Every day I have an internal debate with myself, usually while I’m out on my morning run. Could I really run a full marathon? Do I have what it takes? A few weeks ago, I went to the library and checked out a handful of books on the subject to see if I could answer that question. I just finished the first book. Marathoning For Mortals by John “The Penguin” Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield.
What did I love about this book? It is written by to very real people who offer real advice for the person who is not a “easy” runner. John Bingham completes races in run / walk intervals. And Coach Jenny’s account of her first half marathon reminds me very much of mine.
This book is written for the person who questions whether or not they can complete what much of the population does not. A full marathon. (It also addresses half marathons, but for my purposes I am referring to the full.)
By getting to the starting line, you’ve already placed yourself in the top echelon of athletes. You may or may not be in the top tier of that race, but as a long-distance athlete, you are fitter, better trained, and more disciplined than 99 percent of the population that has ever lived. Remind yourself of that when you start to obsess about your pace or finish time.
It gives real advice from making the decision to do it, training, having the right gear, preparing for the big day, having three plans for race day, race day itself, and even the days after. The book ends with training plans for walk/run, run/walk, and run methods.
What did I take away from this book? That I can probably do a full marathon. It won’t be easy, I’ll have to train my heart out, and maybe my first go-round with training won’t lead me to the start line. But once I make it to the start line, my chances of crossing that finish line very likely.
Early on in the book, there is a personal inventory quiz that helps you decide where you’re now, where you want to be, and your goal for completing along distance event. Everyone has different goals. Is your goal just to complete the marathon? Do you have a specific time goal in mind? And most importantly, your goals may change as you train..
My favorite quote in this book, and one that I’ve read before from John Bingham is:
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
If you, like me, are contemplating a full marathon, I highly recommend this book. It is food for thought, full of real advice and thoughts from people. I love nothing more than someone who never thought they could do it and then cross the finish line in tears. To me, that is motivation to get out there and do it.
What books did you read when contemplating a half or full marathon?