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Marathoning for Mortals: A Regular Person's Guide to the Joy of Running or Walking a Half-Marathon or Mar Athon

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,261 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Once considered a feat for superhuman athletes, the marathon is now within every mortal's grasp. Former couch potato John Bingham has joined forces with coach Jenny Hadfield to create a winning plan that works for every mortal--even you.

In Marathoning for Mortals, you'll find the courage to train, the willpower to persevere, and the tenacity to finish one mile after anothe
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 2nd 2003 by Rodale Books
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  1,261 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Jane Lebak
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book ONLY because I like John Bingham. (Now I like his wife's voice too.) I didn't intend to do any actual marathoning.

I may, though, now that I've looked over the program and read the book. Wish me luck!


UPDATED three months later: Yesterday after following the program in the book, I completed a half marathon. :-) It totally worked. I trusted what they said, and even when I didn't think I could do it, I followed their advice, and it worked.

I re-read most of the book in the w
Jo * Smut-Dickted *
Anything I do I do whole hog. From my snout to my wiggly tail - I'm all in or I'm not interested.

I loved the spirit of this book which will strike a chord with anyone who has ever doubted themselves in this running arena. I would actually speculate that to the person that is already super athletic and fit this book might be a bit boring and non relatable. That is not my case. I was always the nerd who got picked last for any team sports. I always wanted to be an athlete - but I didn't think it w
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I purchased this book as a tip/training guide for running a half marathon in the spring. I thought that Running for Mortals was more informational and the contents of the book were the same things I've read on However, they authors do provide many anecdotes of the emotional aspect of the race and prepping yourself mentally that I think will be very helpful. I plan on using their Run a Half Marathon training plan from the book in the next 6 months. I will hopefully be able t ...more
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
"You already have everything you need to be a long distance athlete. It's mind set not miles that separates those who DO from those who DREAM."

Inspiration. Advice. Wisdom from two seasoned runners. I loved everything about this book. More so, I loved their easy to read and understand training plans. The main premise of this book is to run for fun. Realize that races are uniquely YOU. You race YOUR last PR not the first place finisher time.

I find myself six-ish weeks away from my third half marat
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“You may not be in the top tier of that race, but as a long-distance athlete, you are fitter, better trained, and more disciplined than 99 percent of the population that has ever lived. Remind yourself of that when you start to obsess about your pace or finish time.

When you stand at the starting line, you join the club. When you stand at the starting line, you earn your membership. Millions dream of being where you are. You are no longer a dreamer. You are a doer.”

“The miracle truly isn’t that y
Carianne Carleo-Evangelist
I really enjoyed this book, despite still having no interest in this distance. I feel like it's geared toward runners like me and it's something I could follow, vs. something geared toward much faster runners. Also like their Q&As with mortals and case studies of same with answers from both John and Jenny where they differed. Solid read, even if not the most polished writing. ...more
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is probably a good starter book for people preparing for a first half marathon or marathon. I enjoyed Bingham's honesty as he shares his personal training mistakes with humor throughout the book and the fact that he is definitely not pretentious. I guess because the book was cowritten, some sections seemed redundant, like they couldn't decide whose paragraph to include so they added them both. I'm still fairly new to distance running and was hoping for them to go into more depth with c ...more
Merri Su
Sep 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: first-time marathon/half-marathon-ers
Solid advice, though a bit distracting in the switching back and forth between two authors. As an editor, I think this could have been handled better.

I like that there are lots of plans and plenty of solid advice. I'm not a first-timer, so I didn't really learn much *new*, but I did enjoy and benefit from the review. What I did learn more about was what to do after the marathon/half-marathon to recover, both mentally and physically (I especially liked that their training plans in the back of the
Bill Sleeman
Aug 08, 2012 rated it liked it

This was an okay book - I've read a few books on the topic now as I prepare to "check off" an item on my personal bucket list and most of the advice tends to be repeated. One aspect of this book that I thought was helpful and is stressed more than in some of the others is the walk/run approach. While I have no plans to walk I know many folks do and it was good to read how some folks have worked that into their successful preparation for a marathon. Good background reading but nothing that an exp
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 50-books-in-2009
I enjoyed the book. I think it will be a very helpful resource for my training. I didn't agree with everything said in the book, especially in the gear/gadgets section. In the later section of the book, the tone seemed to change. While I think the authors' love of running came through the entire time. The latter half of the book, the tone changed slightly and I got the impression they were talking more to people who weren't starting out from ground zero but to those who were already running. ...more
Alex Herrera
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it

"Are you willing to take the time to train, prepare,and change your lifestyle?"

