The Injured Runner's Training Book. By Bob Glover and Murray Weisenfield. Penguin Books. $6.95.

Few distance runners make it through a lifetime, much less a year, without some type of injury. When I was a competitive runner in college, my teammates and I would sustain at least one minor injury a season.

Lucky for us, we had a competent trainer to treat our ailments. For others not so fortunate, "The Injured Runner's Training Book" can be nearly as helpful.

This 208-page collection of descriptions, explanations, advice and case histories of injured runners does not make for the most entertaining prose, but the book makes one point throughout: "There are other books for runners about how to treat injuries and how to train if you are healthy. But this is the first to explain how an injured runner can maintain his or her training program . . . The goal of this book is to provide you with a coach's and a doctor's guide to preventing, training through and coming back from injury."

Bob Glover, a veteran running coach, and Murray Weisenfeld, a podiatrist, have more than 40 years of running experience between them. And it shows. Rarely do they tell the runner to stop running because of an injury, because any expert in the sport knows that most runners are addicted to the sport and thus cannot give it up totally.

"Although running places a heavy load on the musculoskeletal system . . . very few of the injuries sustained will preclude the runner's return to his or her desired mileage and training program," the authors write.

To maintain a desirable level of fitness while recovering from injury, Glover and Weinsenfeld believe in alternative training so much that they have devoted a third of the book to illustrate other methods of cardiovascular exercise -- swimming, cross-country skiing, walking and bicycling -- that can be substituted during the healing process.

"Alternative aerobic training is one of the least used and most valuable aspects of a runner's training program," they say. "We consider it an essential aid to runners who can't run because of an injury, are coming back from injury or wish to prevent injury."

But why do runners need an entire book on injuries? "Running is the most dangerous sport in the United States in terms of the numbers of injuries we are seeing . . . Most often these injuries are caused by training errors." And most of those injuries, they say, are due to increasing mileage too soon.

The book concludes with four insightful sections on treatment options, special aids, drugs and running, and specific treatments for common running injuries which answer a myriad of questions such as: What type of sports medicine specialist should you see? Should you use ice or heat for a specific injury? What's an orthotic and why and how do you get one? Is aspirin better for healing than DMSO liquid?

Though the authors seem to gear the book heavily toward marathoners, their explanations and advice are just as applicable to track and field athletes, who also would do well by keeping this book near the medicine cabinet. -- Reviewed by Steve Nearman Whiz Kids: Success at an Early Age. By Marilyn Machlowitz. Arbor House. $15.95.

Success at any age is a national obsession. A number of popular books have taken a look at early success. In "Young, Gifted and Rich," Ralph Gardner Jr. concentrated on '80s entrepreneurs who made big money before turning 30. In "Fast Track: The Super Achievers and How They Make It to Early Success," Mary Alice Kellogg examined '60s and '70s achievers both inside and outside large corporations.

Career counselor Marilyn Machlowitz, author of "Workaholics" and "Inside Moves," offers a fresh approach to early successes in "Whiz Kids."

Certain occupations seem to be hotbeds for young successes, while others appear more staid and less hospitable to fast-track movement. The arts and sciences in particular call for fresh approaches that can give young people the edge.

But success can be found in any occupation -- David Liederman founded the David's Cookies empire at the age of 30. Peter Cohen took over Shearson/American Express at 36. Wendy Wasserstein produced several off-Broadway plays before the age of 35.

Whiz kids are those who have achieved astonishing professional success before the age of 40. Regardless of the age at which it is attained, people tend to be more tolerant of late bloomers who paid their dues than of whiz kids who got all the breaks. Why? Because the general public believes that early success is accompanied by unmitigated disaster.

Amid all the fanfare associated with success, dire personal and professional consequences are predicted for those who dare to succeed at an early age. So in general, late bloomers seem to attract far more sympathy than early successes. How many times have you heard about Grandma Moses, Ray Kroc and Colonel Sanders? Probably more than you'd care to count. Apparently learning about an 80-year-old achiever is encouraging; learning about a 21-year-old whiz kid is not.

For parents interested in how their children can become whiz kids of the future, a chapter on how to encourage early success has been included. Early encouragement definitely enhances the development of a child's abilities. Children growing up in a home filled with books, newspapers, magazines, records, musical instruments, tools and workbenches, or computers come to regard these objects as a natural part of life.

Parental enthusiasm is the key, Machlowitz writes. It makes parents participants in the child's learning process. And children will be more eager to try something if they see that their parents enjoy it, too. Avoid setting all-or-nothing goals. Boost your child's self-esteem by being careful to show that you accept and respect him or her.

If you follow the author's advice, there is no guarantee that you will raise or become a whiz kid, but the common-sense advice will surely be a help. -- Reviewed by John Riddle