"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Friday, December 11, 2009

The critic emerges: cookbooks and marathon training schedules

Chefs divide among cooks and bakers; almost no one does both well. Cooks know how to find ingredients at their best, how to prepare them to bring out all their qualities and how to mix them so that they're balanced and complementary. Bakers use the same four ingredients and make a bewildering array of goods from them, using science and cunning. I bake - and I don't do the whole pastry chef royal icing rosettes thing, because I don't need to. Interesting (to me, at least) is that the best chefs don't usually write good cookbooks; those are left to adequate cooks with a talent for explanation. I whittle my cookbook collection continuously, but the classics remain: The Joy of Cooking (Rombauer), Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Child), How to Cook Everything (Bittman); none of these would be considered a great chef, but they have a knack for explanation.

I'm glad to say that another classic has been made available: Ginette Mathiot's "I Know How to Cook" has been translated - and adjusted - by Clotilde Dusoulier. She also has a blog worth visiting: Chocolate and Zucchini. And she's bound to eventually have her own TV show - she's "easy on the eyes."
I've been seeing a lot of bloggers making plans for running marathons next year and they all have one thing in common: they're using a schedule they found on the internet or in a book. I'm thinking of writing a post evaluating the different plans and explaining how to write one's own. Would anyone be interested (and if so, what plan have you used)? So far, I've got Higdon's, Galloway's, Running Times, NYRRC, Daniels' and Pfitzinger's (plus a few that are harder to find).


Colin Gardner-Springer said...

It's interesting that almost every running book I've read says "these are sample plans, don't blindly follow them but rather rely on the principles outlined in the rest of this book". But of course it's much easier to just follow the plans, which is what most of us do.

I've been influenced by Daniels, Pfitzinger, Lydiard/Daws, and Hudson's books -- for Daniels and Pfitzinger it's interesting to note the subtle differences between their first and second editions. For my spring marathon I'm planning to incorporate some of Hudson's ideas from "Run Faster"; I like the fact that he seems to emphasize individualized, adaptive training. He probably should have left out the training schedules completely (but I doubt any publisher would allow that these days).

Hope your running picks up soon!

Oh and BTW check out the Sweetheart 10 mile run on 2/13 -- only $10 if you register before 12/31!

GeorgiaSnail said...

I have drafted my own program for a March marathon; I would love to get your opinion. If I sent it to you would you check it out?

Matthew Patten said...

My 3 best marathons were without a hardcore plan. Mostly just running hard, then not, and backing off when I felt like it.

My 3 worst I followed a plan to the "T".


joyRuN said...

I'd be definitely interested in a comparison of marathon training approaches.

I'm debating between 3 options at this point: FIRST, Brain Training, or just winging it.

SteveQ said...

@joyRun: I have to look up FIRST!

@Matt - my best marathons also didn't have a plan, but also had a 2 min./mile fade at the end and were done before I turned 22.

@Colin: One of my most treasured moments was when Daws was detailing his plans, I made a rude comment and he called me a SOB. I've never seen the 1st edition of Daniels and not sure which of Pfitz's I know; the changes in Galloway's and in Bob Glover's books were telling, though.

@Georgia Snail: I hope, with what I write, that I won't need to.