This simple yet (as I have now learned) profound question weaves itself throughout the book. The authors take you on a journey from the beginning question, why do you even choose to run, to invaluable advice for your training and preparation. They do this while sharing personal anecdotes and testimonials that connect you to this elite club you've always admired, the long distance runners.
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running
This was a very inspiring book that made me feel that, even as someone that runs an 11-minute mile, I could train for and run a marthaon if I set my mind to it! Includes training programs for walking, run/walk, and running both a half and a full marathon. Programs seem reasonable and, dare I say it, manageable.
Dec 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fitness-health
Great for beginners and intermediate runners who have never participated in an actual race. It had helpful information about pre-race preparation, race day preparation and during the race nutrition. After reading this and completing a half marathon I would probably want something more in depth though to take my training to the next level.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd love to say this book helped me train for my first Half Marathon. I'm two weeks away from my first Half Marathon and I didn't read this book early enough in my training!! However, I found this book to be helpful and VERY encouraging. Heck, I might even consider run/walking a full Marathon someday because the last chapter was totally motivating. Wish me luck! ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Good book for folks looking for motivation and general information. A good read for beginners or first timers, but lacks a bit of specifics on some topics, such as what exercises would be good to take up if one does some sort of strength training. Mostly serves as a source for inspiration. If you are a seasoned runner, skip this book.
Mar 28, 2012 added it
I've obviously been reading too many marathoning books, or too many books by the Penguin. It was basically the same info I already knew, but it was still nice to have another voice say, "You know, Holly, a marathon would not be completely impossible....someday." ...more
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good resource ... a lot of common sense stuff that I wouldn't have thought about. People are going to get sick of me over the next 20 weeks ... don't care. First marathon coming up on November 5th :) ...more
Kumari de Silva
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The title says it all. This book is a great guidebook for the regular person who would like to become a distance runner. Yes, even if you think doing a 10k is "distance" you can learn a lot from this book. As for me, I was a runner when I was younger, but I had never gone further than 8 miles at a time and that was only the one time. After being diagnosed with Cancer I decided to take up running again.

Since I did not know if I was going to get better I made some sort of stupid decisions, like r
Quite a good book. Informative, detailed, actionable, and often quite funny.

Published in the early aughts, the book contains two bits of outdated info that I caught: smartwatches weren’t around yet when they wrote, and, contrary to their suggestion to stay away from heat (hot showers, heating pads, jacuzzis) after endurance events, I’m reading interesting things these days about heat actually being good for recovery.

But, really, this is a lovely, informative, generous book meant for new enduranc
Stanley C Cheeseman

We are planning on doing a half marathon next year nd bought this book. It gives advice on many things to do and what not to do. I've done other types of endurance events and can now understand why I was getting injured and hurting myself with poor training techniques. Excellent advice and examples. A real motivator at the end. I will probably re-read the last chapters again right before the event.
Lauren Neverske
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was very informative for someone who has an interest or desire to run long distance. I really enjoyed the authors personal stories and their honesty about their successes and failures. Very encouraging book. I do wish there was a bit more on nutrition during training, but otherwise very good read.
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for anyone wanting to start out with distance running and encouragement that anyone can do it. The book covers many topics that someone would normally have to figure out for themselves. The biggest issue with the book is that it covers such a large time span in someone life that it’s almost something that you’d have to read piecemeal or repeat parts.
Colby Woodis
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2021
Since the shutdown happened in March 2020, I’ve really taken a liking to running. I would have never guessed that I would turn into a “runner.” But, here I am. John and Jenny convey that story well in this accessible guide to running/walking a half or full marathon.

I really enjoyed getting to hear from their perspectives and learn a couple tips along the way!
Tiffany Tubville
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Encouraging book for runners. I’ve done half-marathons but have been afraid to try the full 26 miles. However, with the different training programs given I think I could do it with the run/walk option. Good advice given for gear, nutrition, avoiding injury, cross-training, and race day prep.
Chad E Spilman
Jul 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read this when I was getting into running and I wanted to be a better, stronger runner. It helped me strategize through the miles. I'm much less of a runner these days, but I'm much more informed of how my body reacts to exercise and running. ...more
Jul 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun book that helped me finish my first marathon.
I have done 13 or so marathons now (I have sort of forgotten the count - LOL)
and hundreds of shorter races. This is a good read for non-athletic types who WANT to run longer distance events. Motivational and fun.
Helen Rodio
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very inspirational. It definitely gave me a lot to think about and consider as I plan and prepare for my first full marathon. It had a lot of sound advice
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lots of good advice for stubborn people who refuse to take rest days and keep getting injured. I may just have to get a copy for my nightstand :)
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
Recommended by my doctor, but a little thin on actual information.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s only a 3 Star because I save 4 and 5 stars for amazing books. I don’t plan on running a half or a full marathon, but a 5K and 10K can seem like a marathon when you’ve never run. Good tips.
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aka 'The Penguin'. John Bingham became well known for his 'The Penguin Chronicles' in Runner's World where he told in detail about his development from couch potato to runner and how that changed his life. ...more

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