Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Review- Marathoning For Mortals

My Latest Read
When I start something, I get SOOO into it. Since I've been training for my two marathons, I've just been ravenously reading running blogs, websites, magazines, and books. My latest read was Marathoning For Mortals, by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield.

Initially, I was drawn to this book because I'd heard John "The Penguin" Bingham speak at the Team in Training pre-race dinner when I participated in the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. He was such a great motivator, and extremely funny. Further, he was realistic. He talked about what it's like to spend five or more hours on the racecourse. He even quoted a fellow runner who said he thought that the slower runners and walkers were the real champions because they have the mental where-with-all to withstand that much time on their feet.

I picked up the book on a recent shopping binge at my favorite sports store, Sports Basement and started reading it that same day. The book includes chapters on Deciding to Train, Choosing a Training Program, Injury Prevention, Nutrition, Gear, Race Strategy, Goals, and Objectives, and The Post Race Party. It also includes a self-assessment so potential marathoners can determine if they are prepared to walk a full or a half, walk/run, or run/walk either distance, or run either distance. Finally, there are eight training plans included!

This books was a fun read. Both John and Jenny contribute not only content but also their voice to the book. John is very clearly a reformed couch potato and speaks from that perspective while Jenny lends more coaching advice. I found the book to be a quick read as well.

My only issue with this book, and it's pretty minor, is that it seems to be intended for people who are only now considering training for a race, or even considering running for the first time. The book even states that the authors want readers to complete the book first and begin a training program only after they've finished. In this sense, it wasn't as helpful for me because I've been training since January and will run a 20 miler in two days!!

I did find the chapter on setting goals and objectives for your training plan, but also for the race itself. The authors also caution that runners and walkers often need to rework their goals and objectives during a race- and sometimes minute by minute. That was good information for me as I tend to be pretty rigid in my goal setting and get disappointed when I can't fulfill them- even if the environment or circumstances prohibit it!

On the whole, anyone who is looking for motivation to start a training program, anyone looking for advice on gear, nutrition, cross training, or anyone brand new to running should pick up this book. If you've been running for a while and are well into a training program, you can probably skip it- or just borrow it from me!

Happy reading- and running!


  1. thanks for stopping by my blog :) good luck on your 20 this weekend!! just get started early and bring lots of fluids! i do a lot of my long runs in SF in the summer since its so much cooler :)

  2. "when you're up to you ass in alligators..."