Get Running by Matt Roberts


Tom Cottrell had the following to say: As a well salted South African runner one tends to become quite chauvinistic about overseas books on road running. Is it possible that an outsider could have anything of value to say to the inhabitants of Comrades Country? I have to say that Roberts’ book comes as a refreshing and pleasant surprise. The book is easy to read and his training programmes are practical and sensible. And yes, he does have something to say to South African runners.

The style is chatty and Roberts comes across as a young coach who is knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The book is simple and easy to read but the delivery is not simplistic. The technical aspects of running are dealt with in an accessible way and much of what he has to say is very relevant to even the most hardened of Comrades souls. But this book is not written for them alone and his treatment of most aspects is well placed for novice athletes who are unsure of where to begin. Even his ideas on the psychology of running are grounded and real.

Almost half of the book covers training programmes that range from a 5-kilometer race for novices to an ultra-marathon. British and American books often give programmes in miles and this becomes inconvenient when trying to make kilometre conversions. Roberts gets around this by giving all of his training in minutes and hours rather than by distance. Some of his ideas may seem a bit heavy handed when it comes to ultra-marathon training, but his overall philosophy is solid.

The book is richly illustrated throughout and it has a classy feel about it. Overall would I want this book on my shelf? The answer is yes I would. Novice to intermediate runners will find it of great benefit and more experienced runners will enjoy the programmes for a fast marathon and running an ultra.


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