Saturday, November 6, 2010

Marathon training BOOK recommendation?

Still laying low, in planning mode.

Can someone recommend a good marathon training book? Maybe one with women in mind? Something that deals with fuel, nutrition, pacing strategy, and training plans would be great. Also, I'd really like something that has been published within the last 5 years.

Please, suggestions welcome!


  1. I have the Complete Book of Women's Running (the best advice to get started, stay motivated, lose weight, run injury free, be safe and train for any distance.) by Dagny Scott Barrios.

    It will take you from not being a runner at all to marathon programs. It covers nutrition, mental aspects of running, cross training, racing well and has various training programs among other things. I found it really useful, although I didn't use the training programs as I was already following one when I bought the book.

    So anyway, the book was a thumbs up besides the training schedules which I didn't really use.

  2. Hey, Alma!!

    I saw your comment on my blog about the hydration questions... I don't think I have enough content to write a post about it now (I also haven't done many runs over 14 miles in, oh, a half a year), so I'm going to leave this for you in a personalized comment form!

    1.) Nuun is not enough during a run alone. I use it as a replacement for water, and I have noticed that I don't need to drink nearly as much. If it's a hot day I might drink a little more, but during my half marathon this weekend, I drank exactly 20 ounces in 13 miles -- I tried to sip at every mile marker and whenever I was feeling a little parched. (It was also raining and so I think I didn't "feel" like I needed more water since it was all around me!) On some of my training runs I would drink 20 ounces of Nuun water and then 20 ounces of plain water. I always drank Nuun during the first half of my run and drank the second 20 ounces during the last half of my run, but I'm trying to get in the habit of drinking it all the time -- it really does help.

    2. During half marathons, I eat a pack of Sports Beans. I don't usually remember to eat all of them since there are a lot and I'm kind of preoccupied with running, so I tell myself to open them at the 1-hour mark. If I don't eat the entire pack (usually I'll just eat a couple), I'll eat more at the 1.5 hour mark. I was always told that taking anything in the last 15 minutes of a race/run will do no good, so I don't take anything after the 1.75 hour mark. One pack of Sports Beans and a bottle of Nuun will fuel me well for 13 miles.

    3. During my marathon training, I was eating every half hour while I ran. For the first 13 miles, I adopted the same rule I follow when I do half marathons: start the Sports Beans at the 1-hour mark, and finish the Sports Beans at the 1.5 hour mark. Then again at 2, 2.5, and 3, I needed something more. Sports Beans are almost all sugar and I happen to need a little more than that... I would take a flour tortilla, smudge a little peanut butter and jelly in it, roll it up, and cut it into four pieces. I put that in a baggie and shoved that in my fuel belt. I would eat a quarter of that during the half-hour marks during the duration of my runs. This way, I was getting a carb, a protein, and some sugar throughout my run. It was easy to carry and it worked VERY well for me. I always carried an extra package of Sports Beans with me (because I sometimes have blood-sugar drop issues), but almost never needed them. Eating on the 30-minute mark (after the first hour) worked for me. It took a while of playing around to figure that out though, and I bet you're going to find what works best for you as you get going.

    4.) It sounds like you have your marathon training all mapped out already, right? I picked my training plan off of Hal Higdon's site... I also read his book, "Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide." While I thought his book was conceited and self-centered, there were a few good chapters that offered some practical tips and advice.

    5.) Please read "The Runner's Rule Book: Everything a Runner Needs to Know -- and Them Some" by Mark Remy of Runner's World. It's not a serious book at all (okay, well some of it has merit), but it's a great light read and it's hilarious!! :)

    6.) "Born to Run" by Chris McDougall is an inspiring read. May I also suggest you watch "Spirit of the Marathon" right before your marathon! That movie pumps me up every time. :)

    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! You can write me at diaryofanaveragerunner [at] gmail [dot] com and I'm happy to share what little I know. :) As you have figured out, running is an individual sport and you'll find out as you go what works best for you.

    Ok, maybe I did have enough to write a post about it, but I think you're the only one who would have read it. :) Good luck!