of Alberto Salazar, you can probably skip this book.

And I would argue that Precore and the authors of the book probably say the same thing. This to me has the feel of a hastily written ebook. And the reason I say that is because I think when this was published in the early 2000s it was a pretty good book. And a lot of the information that's in the book wasn't readily available. The internet wasn't as ubiquitous as it is today. But I think the reality is a lot of the stretching, a lot of the diets, a lot of the treadmill workouts that you get in the book you can get off the internet today. Or the authors have spoken about in other places, and so there's a lot of other, I would say, better places to get this information than in this book.

That being said, if you are a big fan of treadmill training there is some useful stuff in here. There are some useful techniques and workouts that Alberto has invented that allows you to make treadmill training a little bit less monotonous. As well as allows treadmill training to be a little bit more beneficial into your work stream, into your work life. Sorry into your workout routine. So with that, that's the book. Like I said, pulled it off the archives, off the bookshelf and decided to flip back through it again. And if it's of interest to you, check it out.

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