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Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,756 Ratings  ·  214 Reviews
With over 50% new material, this category killer is sure to go the distance

When the previous edition of Hal Higdon's superb training guide appeared, Grete Waitz, 9-time winner of the New York City Marathon, cheered: "Higdon's years of marathoning experience come through in this practical book. Aspiring or veteran marathoners will benefit enormously from its proven guidance
Paperback, 356 pages
Published September 3rd 2005 by Rodale Books (first published October 15th 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,810)
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Oct 16, 2011 Bill added it
So I used Hal Higdon's training guide on the interwebs to train for my first marathon on October 9th this year, the Chicago Marathon. At the expo the day before the race, my younger sister (who ran the race with me - well, as much as anyone who finished an hour ahead of me "ran with" me) excitedly spotted Hal and got him to sign her a brand new copy of his book. I sat by with a camera ready, but she was too timid to ask him for a picture, and I was too timid to demand that she pose with him. We ...more
Dec 08, 2010 Ross rated it really liked it
It still holds up as one of the top marathon books/training guides after all these years. I was completely out of shape, and I hadn't ran a step in five or six years. I read this book, followed the training guide, and ran a 4 hour marathon less than three months later. I also lost 25 pounds during the training process.
Hal's book is still the best marathon running book around, a must read for anyone wanting to run a marathon, but not wanting to urinate blood & spinal fluid afterward.
Jul 19, 2014 Dani rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running
I have read 8 books on running. Everything from running for weight loss to the ultimate beginners guide and from inspirational fiction on running to marathon training. I have to say that Hal Higdon's Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, Advice, Plans and Programs for Your 1st Marathon or 50th was a favorite.

You have to wonder how many books on running can you read? Don't they all start to sound the same? Yes and no. The basic information like how to stay hydrated, warnings on things not to do
Daniel Solera
Jun 22, 2009 Daniel Solera rated it it was amazing
Shelves: athletics
This book will either inspire you to run a marathon or scare you to death. Though it breaks down the act of running 26.2 miles into manageable chapters, the feat may seem more daunting as you turn the last page. Fortunately, Higdon has populated his informative book with many testimonials from runners, from the confident elite to the skeptical newcomers.

As a veteran marathon runner with 111 marathons under his belt, he knows what he's talking about. His experience, his mistakes, his discoveries
May 27, 2012 Alison rated it it was amazing
I read this book as I was training for my first (and so far only) marathon. It was heartfelt, funny, and sincere. One quote that I will forever remember is that you should never sign up for your next marathon until you have forgotten the pain of the last one.
Apr 11, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve made it my business to check out every marathon ebook available at my local library. I have universally disliked them all up until now. This one is fantastic.

Just about every new runner training for any event has, at least, perused one of Hal Higdon’s plans. They are free, readily available, easy to understand, and geared to beginners. I’m familiar with them, but I’ve never used them. I have always used Pfitzinger’s Road Racing and Fitzgerald’s Brain Training for Running. Since I’m taking o
Aug 28, 2012 Marissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: running, books-i-own
Ok so this book wasn't BAD I just was annoyed by a few things....this book felt very repetative. The author revistied the importance of carb-loading and the spagehtti dinner like 10 times, once or twice would be fine but after awhile I wanted to scream, "We get the point!" Also, maybe I'm not a serious enough runner but I found the chapter on women training during menstruation just un-necessary. I also got a little tired of the ten million examples the author used of olympic athletes training se ...more
May 01, 2015 Wysteria rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, read-2015
Anytime I get a new hobby, I like to learn as much about it as I can. I'm a knowledge collector of sorts. A really bad jack-of-all-trades. I like to learn and if something catches my attention and interests me, I want to learn as much as I can about it until I'm over it. Running is my newest obsession.

So I got this book from the library actually just read this straight through, not picking and choosing parts that sounded interesting.

I found it helpful and insightful and slightly overwhelming an
Mar 03, 2016 D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all runners -- amateur and elite alike
hal higdon's training programs for half-marathons and marathons are popularly considered among the best in the world -- especially for the amateur athlete.

he manages to be exacting and compassionate, and thousands of folks can attest that his methods result in success.

in marathon he addresses the psychology and mechanics behind distance running -- training, picking a race, preparing for the race itself, race day, nutrition, and postrace recovery. most imporantly, he offers specific training pl
Aug 31, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it
One of the best marathon manuals that I have read. Unfortunately for me I ran out of time and had to finish it after my 1st marathon thus not requiring the training schedule at the end. However, this had some great advice which I will defo use on my next marathon. Yes, I'm going to do another one. I loved it, every minute. Wish I'd done one earlier than my 40th year!

