Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Run Your First Marathon by Grete Waitz

If you do a quick google search of Grete Waitz you will find a ton of information on such an accomplished runner. For this alone her book is worth considering. Her wealth of knowledge is put to good use as she walks the runner through the experience from the ground up, moving from beginning training to after finishing, giving anecdotes and examples along the way.

I've ran in 6 marathon or longer races thus far and am still learning some of what she writes in this book. Reader beware, though, this book is for exactly what the title states, for runners looking to run their first marathon. A lot of the information given is very basic to runners who have ran this distance already, but to someone who never has ran 26.2 she touches on every aspect and allows the runner to become well informed in what they are getting into.

She briefly touches on two training schedules within the book. The first is for those readers who have ran very little at all. It sets them up and begins conditioning them to running, which in turn prepares them for the actual marathon training. So if you do run some then the training schedule number two is where you would begin. But it is very basic, kind of a run these miles on these days on this week. And she makes it clear that this book is not meant as a day by day guide to your training.

Instead she focuses on the stuff that is overlooked when researching and preparing for a marathon. She goes over running basics, such as form and speed and so on, as well as signs to prevent injury, motivation, and running gear among other information. But the most important chapter is Chapter 12: Marathon Nutrition and Hydration. Even if you have ran a marathon before this is a good chapter to read and refresh and/or educate yourself again. There is a good amount of base information that will probably go the farthest for any marathon hopeful in aiding them to the finish line. Additionally, the final chapter, The Race, is also very useful for the beginning runner because it goes over some of what you will feel, see and expect when you toe the line.

I wish I would have found Mrs. Waitz’s book before I ran my fateful, yet ill prepared first marathon at San Francisco.

If you are a first time marathoner I would give this book a good read and set your goals on that marathon.


busted said...

I have read your post about this book. It sounds like a book I'm going to pick up and read/study. I am running my first official marathon on Sunday in Pheonix. I have run the half one a year before. I have been running for 12 years now. Usually, I go by time rather than miles. It takes me about 3 and half to 3 hours and 45 minutes to run that far. Before I started training for this marathon, I'd typically run 5 to 6 times a week an hour at time.

The guide that I used to train for this marathon was written by John "the penguin" Bingham. I don't know if you have heard of him. He tries to take it slow to get you across the finish line.

I think it's cool that you've ran 6 marathons already. I feel pretty comfortable with running up to 2 hours, but after that it seems time consuming. So I don't know whether I'll be doing more marathons. I guess I'll have to look at how many days I have to run more than 2 hours as a training.

Brian Hawkinson said...

Honestly, in training for my marathons and ultramarathons I never once trained for longer than 2 hours. Not recommended for everyone, but it worked for me. I had one trail half marathon that lasted 2:15, and that was the longest I've ran besides the big races!

My longest ultra was my first and it took me 8:15:47.

So you hit the nail on the head. It comes down to whether you want be out there longer than 2 hours, and oftentimes longer than 4 hours. Most people say no, and thus the reason not many people run marathons (besides not being in shape that is).

So how'd you do in AZ? After doing it do you think you'd do another one?

I used to live in Phoenix/Tempe area so this marathon is on my to do list.