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50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance! Hardcover – August 18, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"His new book appeals to a potentially broader audience [than his last]. It is packed with practical advice, from how to avoid getting sick during a race, to what to look for in shoes. Included are marathon-training plans for beginners and veterans." -Orange County Register

"Perhaps the most interesting aspect of 50/50, though, is that rare peek into the mindset and motivation of an extreme athlete... and wondering, along with him, what's next." -Bookpage --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dean Karnazes has been called an "Ultrarunning legend" by Men's Journal, and "One of the sexiest men in sports" by Sports Illustrated for Women. Winner of the 2004 Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, he is the author of ULTRAMARATHON MAN. A columnist for Men's Health, Dean lives with his wife and two children in San Francisco. His website is www.ultramarathonman.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style; First Edition edition (August 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446581836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446581837
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Hawkinson VINE VOICE on August 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed Ultramarathon man, so when I heard he was writing another book about his Endurance 50 Challenge I couldn't wait. Karnazes account of his experience running 50 marathons in 50 states has some very good information in it. He, of course, went over the running he'd done to that point, as well the type of running that he had wanted to do, which led to the Endurance 50 challenge. This was right up my alley because I have become a huge fan of running as many marathons as possible. My body tends to recover easily so the urge to run more often has only grown with time.

So it amazes me to follow Karnazes trek from state to state with a marathon every day. He offers some gems of knowledge on various aspects, such as eating, hydration, recovery, pacing, conditions and on and on. With 50 marathons in a row there is plenty of fuel for the fire.

For the most part the chapters correspond to some aspect of running and how it related to that day's marathon, or sometimes two to three marathons a chapter. As would be expected, this couldn't go on for every chapter. Some chapters would reference that days marathon and the chapter would not mention more than a sentence or two, sometimes none, of the actual marathon, instead going off on a tangent about something entirely different.

What was amazing was to find in the appendix a doctor's evaluation of Karnazes' health from running all 50 marathons, and came to the basic conclusion that running that many all in a row had no adverse effects and that he indeed seemed to be getting stronger as each marathon went on. In fact his last of the 50 marathons in New York was his fastest, coming in at a little bit after 3 hours!

I whole heartedly recommend all runner's to get a hold of a copy and read this extraordinary account. Fascinating read.

5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dean's first book was excellent and I recommend it to all sorts of folks, both runners and non-runners alike, as an interesting story of a guy who does truly amazing things. I must admit to being a big Dean fan and I even ran four marathons with him during his Endurance 50 tour. That said, this book is pretty weak compared with UltraMarathon Man. Anybody who has run a couple marathons should be able to give you the advice from this book. If you're a runner you should still read this book as it does have some interesting anecdotes and Dean's such a nice guy, but his first book was much better.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book; I really did. There is nothing I like better than a great athlete inspiring me to get off the couch, hit my goals, and stop feeling sorry for myself. (OK, maybe a great spiritual journey, but you get the idea). For frame of reference, I'm a "Through My Eyes," "Quiet Strength" fan. But this book read more like a "what I did on my summer vacation" narrative than it did a compelling, motivating, "how to win" tome. It dutifully goes thru the What and Where, but almost nothing about the Why and How. Maybe there just isn't that much profound that K can verbalize--like trying to explain great art or music, it loses something in the translation. But then, why write the book? $$$
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a fan of Dean Karnazes. I've read - and enjoyed - Run! and Ultramarathon Man and found them both fascinating books, giving an insight into the world of the extreme endurance runners.

I found this book rather frustrating though. To me, it just couldn't decide what it wanted to do. On the one hand it wanted to be a chronicle of the 50 Marathons. On the other it wanted to offer you insights and tips into how you can join this super elite brand of runners. It failed on both counts.

As the chronicle of the marathons, it just didn't strike a good balance. Some marathons barely got a mention (every one was listed so Dean could note his time, calories burned, number of participants etc). Others got a varying number of pages, but never really anything in sufficient detail. I should say I'm not surprised. It must be difficult trying to find something noteworthy to say about every race and I could forgive that - but at least on the notable ones give us a bit more?

The insights and tips part was equally disappointing. Sprinkled throughout the book randomly were Deans "insights". In reality, if you've been running for more than a few months, you'll likely already know 90% of what's offered. Personally I've ran for 10 years up to half-marathon distance and I picked up perhaps a few small tips for marathon distance. Not that I was figuring the book was going to provide a massive insight - I figure it's part genetics for this small band of ultra marathoners.

So although I wanted to like the book (I do like/admire Dean), it was disappointing. It was shallow. Thin on content and tips. Like it was rushed out to capitalize on the event. Perhaps he tried to hard to be all things to all people. I don't know, I just found I couldn't finish it fast enough to move on to a better book.
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Format: Hardcover
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Ultramarathon Man, but it's still a good read. This book is about the Endurance 50, when Dean Karnazes took on 50 marathons in 50 states over 50 days. Unlike Dean's first book, this is probably 50% sports auto-biography and 50% running guide with tips on topics like nutrition, training regimes, shoe election and stretching. The inclusion of so much advice seems a bit odd, but presumably these are the sorts of things that Dean gets asked about on a regular basis.

Dean starts the book by telling us that he is just an ordinary man with no superpowers or amazing genetic make-up. I don't know how he figures that unless the fact that he hangs out with so many other ultramarathon runners has severely skewed his perspective. He ran the 50 consecutive marathons on an average of 4.5 hours sleep a night, with a headcold and severe blisters - and he had no ill effects whatsoever. Although he claims that he wrote the book to explain how he did this, I have to admit that I finished it none the wiser. The man is amazing.

Having said that I was very interested in the sections of the book where he talks about the techniques he uses to motivate himself when he doesn't feel like running or the ways that he finds the strength to keep running when he feels like he can't manage another step because it all hurts too much.

And get this: when Dean finishes his 50th run in New York, he realizes that no one has booked a flight home for him to California. So he loads his gear into a baby stroller and starts running. He sleeps in parks and eats on the go, ending up in Missouri several weeks and some 1500 miles later. Then in true Forrest Gump style, he stops abruptly and decides that he misses his family and its time to go home.
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