Read again a year later before doing my second marathon. Still the best book in my opinion to read on marathons.
Apr 29, 2011 Luisa rated it liked it
Everything that I need to know and more. The only downside was they were ABSOLUTELY adamant that first time marathoners should NEVER have a goal beyond finishing the race. But my opinion is that I want to beat the race, I don't want the race to beat me. I don't want to feel like I barely finished by the skin of my teeth. I want to achieve the status of marathoner without nearly killing myself to cross the finish line.
Sarah Simmons
Jan 08, 2013 Sarah Simmons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great asset in training for my first marathon. I finished with a respectable time-for me. It answered a lot of questions I didn't even know I had, being a newbie and a solitary runner. I'm using it again to train for my second marathon.
Eric Lawson
Mar 27, 2014 Eric Lawson rated it it was amazing
I have been training to run a marathon since 2007. Read a couple of books but never finished the training. Finally in 2012 I bought this book because of the reviews on Amazon. Was a great resource to push me through the training to endure this challenge. Did everything Hal asked and finally completed the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati in May, 2013. This book will help you accomplish your first marathon as well as pushing you to run others and advice and training plans to reduce your time. I l ...more
Nora Miller
Aug 07, 2013 Nora Miller rated it it was amazing
I'm keeping this book close at hand! Will read and re-read. Currently following the intermediate training plan for my 5th half marathon, will then roll into the novice training plan for my 1st full marathon.
May 13, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: new runners/marathoners
Shelves: non-fiction
A really good overview of marathon training. Especially helpful if you're running your first and don't quite know what to expect from running 26 miles 385 yards.
Jo Javernick ronk
Apr 28, 2013 Jo Javernick ronk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Signed up for my first marathon and this book got me so excited to start training. He makes it sound so doable. Can't wait!!!
Iliyana Parashkevova
Jan 03, 2015 Iliyana Parashkevova rated it it was amazing
That's a real great piece for anyone who's preparing for a marathon or just began running :-) I recommend it highly
Adrianne Karpo
May 23, 2015 Adrianne Karpo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So the cat's out of the bag. My next big goal following graduation is to start running with the ultimate goal of one day running the NYC Marathon. It's a slow start, but this book has really put a number of things into perspective for me. My BMI has me at obese. I need to drop a bit of weight in order to really hone in on my skill. I need to allow myself rest, however, to be at my best. My diet needs to be balanced, yet I need to allow myself more carbs and more protein depending on my training. ...more
Apr 02, 2016 Lori rated it really liked it
I am training for a half marathon (a whole chapter is dedicated to this length race) and found this book to be a great guide, full of lots of wisdom and anecdotal experiences; perfect for new runners looking to gain a solid knowledge base of the sport of running. There are training plans included for different races and varying skill levels.

I have been doing a lot of research on running form, gear, nutrition, hydration, cross-training, rest, and injury prevention and this book is one of my top
Sep 08, 2014 Kendra rated it liked it
This is a very solid primer for someone attempting their first marathon without the benefit of a training group or other coach. Hal Higdon provides years of wisdom and anecdotes to make the challenge of training more manageable, and gives the guidance of dos and do nots without boring the reader with a list. While this was a bit behind my experience level, I agreed for the most part with Higdon's advice to would-be marathoners, and would recommend the book and plans to someone who doesn't have a ...more
Lesley Looper
Jan 27, 2009 Lesley Looper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: other runners
Recommended to Lesley by: Marion
Shelves: running, non-fiction, 2009
Although this book is a bit dated (e.g. marathon contact info included snail mail addresses only), I got a good bit out of it. Higdon reinforces many of his points with personal stories, or those of other runners or medical professionals. The book is a pretty quick read, and includes several charts as well as some training plans that look doable.

