Mark Wetmore, head track coach at the University of Colorado, once said of Michael Sandrock, “What Hemingway was for the bullfight, Rock is for the running race. No one writes about this sport as well.” What Sandrock does so well is open a door to running and usher us through, introducing the reader along the way to the best distance runners and coaches of our time.

His second book, Running Tough (Human Kinetics, 2001), is a handbook for runners who want to train hard and see results. The first six chapters cover different kinds of workouts: long runs, fartlek, intervals, hill workouts, tempo runs, etc. Sandrock briefly introduces the concepts in each chapter and then provides numerous examples—75 different workouts in total—from such noted legends of running as Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Katherine Switzer, Arthur Lydiard and Emil Zatopek. Chapter 7 covers recovery. And the final chapter explores building a training program from these many pieces. In less than 200 pages, Sandrock lays out a detailed and practical handbook for runners of any ability to take control of their training and work with clear purpose and understanding. Ultimately, this is a book runners can go back to and find variety where their familiar runs have gone stale. Also mixed in are inspirational stories from some of the key figures providing workouts.

“Be patient,” Sandrock writes in the Preface, “have a realistic plan, look long term, and let yourself recover from the workouts, no matter how long it takes at first.” Provided in Running Tough are all the components needed to be successful. But it’s not a cookbook. Workouts should not be plucked at random like recipes. Rather, it should be digested as a whole. How to structure a training week so that tempo run, track workout, and long run all work together is just as important as the variety of long runs presented. In running, success is achieved through hard work and smart training. If you’re ready, let Running Tough be your guide.


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