Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Marathon Training

If you don’t run, you probably have no interest in this post, so you may want to skip it.  I would love it if you read it, but I understand.  I am a bit crazy about my passion.  Make sure to check back later today or tomorrow for a new gluten-free post.



It is true that I am only training for a half marathon (or 2) right now, but I have have trained for a full marathon twice now and actually ran & completed one of those.  In case you are new to Gluten-Free is Life, I will share a little of my running background:

I have also done a couple of smaller races in there, but in regards to the book I am reviewing, I have some experience in regards to marathon training.  The book is written by David A. Levine and Paula Petrella.  I love how the book is laid out, so you can easily pick up where you left off or pick & choose what you want to read & learn about.  More about the book & authors:

According to the rulebooks, a marathon is 26.2 grueling yet exhilarating miles. Millions of people around the world run marathons, and many more dream of doing so. But for every runner—novice as well as veteran—marathons require training, and plenty of it. Certified Marathon Coach David Levine and dedicated marathoner Paula Petrella know how to get anyone in shape for the race and pace beginners through every step of the process. In clear, jargon-free language, The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Marathon Training presents a comprehensive training program, including such key items as:

•       Choosing the race that best suits the runner
•       Understanding applications, fees, and qualifying heats
•       Setting a daily fitness training schedule, stretching, and running to achieve personal goals
•       Dealing with injuries and other physical conditions
•       Selecting the right equipment
•       Staying in peak shape with diet and lifestyle tips
•       Creating independent training strategies
•       Psyching for race day

In addition, The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Marathon Training includes dozens of instructional photos and illustrations, specific strength-building exercises and practical advice for both men and women.
About the authors:

David A. Levine (Los Angeles, Calif.) is a certified Coach, Level Two, with USA Track & Field and Level One with USA Triathlon, both subsidiaries of the US Olympic Committee.  A three-time Ironman and thirteen-time marathoner, Levine coached and organized the City Of Angels Half Marathon training group, now USA Marathon Training, for two seasons, leading 90% of the experienced runners to achieve a personal record (PR).  With triathlon as a passion, Levine coached a Team-In-Training triathlon group, with similar positive results, and proudly helped his Sony Tri Team.  For seven years, he has been coaching weekly track workouts as Coach for the LA Running Club.  For nine seasons, he was a Pace Leader with the 1,600 member LA Roadrunners, where he has helped on the coaching advisory committee, for the past two years.  Levine has also been a published features writer for numerous publications, including magazine cover articles and newspapers.

Paula Petrella (Los Angeles, Calif.) is a writer, photographer, and runner who has trained in both the Galloway method and with the LA Roadrunners for marathons in Washington, DC and Los Angeles.  With over 20 years in the film and television industries, she has served as a script consultant to actors and producers, and as a nonfiction consultant in academia. As a long-time member of the Santa Monica Trail Runners Club, she was invited in 2001 to photograph Trail Running: From Novice to Master, written by Stan Swartz, the club’s founder. She also appeared as a runner in a trail running video for a popular Los Angeles-area cable show. The video is embedded in the club’s home page at  Paula’s photographic work has also appeared in Music Connection magazine.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Marathon Training
ISBN: 9781615640584, May 2011, $18.95
Authors: David A. Levine (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Paula Petrella (Los Angeles, Calif.)

In addition to sample marathon training plans, there is also a sample half marathon training plan.  There are 3 levels of plans – beginner, intermediate & advanced.  The plans max out at 20 miles before tapering, where some other plans I have seen max out at 22 miles.  The stretches described in the book have photos to make them easy to follow.  Some people stretch before & after a run; I stretch after.  I heard in a symposium that I attended a few weeks back that there is no evidence that stretching before running helps to prevent injury.  In fact, it can be dangerous if your muscles aren’t warmed up.  So, if you want to stretch before running, make sure to warm up for 5-10 minutes first.  What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another, so you may have to play around with what works best for you. 

This is a great resource for someone who is just starting to marathon train.  This book can be found online or in many book stores across the US.  It is even available in e-reader format ($9.99). 

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