cover image Master the Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide for Women

Master the Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide for Women

Ali Nolan. Penguin Books, $17 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-14-313548-7

“The marathon is chess, not checkers,” writes Runner’s World contributor Nolan in her debut, a must-read guide that focuses on “what makes female runners different.” Women, she notes, have smaller hearts than men, for example, which impacts oxygen intake levels, and they tend to run differently, as well, more often striking with the heel than landing mid-foot. Nolan’s training plan begins with a two-month “Base Training” program to begin upping mileage and gaining strength (“Women can benefit and see faster results when they integrate a targeted strength program into their marathon training plan”) and a pre-base plan for beginners. “In-Season Training,” meanwhile, features a four-month itinerary focused on increasing intensity and strengthening hip flexors (often tight in women), and “The Taper” covers the three weeks before race day during which runners will decrease mileage for recuperation. Nolan also suggests strategies to strengthen the mind-body connection and overcome mental blocks (call a running buddy, do some race-day visualization), because “what can hinder a race is our mind getting in our way.” Throughout, the author is frank and encouraging: “Every mile you put into it will give you something in return.” Women looking for a guide to long distance running need look no further. (Sept.)