Book Review: “Marathon, The Ultimate Training Guide” by Hal Higdon

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I recently finished reading Hal Higdon’s book:  “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide”. I am not sure where to begin this review because overall I found it to be amazing. Hal is a very well trusted source in the running community, so I knew it was worth the purchase before even opening a page. My very first Half Marathon training plan was Hal’s Beginner Half Marathon program so I did have a little background knowledge on the author before starting the book. Overall he has beginner, intermediate and advanced training plans for Half Marathons and Full Marathons, so he knows what he is talking about.

If I had to rate this book on a scale of 1-10, with a 10 being excellent I would happily give it a 10. The author really takes an in depth look at the marathon, from preparing yourself mentally before, during and after the race as well as preparing yourself physically.

The book is great for a marathoner like me embarking on their first marathon as well as marathoners who have run multiple races. The author does not gear his stories and messages towards just one group of people. If you are a beginning marathoner like myself, he makes the marathon seem very attainable. He discusses all throughout the book of how the goal is to just finish the race if it is your first time. And tells personal stories of not only himself but others he has coached of how they did a lot better than expected for their first time.

Also for marathoners who have run multiple races this is a good read as well. The author goes into detail in ways of improving your time to get better and better.

Hal Higdon is very active in the running community. He is one of the first people to ever introduce the idea of a pace group to a marathon (read the book to find out more). And he describes the thousands of people he has coached for many of the major city marathons in the US. So the book has just as many personal stories from runners all across the country as it does from medical researchers.

Personally I came away with many pages of notes (I’m that kind of reader) from this book on everything from pre-race nutrition, training plans, behavior and habit changes for marathon success and so much more. When I say the author addresses every aspect of the marathon I really mean it. For first time marathoners I would almost make this book a mandatory part of your training plan. I know my training has been impacted tremendously because of this book.

(Editor’s note: make sure if you purchase this book you buy the 4th edition. This is his most up to date version and includes discussions of training for a Half Marathon as well, but don’t worry it is still primarily focused on the Full Marathon)

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