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Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running: The Best Advice to Get Started, Stay Motivated, Lose Weight, Run Injury-Free, Be Safe, and Train for Any Distance

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Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running is designed specifically to address the unique challenges and rewards the sport presents to the fastest growing segment of the market—women runners.

More than 10 million women across the country now identify themselves as regular runners. In response to the dramatic increase in the number of women in the sport, Dagny Scott Barrios and the experts at Runner's World have created this singular guide, where women will discover how

• train for any race, from a 5K to a marathon
• eat nutritiously and for maximum energy
• lose weight permanently
• deal with self-consciousness and body image
• run during pregnancy and through menopause
• choose the best clothes and accessories
• run anywhere safely
• prevent and treat injuries, especially those that women are most likely to encounter

With clear photographs, running sidebars, and testimonials from women runners of all ages and abilities, this comprehensive resource provides the most current practical advice available anywhere for women runners of all levels.

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 19, 2000

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About the author

Dagny Scott Barrios

10 books4 followers
Dagny Scott Barrios is a writer, editor, and public speaker specializing in running and women's sports.

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5 stars
370 (23%)
4 stars
627 (39%)
3 stars
480 (30%)
2 stars
81 (5%)
1 star
31 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 154 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer Hudak.
119 reviews3 followers
August 16, 2015
I'm currently training for a couple of longer races, so I'm trying to get lots of information about race nutrition, training plans, etc. This was certainly a comprehensive book for women runners, and I learned a good amount. There seems to be a bit of a gap, though, in the plans they outline. It seems as though they think you're either a real, raw beginner -- completely new to running -- or else you're trying to run consistent 6- or 7-minute miles. So the training plans they give for, say, half-marathons, all assume you're trying to win or place in your age group. I have been running (and racing) for a couple of years now, but I am NOT a fast runner, and I doubt I ever will be. I'm in training for longer races, but my goal is simply to finish, injury-free. I don't feel as though this book was written for a runner like me, and there were a couple of passages that were even a little insulting (for example, one runner says that she feels like she's been "plodding along" at 9'50" per mile and is feeling a bit down on herself -- whereas for me, that pace is a real achievement!)

I also wish I had learned some more useful tips about race nutrition. The author is really a big believer in "a bagel and a banana" and that's sort of the extent of what she recommends for running days. There's a section on energy gels/drinks -- and how they may or may not be palatable -- but there are no suggestions for "real" food alternatives during a race.

All that being said, however, there is a LOT of information in this book, and I did flag many pages to look at again as I continue my training.
8 reviews
December 24, 2009
Keeping in tune and studying something that you love to do so much definitely benefits your attitude about the subject. Occasionally, I get sour about going out and hitting the pavement, especially when it's raining and nasty outside. But after reading a few pages and nodding the entire time in agreement with what the author is saying about running just affirms your passion for it.

I would recommend this book for runners of ANY level, not just beginners.
Profile Image for Colleen ~.
26 reviews
January 2, 2021
I feel like there is a lot in this book that is over 10 years outdated....it really was not up to date with the latest science re: running form, injury prevention, and nutrition (which is what I was looking for)
Profile Image for Emily Webb.
85 reviews2 followers
January 19, 2019
Really helpful, great read. I'm not going to follow her training plan exactly, but would recommend the book!
Profile Image for Elisabeth.
54 reviews7 followers
October 14, 2009
Excellent book for beginning runners like myself - it covered just about every running-related topic I could possibly want to read about, and it did so in a very practical, straightforward manner that was easy to read and not annoyingly over-enthusiastic. The book has served as great motivation for me as my excitement about running has begun to taper off since I've started grad school. Lots of great advice about training, stretching, nutrition, and running in different ages and stages of life - I'll keep this one to refer back to as I progress in the sport.
Profile Image for Tara.
9 reviews
July 15, 2009
As a beginning runner, I found this book to be incredibly informative, helpful, and motivating. Not having a background in running, I found that the language was easily to follow, concepts were well explained, and I took away many helpful tips to strengthen my future as a runner. In addition to this, the book is full of personal stories from women runners that provided inspiration and motivation for me along the way.
Profile Image for Keri.
74 reviews12 followers
January 15, 2015
For a book with more information than really applied to me, I still read it cover to cover. Even the training plans that I won't be ready for for awhile. But it's inspiring to read the personal anecdotes from amateur as well as professional runners, including the author.

For information for young women to older women, this is a pretty handy go-to. My only complaint is that some of the exercise descriptions were a bit confusing, but the pictures helped.
Profile Image for Shawn.
43 reviews
June 19, 2013
Research in preparation for my first half. I agree with another reviewer that there are some gaps in the programs. How do you go from a newbie to intermediate trying to break 40 minutes in a 10K? I kept thinking that was a typo, but the same phrase showed up in other parts of the book as well. I may be wrong, but sub-7 minute miles is not realistic for an intermediate...
Profile Image for Jelena.
19 reviews
July 4, 2017
If you are a complete newbie to running, this book will definitely be helpful as it collects all the most commonly asked questions in one place and answers them in a way that every beginner would understand.
In sum it's just a comprehensive collection of information that one usually finds in a women's magazine. If you have been running for a while or have some knowledge on running, the book is not very helpful as it offers no scientific information or other in-depth data.
But if you are looking for a practical everyday guide on issues every runner is concerned about like proper warmup and cool down, stretching, weight training, diet, safety, training log, running gear etc this book will give some useful go-to and easy to implement recommendations.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
145 reviews11 followers
February 21, 2018
I bought this as a reward for myself sometime last year in terms of meeting my running goals. I was pretty disappointed. Browsing through it in the store I thought it would be helpful as I started to enroll in more races.

