Customer Reviews: Marathon and Half-Marathon: The Beginner's Guide
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on June 19, 2006
I think this is a very nice book but perhaps not as "entertainingly" written as the Jeff Galloway running books ("Marathon-You Can Do It" and "Half-Marathon-You Can Do It") that I've also read. The author even quotes Galloway in a couple of places.

Fortunately, the author does not overload you with much drawn out text and lays out a running plan in a nicely formatted grid. She also points out certain details about what can help based on your sex and age. I really enjoyed the little "true stories" sections that the author throws in every so often. These profiles of people who started out as complete beginners and eventually ran a marathon were, to me, very motivational.

The big difference between this and other books is the training time period. Many books claim they can get you ready for the big time in 13 weeks, this book promotes a 26 week program and the author even hints that if you are starting at ground-level zero, a year to your first marathon is even better.

Overall, a pretty good book for beginning runners of all ages who prefer the tortoise to the hare approach before trying that first 13.1 or 26.2 miles!
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on October 15, 2007
This book is a good place to start. I agree with the last review ... it is not a Jeff Galloway book but if you are a true biginner, it is a good place to start. It has good basic pointers that are easy to understand.

I would say that if you are going to run a FULL marathon, you will need a more indepth book with more advanced information. This book is good to get you into a HALF marathon.
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on February 24, 2009
I used this plan literally starting from getting off the couch and not being able to run 1 min. Built up, using the training plan listed in the book, to a run of 30 min / walk 1 min for 11 miles.

Completed my first half-marathon this past weekend and owe a lot to this book. Great beginner guide.
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on February 16, 2011
I liked this book much better than David Holt's Best Half Marathons: Jog, Run, Train or Walk & Race The Half-marathon. Even though the title of Holt's book implied it would be helpful for walkers preparing to participate in a half marathon, it really only addressed walking as a form of training to run. On the contrary, the author of Marathon and Half-Marathon: The Beginner's Guide respects the different levels at which an individual might want to participate in a half marathon or a marathon and encourages training in all three--be it fast walking, walk-running or running. It is pointed out in Chapter 1 The Mystique of the Marathon "The growing popularity of the half marathon can also be attributed to the huge increase in the numbers of walk/runners, people who intersperse running and walking. As well, a large number of walkers, commonly referred to as striders are participating in half marathons." As anyone who has ever been stationed and/or lived in Germany can attest, "volksmarches" or noncompetitive walks of long distances including half marathons and marathons are very popular there. In fact, the ONLY marathon I have ever participated in, I walked in Augsburg, Germany in April 1997. To date I have ran-walked twelve half marathons in the United States including those in New Orleans, Virginia Beach, Hilton Head and Tybee.

For those individuals who aspire to become runners, however, the author is also extremely helpful. His plan to help the individual transform to faster speeds is most practical. He strongly admits that "a marathon or half marathon goal requires considerable mental, emotional and psychological commitment."

My favorite chapters in this book were Chapters 4 Fueling the Athlete (in depth information about optimal nutrition in preparation for a distance event), 6 The Mental Side of the Marathon (with reference to yoga and pilates highly recommended for improving strength and flexibility) and 7 You're a Runner!

There are a total of eleven chapters in the book with three appendices: Appendix A: Stretching Exercises, Appendix B: PAR-Q and You and Appendix C: Zero to Marathon and Half Marathon in 26 Weeks.

While my favoite book on preparing for a half marathon is Absolute Beginner's Guide to Half-Marathon Training: Get Ready to Run or Walk a 5K, 8K, 10K or Half-Marathon Race, this book would come in a very strong second. I would highly recommended it to those participating at all levels of fitness. In this it is a very positive and uplifting guide that leaves you knowing that you have prepared yourself the best way you can to participate in one of the most challenging events of your life!
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on November 2, 2015
Great book. My partner is on his 3rd marathon and first half with zero injuries. Stunned our local track coach, who says it's because my partner is really following the training and not doing anything harder, faster, missing trainings, etc, so he's tuning up his body as recommended. My partner wasn't really a runner before this, kind of hated it actually. Now he's addicted (in a good way)
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on April 3, 2013
As a beginner runner, after I was able to complete 10K by following the steps of "The Beginning Runner's Handbook: The Proven 13-Week RunWalk Program", I started thinking about trying to do 20K.
There is a semi marathon event taking place in the city where I live at the end of May, and this was January, so it sounded just about feasible, provided I followed through with an ad hoc programme - I injured myself several times when I started running (my own fault for going too hard too fast) before I went with the 13-week-program, so I wanted to be sure I would not end up stranded again with aching feet or knees this time.
Well, since the 13 weeks worked so well for me, after sampling a few semi marathon training guides I decided to stuck with the "sequel". And boy am I happy I did.

Since it's double the distance, it's double the number of weeks, but with 10K I could jump in halfway through the 26 weeks. (Actually, it's almost a shame to buy the 13-week-program if you are going to eventually train for a semi or full marathon - might as well buy that book directly since it also gets you started from scratch).

The advice is just as good - a bit repetitive at first with the 13 week program but that was to be expected - and the tables for the training slowly upgrading your mileage, with recuperation weeks and more intense weeks, no runs two days in a row but three times a week and with walking and cross training days on top of it.
Distances are both in miles and in kilometers, which being from Europe I appreciated a lot!
There is also a "pace chart" sparing you more tedious calculations about how fast you are going to run X distance when your average is Y. The nutrition tips included vegetarian diets and related, which I also liked. There is a lot about changing habits, motivational tips, marathon clinics, family organisation, injuries...

To me the best selling point of the book and its predecessor is the cautious,injury-free approach that makes for a lot less frustration along the way!
So far so good, I'll edit after the 20K event.
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on August 17, 2008
This book got me confident that I could run again after taking about 7 years off from any type of exercise after having two children. Great information. The training schedule is very functional for a busy mom. Finished a half-marathon after training using this book.
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on April 22, 2012
This book was really interesting. It is real easy to read and it explains in great detail how to start training. I would highly recommended to individuals that have never ran a 1/2 marathon or full marathon.
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on July 28, 2010
I read this book after completing by first half San Francisco 2010 marathon. This book has some useful tips on diet that I can use for my full marathon training.

Must have c's for marathon: Commitment and Consistency

Pg 58 Provides weekly progress charts. Progress (training) chart is divided in 7 phases, 26 weeks.

Books answers some of the common questions that beginners have:
Choosing between the Half and Full Marathon (pg 11)
Pacing (pg 41)
Should I estimate how long it will take to complete my event? (pg 82)
Is it important to know my pace? (pg 84)

Diet is covered in chapter 5.
Most common injuries (pg 161)
- iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) (knee)
- Patello-femoral syndrome (aka runners knee) (Knee)
- Tibial stress syndrome (aka shin splints) (Shin)
- Plantar fasciitis (Feet)
- Achilles tendonitis (Ankle)

As this is my first book on marathon I cannot compare it with other books. I will update this review after reading other books.
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on May 16, 2011
I consider myself a beginner runner but this is for those who have not been running at all. I am following the traiing plan loosely. I would recommend this only for those who do not have an established running program already.
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