Tuesday Reviews-Day: The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training

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I’ve recently begun training for another half marathon, but my motivation for this one is a lot lower than in the past. I think a lot of it has to do with the weather, as I’ve never been a big winter runner, but with the race only two months away, I really need to get back on my feet.

When I was training for the Chicago Half Marathon this summer, I ordered a copy of “The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training,” but never used it. I was already in a groove by the time I got it, and wanted to continue my routine. So, it collected dust on my desk at home, until I recently rediscovered it.

I remember what caught my eye about this book is that it focuses solely on marathons and half marathons. I’ve yet to attempt the marathon distance, but 13.1 miles is sort of that awkward distance where it’s definitely long, but doesn’t require months and months of long runs and training to conquer. I got an email from Runner’s World about the training book, and it said it had different training plans based on your running level, inspirational stories and injury prevention tips, all of which I needed. Plus, I’m a sucker, and most advertisements convince me to spend money.

Being a product from Runner’s World, I knew it had to be good. But after just skimming through it, my motivation for training was instantly boosted; I’m a very visual person, and seeing the book filled with charts and graphics explaining HOW and WHY different aspects are important really helped me understand.

One of the charts that I enjoyed looking at — plus a blurb about retail therapy, which I totally believe in!

The training section of the book has literally everything a runner could possibly need. My favorite is the time conversion chart, where I can identify my 5K time, and figure out about what I would run in a half marathon, or any other distance. It also has tips on measuring effort, something I often struggle with, and specific workouts to use in your plan, which is another thing I typically slack on.

The nutrition and injury prevention sections of “The Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training” are beyond helpful. Both reiterate that the most important thing as an athlete is staying healthy, which can be hard to remember when your eye is on the finish line. As someone who still lives at home, my diet typically consists of what my mom buys at the grocery store, so reading different ways to stay healthy helped me modify my end of the grocery list. I also have pretty sensitive knees, so I learned that I should really focus on strengthening my hips to take some pressure off that area of my leg.

Runner’s World also did a great job “Putting it all Together” which is the title of the last section of the book; it talks about tapering and common feelings and thoughts weeks and days before the race. It stresses the importance of positivity on race day, and recovery postrace. Like the rest of the book, the tone is very encouraging, and I felt motivated through the very last page.

Not only did I learn a lot from this book but I was reassured on a lot of areas of what I was already doing correctly. For example, the book has eating schedules modified based on what time of day you exercise – I am an after-work runner, so I always make sure to bring a bigger lunch and a snack to eat on my drive home so I have enough energy during my run, and that’s exactly what Runner’s World suggested!

Even though my race is still two months away, and my training has really just begun, I can already tell that I will be a much more efficient and knowledgeable athlete as I prepare for this race than I was my first time around. Thanks, Runner’s World!

The paperback version of the book is only about $18 at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Holly's running career began in high school; after being bummed about not making the volleyball team her sophomore year, she decided to join some of her middle school friends on the cross country team. She also did track in the fall, where the 1600 m race was her niche. Since then, she has run several shorter distance races and two half marathons. Her goal for 2017 is to try a triathlon, and eventually do the Chicago Marathon. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2016 with a degree in journalism. Working at Chicago Athlete, Holly has been able to explore photography a lot more, which is one of her main hobbies. She enjoys taking photos at endurance races, and is also passionate about nature photography and portraiture.

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