For most people the mere thought of running 26.2 miles leads to shortness of breath, debilitating muscle cramps, and an intense fear of failure. Despite these common reactions, the fact remains that the completion of a marathon is well within the reach of anyone who is committed to its achievement - at least this is the viewpoint expressed in a small but powerful running guide for the masses penned by Runner’s World magazine columnist John “the Penguin” Bingham and fitness expert Jenny Hadfield. To them, little separates a global athlete who finishes a marathon in two and half hours from a single mom with young children who crosses the finish line just as the clock reaches its fifth hour. Both runners must commit to training, pay the entrance fee, run the distance, and accept a medal of completion.
In Marathoning for Mortals: A Regular Person’s Guide to the Joy of Run/Walking a Half-Marathon or Marathon, authors and repeat marathon runners Bingham and Hadfield break down marathon-running into manageable components. By tackling each step in a systematic and simple manner, they demystify many of the myths surrounding what it takes to run (or even walk) a long-distance event and create the impression that the journey to the finish line is one worth taking.
The guide outlines what is needed to make the commitment to the program and offers a checklist of critical circumstances that are a precursor to tackling a long-distance event. From there, its provides a detailed explanation of a variety of training programs and explains that the relevance of each program is based on one’s fitness level, prior experience and specific goals. The programs include the type of workout (running, walking, cross-training, or rest) and intensity level (moderate or conversational) that should be undertaken each day of the program. Also included is a fundamental explanation of the injuries runners are likely encounter, the appropriate clothes and equipment as well as how proper nutrition fits into the process. And, finally, there is a clear and concise explanation of the emotional roller coaster one is likely to ride as the big day approaches, plays out, and becomes a memory — one which, the authors guarantee, will never be far from the forefront of one’s mind.
The book provides a balanced mix of technical and psychological advice, both of which are critical to the success of the training program. It offers much encouragement and words of wisdom geared towards every step in the process - from making the decision to tackle the race, to accepting your medal, to everything else that falls in between. The book is a quick smart guide and is a great tool to jump start the running program of anyone who is eager to check off “run a marathon” from a list of dreams.