Like most other people, once I got to the line "plodding along at a 9 minute mile", I put the book down and never finished it. There is a strange gap of this is for the extremely new beginner to running, and then we speed straight off to breaking time records. Her programs were way too intense and I used absolutely none of them (for the record, I ran the Dopey Challenge at Disney - 48.6 miles - just fine on my own).

I'm going to end up putting this on paperbackswap because I really just have no need for this book in the future.
Profile Image for Grazyna Nawrocka.
449 reviews1 follower
February 23, 2018
Quite unexpectedly I fell in love with trail running. I tried to make it on my own, and three times suffered injuries, because I pushed myself too hard. This time I am following a simple program offered by the author. It takes six weeks to be able to run for 30 minutes, but is doable and easy to follow. This book will be a reference for me for a long time, but I haven't read it all. Many parts are still irrelevant to me, like for example marathon running. I enjoy following routines and learning more about how to find good shoes, dress up for different conditions and avoid dehydration. I'd recommend this book to any couch potato who want to become more active.
Profile Image for Maryanne Wilson.
31 reviews1 follower
November 5, 2019
Unlike some of the other running books, this did touch on some "specific to women" issues (including clothing, pregancy, menopause, etc).
I've read another super-great-for-beginners book and it said many of the same things.
If I'd been reading the information for the first time, the book would have provided me ALOT of useful information. Since I'd already covered that in the other book, this one served more to reinforce what I read there (never a bad thing to have reinforcement!)
25 reviews
September 27, 2022
A comfortable, inspiring book about running for the average woman. It discusses positive impact this sport and lifestyle can have for a woman, challenges and changes they face throughout life, a healthy diet for runners, illustrated descriptions of stretching and weight-training to complement running, healthy body image, and much more. I think my personal library needs a copy of this.
Profile Image for Michelle.
332 reviews11 followers
July 7, 2023
Interesting book with a lot of information! I was very tickled that some of the information (not the super important stuff - mostly stuff like prices.. this was written over a decade ago) was a bit dated. I particularly liked the various training plans for half-marathons and marathons. There was a bunch of great information regarding running in youth, middle, and old age.
13 reviews2 followers
June 29, 2017
Excellent resource for beginners; much of the information presented is practical and would alleviate anxiety of a woman new to running.

Some of the tips I disagree with...mainly the suggestion that cotton tees are fine for most runs. What?! Get a moisture-wicking tee and you will feel so much better during and after your run.
Profile Image for Theenemytoad.
74 reviews
August 28, 2019
Comprehensive. I've been a casual runner for at least 15 years and I learned a few things (I skipped the marathon training session). The biggest takeaways for me personally were 1) wear the right shoes and 2) maybe I need to rethink what I'm eating pre-run (fruit & nuts vs. simple carbohydrates).
Profile Image for Tammy.
28 reviews
November 12, 2019
This was a good overview of running for beginners. I liked reading about the author's own experience with running and wanted to know more about her own story. The tips and technical advice was okay but can easily be found in other blogs and articles about running.
420 reviews
February 14, 2020
Really motivates me to run......I may not run a marathon but I can run with minimal injuries following the knowledge I read about in this book. I am looking forward to progressing my running to better th lose weight and keep fit and healthy.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
5 reviews3 followers
April 17, 2018
I really enjoy this book. I say "enjoy" due to referring to it over and over. A great resource for runners of every skill level.
Profile Image for Katie Newton.
27 reviews
May 7, 2018
Great source of information--had what I was looking for as a person who can run comfortably and is looking to run more.
January 8, 2019
Every year i start with this book to get my running skills up. Easy to take to the road or on a treadmill. If you ever wanna start running this is the book for you.
Profile Image for Jessica.
674 reviews6 followers
January 24, 2019
Found helpful tidbits of information, but feel this book is definitely for a beginner runner just getting started.
Profile Image for Jeanie.
242 reviews1 follower
October 1, 2019
Excellent book. Good examples for stretching and strength exercises. I'm getting back into running and this book was very professional and not so full of experiences by the author.
Profile Image for Melissa.
146 reviews14 followers
December 31, 2020
Very good well rounded book. I have many sticky tabs and bookmarks in this one!!
4 reviews
January 7, 2022
I read this book every year and every year I find more good advise and tips. As a 50plus runners this book supports all of me
Profile Image for Hannah.
120 reviews6 followers
December 30, 2011
What I like about this book is that it is strangely comforting. I already have 8 books listed on my "Curently Reading" shelf, but always have a couple extra that I keep around and pick up at random without adhering to reading with a specified approach. This is one of those radom "floating" books. Once it became clear I was reaching for it more often than expected, I found it needed to be added to the online list.