Things I took away from this book:
1) Having a base mileage of 30-40 miles is key--if you want to be able to finish a marathon. More mileage is better--5
Sep 07, 2009 Jenny rated it liked it
Recommends it for: runners, first-time marathoners
Shelves: running
I am glad I read this book among others as I am training for my first marathon (less than one month until the marathon!) but it wasn't my favorite marathon read out there. It had some really good tips which I appreciated, made note of and have been utilizing throughout my training. I also liked that it seemed very well researched, not just Hidgon's personal experience (though he does include plenty of that) but also quotes research, academics and professional athletes. The book did get a bit dra ...more
Jan 21, 2013 Manda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a gift after I finished my half-marathon. My goal in reading it was to gain some guidance on how I might up my mileage, improve my running, and finish a full marathon in the next year or so.

This book contains useful information for runners of all levels, ages, and genders. I've been running since middle school, and consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about what constitutes a "good" training plan, even if it is just a basic one. Higdon, however, delves deeper in each p
Nov 05, 2010 Meghan rated it it was amazing
This might make you feel a bit better. Guess what? Hal Higdon updated his Marathon book with an all new 3rd edition! YAY!

Have you ran a marathon before? Have you ever tried to follow one of Hal Higdon's marathon training programs?

You may not care, but let me tell you a little bit about myself before you start your judgements, on me and on Hal. I am a 25 year old female who started running 3 years ago. Since becoming obsessed with the sport of running I have run close to 20 races including 2 ful
Jul 11, 2013 Jacquelyn rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Although I have yet to put the book's advice into practice, it seems like a really good introduction to marathon-running for noobs like myself. I'd say it's about 50% motivation/first-hand accounts, 40% marathon training theory, and 10% solid information I could use immediately.

The motivation/anecdote parts were interesting. It was helpful to hear what other people have experienced themselves, how their first marathon compared to subsequent ones, what they did wrong, what they did right, etc. B
Aug 05, 2012 Celeste rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, running-related
I like to read books about running, and I'm planning on running another marathon in about 7 months.

Ask around in a running group, and you'll learn that nearly all of them know who Hal Higdon is and more than a few are using his training plans or recommend them. I've used his plans for some of my half marathons before having read this book.

I was pleasantly surprised that reading this book was not like reading a typical piece of non-fiction about running. It read as though I was having a long coff
James Cardona
Mar 06, 2015 James Cardona rated it it was amazing
If you are serious about running a marathon or want to set a PR then this book is a must. I've read several books on marathon training and run two marathons and about 50 half marathons (pretty obvious which distance I prefer).

I found the book motivating and reassuring. It gave me some strategies that I wasn't familiar with and I certainly did set a few PRs using some of the techniques within.

Highly recommended for the committed runner.
Alex S
Jan 10, 2015 Alex S rated it really liked it
Contains some sound advice in terms of setting and adjusting goals/expectations. Some of the training tips are admittedly painfully obvious to anyone who might partake in relatively regular physical activity but there is enough of a mix of both insightful training tips and anecdotes to appeal to novice, intermediate, and pro runners alike. The tips and statistics about the physiological importance of tapering and hydration strategies will be particularly helpful.

I read the 1993 edition, which gi
Jordan K
Mar 02, 2014 Jordan K rated it it was amazing
Really quickly read this book. Got through it in a couple of days. A lot of good information for newcomers to distance running. I remember my father had used this book for his first marathons, and I have decided to run a half this summer, and a full this winter -- and I will certainly be using training plans from this book, and going back to various chapters for advice/encouragement throughout the duration of my training.
Jul 16, 2013 Kristen rated it liked it
All in all it is exactly what it says it is - a Marathon Training book. Slightly repetitive at times; it almost seemed like the chapters were written as separate "essays" at times because they contained duplicate information from other chapters. But once it really got into the "meat" of doing a marathon it got better. Of course I can't tell you how effective any of it is just yet since I haven't run a marathon yet (shooting for June 2014). But I am definitely more motivated to do one after readi ...more
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Hal Higdon is an American writer and runner. He has contributed to Runner's World magazine longer than any other writer. He is the author of 34 books, including the best-selling Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He has worked as a freelance writer since 1959, and has written a variety of subjects including a children's book that was made into an animated feature. He ran eight times in the Uni ...more
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“I’d rather die smiling. And running makes me smile.” 1 likes
“Steve Langley, a forecast manager from Beloit, Wisconsin, recalls running 15 miles with friends on a January morning when the temperature was 5°F. Running through a park with a small lake, they passed several people sitting on buckets, ice fishing. “Look at those idiots,” said one of the fishermen. “They’re going to freeze to death!” Langley admits thinking the same about them.” 1 likes
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