Marathon books

Marathon books

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15/05/2007 at 08:55

Can anyone recommend any good books about marathoning?

15/05/2007 at 13:07
Sam Murphy's Marathon from Start to Finish.

15/05/2007 at 14:25
Running through the wall by Neal Jamison is an unpotdownable American book of tales about ultra running - pain, depair, bravery, some comedy - both inspiring and awe inspiring.

for general mara books it depends what you are looking to achieve, but one of the best is Advanced Marathoning by Pritzinger and Dougles
15/05/2007 at 15:36
PiggyBack, what sort of book about marathoning do you want?

(I wouldn't recommend Sam Murphy's book, solely because of the highly suspect advice to do all your running at marathon-pace.)
15/05/2007 at 15:56
marathon running for mortals by john bingham. top book and great for first timers.
15/05/2007 at 16:28
I can recommend the 100 day training schedule for how to prepare for a marathon and for entertainment the looniness of the long distance runner or "i run, therefore i am nuts"
15/05/2007 at 17:03
I didn't like the Bingham book, and I don't like his style. He's too self-consciously an 'industry'. He's identified a target markey and he'll milk it forever.

My favourite marathon book is "26.2" by Julie Welch -- about the London Marathon, but if you're after practical guidance, the one I've found most helpful and credible is "Marathon" by Hal Higdon. It's just straight-down-the-line, intelligent, well-written advice by one of the sport's gurus.

This assumes you're someone looking to run a first marathon, and looking for a 'how-to'.

The Looniness book is fun, but not a manual.

15/05/2007 at 18:15
I'd go along with Hal Higdon for a first marathon and Pfitzinger & Douglas once you know first-hand what a marathon feels like.

I agree with RC about John Bingham, though I get the impression from his most recent columns in RW that he may have lost interest in running and only be continuing to write in a running magazine as a way of turning a reliable penny.

Hal Higdon's a bit of a product too, but his advice is sound and his schedules are sensible and user-friendly.
15/05/2007 at 21:32
THanks all

I'm looking for a book to tell you about everything from training from scratch, to food, and hydration and race day, and after race day etc...
15/05/2007 at 22:16
Hi Piggyback,

One I quite enjoyed was Richard Nerurkar's Marathon Running.

It covers all the points you mention but it's fleshed out by giving accounts of some of the writer's personal experiences, so it's not all dry science and numbers.

The actual training content is not particularly detailed, but I found it an interesting (and easy) read.
15/05/2007 at 23:43
I admit that I've only browsed through it in a bookshop, but the trouble with the Nerurkar book is that it's too elite-oriented. He was a great runner, but I didn't get the impression that he really understands the novice mindset.

That said, the OP may be a seasoned runner who wants to progress to a marathon, so fair enough. If they're a relative newcomer to running, I'd go for something lower down the athletic tree. Sorry if I've misrepresented Nerurkar.

Best have a look on Amazon at the various recommendations and read the reviews. Even better, have a browse in a good bookshop. It's hard to recommend books because you never quite know what appeals to other people.
16/05/2007 at 14:44
THanks everyone

RC, I've never really run before, except for playing football. The marathon will be my first race!
16/05/2007 at 14:51
I've got The competative runners handbook which i think is quite good, and gives advice and training programmes for various levels of runner, its a bit american and gung ho at times but i think its good.

Just got the Pfitzinger & Douglas book, and agree its for after the first marathon.

Was bought Richard Nerurkar's Marathon Running book and hated it. Not geared towards beginners more a story of how he trained i thought.
16/05/2007 at 18:18
I agree -- Despite the title, The Competitive Runners Handbook (Bob Glover) is an excellent book for beginners. Very readable, and it covers all distances.

Piggyback -- great to aim for a marathon but I hope it won't be your first race. What I mean is, you should definitely think about including a few shorter races as part of your training. If you've never run before, you might want to think of a marathon as the culmination of your first year of training, whch gives you plenty of time to work up to the distance with a few shorter races. The usual distances are 10Ks, 10 milers, half marathons, and perhaps a 20 as one of your final long training runs.

In a sentence, think about spending a few months laying down some base mileage (perhaps 15-20 miles a week max), then work your way up to the marathon using a proper mara training plan, such as you'll find at Your plan to do some reading is a good one. There is tons of advice out there, in books, on the web, and on forums like this.

Any particular marathon in mind?
17/05/2007 at 14:58

Thanks for the advice.

I am planning on doing some races in the build up, but am thinking of them more as training than races!

I'm running New York (have a charity place).

At the moment, I'm following the Furman FIRST plan, which I quite like because of the cross training aspect, and it's so clear, even telling you how to work out exactly what pace to run each session at.

I've been building up my base milage since Jan and have now been running 25 miles a week for the past 2 months.

I've just ordered "Advanced Marathoning". Reckon I'll see what I think of the plans in there and might switch. Might also get Hal's book so I have some choice - do his plans have any cross training?

Thanks again
17/05/2007 at 17:21
I don't know how fast you are, but isn't Advanced Marathoning a bit... advanced? I haven't read it but I did read the reviews and "Look Inside" thing on Amazon and got th eimpression it was for people who wanted to race the marathon rather than just run or complete one. Anyway, I'm sure it will still have plenty of interest.

Hal Higdon's plans do include, or certainly recommend cross training though he isn't specific. He doesn't say "On Wednesday do 45 minutes of cycling at 15 mph followed by 37 minutes of circuit training.

He talks about the need, or at least recommendation, to cross-train on certain days and makes suggestions about what makes good and bad cross training, but leaves it up to you what you choose to do. He is much more interested in running and mileages.

Read his website to get an idea. There's a lot of material there.

I've read about the Furman FIRST marathon plan, and quite liked th elook of it. The only problem is that I often run with a club and find it impossible to fit that sort of routine (2 miles easy, 2 miles tempo, 2 miles easy etc) in with the club runs. But it does look good.

The Higdon approach is simpler than that, certainly at novice level. Just read as much as you can and see what fits you best. If you're anything like typical, you'll end up cobbling together a plan from a number of ideas. There's no absolute right and wrong with any of these plans, it's just whether they happen to fit your needs, standard, available time, facilities etc.

Good luck in NY.
17/05/2007 at 17:36

I've just returned to running after a verrrry long lay off and before I started training again I bought a book from Amazon called "The Non-Runners Marathon Trainer" and it really helped motivate me.

It's aimed at first timers and gives a realistic 16 week training plan to help you to complete the marathon. I've found the book very helpful BUT a word of warning. It is very American if you know what I mean.

Good luck
17/05/2007 at 19:21
I have just finished reading the Advanced Marathoning by Pritzinger and Douglas and it is rather advanced (as it says on the tin!).

I have done 4 marathons runing them all between 3.35 and 3.19.

I hope to use their knowledge and training programmes to get under 3.15.

The book breaks the training into three distinct catagories. Under 50 miles a week, 50 to 70 miles a week and over 70 miles a week and offers a 24, 18 and 12 week programme for each catagories.

I'm looking at the 50-70 miles a week, 12 week programme. It starts with 2 x 11 mile runs and a 15 mile run within the 1st week.

Good luck.
17/05/2007 at 20:07
Good luck Sean, with what sounds like a tough schedule -- you're in a different category from me!
18/05/2007 at 08:51
Er, yes, so maybe advanced marathoning for the second marathon!
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