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Publisher's Summary

What will it take to run a marathon in less than two hours? The world's fastest times for the marathon have been dropping since the distance of 26.2 miles was made official nearly 100 years ago. But after a noticeable decline that occurred for a half century, the times, while still edging lower, have stalled several minutes north of two hours for the past decade.

For the first time, 1:59 examines what it will take for an elite distance runner to go subtwo hours. It will require more than raw talent, optimal body size, and great athletic genes. In order to become marathon's Roger Bannister and smash this elusive record, this runner must follow a healthy diet and an individualized training regimen that takes advantage of specific environmental factors ("live high, train low"). Because precious seconds count over each mile run, other critical considerations include improved running form and economy, sharpened mental focus, and wearing the right type of racing flats (or even going barefoot).

The athlete who finally breaks distance running's most tantalizing barrier will become a worldwide celebrity overnight. Will the runner be a Kenyan, an Ethiopian, an American, or a marathoner from another country? And how soon will it happen?

By providing a unique window into the highly competitive world of elite marathon running, this book also allows running enthusiasts to have a thorough understanding of the true potential of endurance athletes. And in turn, they can apply the same training and racing principles discussed in 1:59 to their own running, whether it's a 10K, half marathon, marathon, or ultramarathon.

©2014 Philip Maffetone (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about 1:59

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

All things Maffetone in a tidy package.

In providing his insight into the possibility of a one hour and 59 minute marathon, Dr. Maffetone gives you some great training advice. This is not only a great book for those wanting to learn about elite marathoners, it is also a great book for those of us who just want to run faster.

3 people found this helpful

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This is the book you read after Born to Run.

If you haven't listened or read Born to Run by Christopher McD, listen or read that book for listening to this. he does a great job of illustrating how and when a sub two hour marathon will happen, and it is actually really fun to listen and learn from him. I recommend this book to all runners.

2 people found this helpful

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Thought-provoking, instructive, entertaining

Phill is among the prophets and sages of endurance sports. You can't get within 30 feet of him without learning some insight.

2 people found this helpful

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Great info, but a little dry & geeky...

Worthwhile info. Lots of running science. Endurance geeks will love it. Lots of good tips, too.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Book and information source

Good book, worth the read.
I enjoyed the information shared by the author, I'm glad I read it early in my running passion.

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Typical Marathon Training Advice / Science

The book was okay. I probably would have enjoyed more if it was one of the first marathon science or training books I’d read. It was about 75% of the prototypical training advice you’d get in every marathon book capped with “the sub 2 marathoner will surely follow [insert marathon best practice here]”. Was hoping for more focus on 1:59, human physiology caps, breakthroughs, etc versus generic nutrition and running shoe discussion. Again, the science and content were good, just not in line with expectation of title

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Excellent content

excellent content specific for the sub 2 hour marathon. Many aspects can translate into other physical activities and general health.

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Great to listen while running...

second time listening to it and will also read it... Love this book... Wealth of information and inspiring... Thank you Dr. Maffetone...

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Some training tidbits, but focus is 1:59

I purchased this hoping to get quite a bit of training information from the legendary Phil Maffetone. This book is definitely focused on who and how someone might achieve the 1:59 marathon. While it had some nuggets for the a average age group runner, there were overall pretty scarce, and they weren't consolidated into a few sections that would make it easier to obtain them. It would be tough to go back into the book and find where he talked about a particular topic, like weight training.

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interesting and dense

Enjoyed this book and all the different information contained within it. It is worth a read of the actual book for some of the training information unless you can listen multiple times?

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  • Van Dieu
  • 12-31-15

Turns conventional wisdom on its head

What did you like most about 1:59?

Maffetone is one of the leaders in the field of endurance sports, and much of what he says goes against conventions - train slower, limit volume, eat fat, run barefoot etc. There is method to his "madness". I have been following his principles for years and have enjoyed great health AND performance as a result. This book is really about everything that he preaches, and how it can help already-elite marathoners to take that jump and move below the sub-2hr barrier.

What other book might you compare 1:59 to, and why?

Any other of Maffetone's books, but most famously "The Big Book Of Endurance Training And Racing". Unfortunately this is not available at the time of writing as an audiobook. Otherwise look for podcasts featuring Dr Phil. His advice and teaching are out there if you look for it.

Any additional comments?

It's not really about running a sub-2hr marathon. It's a book about how optimal health and training will make anyone, you or I, into the best endurance athletes we can be, no matter what your sport or your genes.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazoning
  • 05-11-21

A must read for every runner

Dr Phill and his hollistic approach to running taught me so much about my sport ... thanks!

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  • MJ Conway
  • 11-26-19

He was right!

Dr Phil was right. He names Eluid Kipchoge as one of the guys who has the potential to do it. And he was right!

Great insight into all things it takes to achieve ground breaking record perfomance which I used myself for Berlin marathon 2019. (a PB - a record for me).
No Vegan 'game changing' diet mentioned here. Just a heap of topics discussed that works and has worked for years, the world over including many east african insights. A damn good read, thoroughly researched and evidenced by one of the worlds top researchers, clinicians and authors. You cannot fail to be impressed by the amount of evidence in here...exceptional stuff..