I originally started skimming this book to get a quick general overview, a few other opinions on training approach and mindset, etc. I truly don't think the running information is all that extraordinary, but I've oddly found that I reach for it as a comfort. Somehow the writing she includes identifying running as the emotional ribbon that ties her life together and gives meaning to her person has a very familiar ring. She includes most of this writing in the "Training Log" boxes. I am not an overly emotional person. (I generally hate sappy books and romances, and feel that over attention to emotion in books is usually completely beside the point and is over used as a crutch or a way to fill pages and rope in uncommitted readers, etc. Agree or disagree, that's what I typically feel). While I am not an overly emotional person in what I chose to read, I have found these litle "Training Log" boxes speak to me on a level I never would have expected from a run-of-the-mill soft cover book from Runner's World.

The little "Training Log" slices have identified why I feel oddly drawn to doing this. They have put words to why running isn't important due to all the established physiological benefits of exercise or even all the pride you may feel after running a personal best. Running is important because you walk through the store in the afternoon differently after running 10 miles that morning. You conduct yourself differently due to a change in your mentality, not due to physical soreness. Running that 10 miles forces you to build something small that has evolved in your brain. You think and feel and move differently knowing that you did something no one needs know about to see the change in your demeanor. It re-routes your thoughts into a loop based on the clear evidence that you accomplish things the great majority of people would be slightly horrified to consider. This rebuilds you from the base.

I will continue reading through the "Training Log" boxes to cement the idea that I am not alone, and that the day I fist self-identified as a "Runner" in conversation was one my life's best moments of self-realization.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,018 reviews2 followers
July 12, 2013
First off I have to say this is a great book to anyone who is beginning their running experience. It's even valuable for the seasoned runner who wants to shave time off of their 10k-5k race time, or just train to run longer. I love the training schedules that Dagny provides in this book. She has beginner all the way to advance, and marathon training...very helpful. Anything you want to know to make your running experience safer, more pleasant, and more efficient, this is the book to turn to. What I had a hard time with is that in the beginning she reassures us that she is just an average runner, that she is just like me (my interpretation...plunky runner who plods along at a 9min/mile average pace...or easily more on longer runs). She talks about how genetics play in role in running...some people are born fast, some struggle. Some people are naturally thin whereas others have to really work at it. Well read a few pages more, and I find out she has been running since the age of 9, and is pretty quick with her speed. She has never been over weight (she attributes it to her many years of running), but her mom was thin her whole life, but her dad was a bit overweight...hmmm that sounds like good genes to me. I do not have a problem with any of this at all, but what bothers me is that I feel like she should own the fact that that she does indeed have good genetics, and was born to run fast and strong instead of hiding behind the average label to make us truly average people feel better. I would have read her book regardless. It's a minor complaint, and not the theme of the book by any means. It just stuck out to me for some reason. Anyway, a great book if you want good training regiments, advise, information. I recommend it.
Profile Image for Ashley.
1,010 reviews
July 26, 2010
A great book - I've always wanted to be a runner, but never really knew how to start. I downloaded a C25k (couch to 5k) podcast which helped me get started gradually, but as far as the more technical aspects, I was clueless. What's the proper form? Does stretching really matter? Is running too high-impact? (Answers: it depends, yes, and not typically).

This was a great book for both beginners and even more advanced runners; the chapters were thorough yet concise, and were filled with nothing but practical info. I especially liked that the author was so unpretentious - she covered everything from why women have to pee so much when they run to dealing with common injuries and choosing good running shoes, to staying motivated. She's an advocate of listening to your body, and allowing it to dictate things like whether you should drink water while running or not (my husband and I got into an argument about this - he thinks it's silly to take water on shorter runs; I begged to differ).

I have to admit I didn't finish all the relevant sections I intended to (I skipped the chapter on running while pregnant, running through menopause, and a few others). Once it cools off here (it's not been under 90* here in over a month), I imagine I'll pick this one up again to read the rest of it.
Profile Image for Crizzle.
881 reviews6 followers
January 30, 2015
A comprehensive guide to running... I would say great for beginners and more competitive runners. There is good wisdom and motivation for runners at all levels, and I can't wait to share some with my running buddies! As a long-time recreational runner, there were a lot of great tips for me, and things that I remember learning in high school track and cross country but have since forgotten. And I'm all pumped to get running!

I just learned that women runners will go through menopause earlier! But symptoms are lessened.
I also got insight on how some can run for such incredible amounts of time... They have to start snacking as they run! Wow... And competitive runners do more than one run a day, like a morning and evening one.
I appreciate the emphasis on rest days, and learned that you should do your last big run a week or two before your race and take it easy then... Your body needs that time to get stronger, "repairing muscle damage,topping off your fuel tank, and boosting your energy".
I rediscovered the great word " fartleks" and the need to incorporate drills into my training for my muscles... All that stuff my coaches had us do were good for something! Ooh, and pool running... Totally doing it more this summer.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 154 reviews

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