Marathoning Running for Mortals
By John Bingham & Jenny
Hadfield, M.D., C.P.T.
A Regular Person's Guide to the Joy of
Running or Walking a Half-Marathon or Marathon
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.
Marathoning for Mortals, you'll find the courage
to train, the willpower to persevere, and the tenacity to finish one mile after
another. John and Jenny stick with you every step of the way, from your first
insecure thoughts to your last-minute jitters to your supreme joy at the finish
line. In Marathoning for Mortals, you'll find:
training programs to run, run-walk, walk-run, or walk the half-marathon and
The advice you need to physically, mentally, and spiritually reach your
Tips to help you customize your training, buy the right shoes and
and eat the best foods
- Guidance for common motivational, physical, and
John and Jenny an amazing transformative journey where the finish line is just
John "the Penguin" Bingham writes a monthly
column for Runner's World magazine and teaches the basics of
running to adult-onset athletes at his popular Penguin Flight Schools. He is
also the author of The Courage to Start: A Guide to Running for Your
Life and No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of
Jenny Hadfield, M.A., C.P.T., is a fitness expert
who has trained thousands of walkers, run-walkers, and runners of all levels.
Her gentle yet uncompromising approach to training combined with her unique
insights into the human body and mind will help you discover your inner
long-distance athlete. She has qualified for the Boston Marathon and competed
in three Eco-Challenges.
"At the end of every marathon
training run, I recite the Penguin mantra: 'The miracle isn't that I finished,
it's that I had the courage to start.' I thank John Bingham for bolstering my
courage and helping me run, literally, for my life."
Guff, senior producer of ABC-TV's The View
Hadfield is an amazing motivator. She makes regular people believe they can
under-take amazing things -- and then she's there all the way to encourage
them, right down to the finish line. I've never met another coach quite like
--Kathy O'Malley, WGN Radio-Chicago talk show host in training
for her first marathon
The following is an excerpt from the book
Marathoning for Mortals: A Regular Person's Guide to the Joy o
Running or Walking a Half-Marathon or Marathon
by John Bingham & Jenny Hadfield, M.D., C.P.T.
Published by Rodale; May 2003;
2003 John Bingham & Jenny Hadfield, M.D., C.P.T.
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.
There's a story about a hungry man who walks
into the market square with only a pot full of water and a pocket full of
stones. As he sets his pot on the fire to boil the water, a curious crowd
"What are you making?" ask the
"Stone soup," he replies. "I really like
stone soup," he continues, "but some carrots would sure make it better."
Someone produces carrots. "And celery, too;
that makes it better." Soon, he has celery as well. The story goes on, and the
man ends up with a soup complete with vegetables and meat.
Starting a long-distance training program is
a lot like making stone soup. Right now, it may not seem like you have very
much. You may not be in the best shape of your life (and therefore, your
fitness has been "watered down"). You may weigh more than you wish (your pot).
You may even think that your personal genetics ill suit you for long-distance
running or walking (your stones). Well, you've come to the right place.
We haven't found a mortal who couldn't run a
half- or full marathon. You already have everything you need to be a
long-distance athlete. You see, once you decide to run or walk farther than the
10-K (6.2 miles), your quest centers much more on tenacity than talent. Even
the very best athletes at the 20-K, half-marathon, or full-marathon distance
will tell you that the mind-set -- not the miles -- separates those who finish
long-distance events from those who only dream of finishing.
So bring the pot, the water, and the stones.
We'll supply the carrots, celery, assorted other vegetables, and meat. We'll
help you turn your stone soup into a stellar supper.
A Program for Every Mortal
Training books, even the best of them, tend
to try to find the least common denominator among runners and walkers and then
describe formulas that work for as many folks as possible. What we've found, in
observing and coaching thousands of people, is that there is no least common
denominator. Each of us comes with a unique history, a unique biology, and a
unique set of skills and experiences.
That's why you won't find any formulas in
Marathoning for Mortals. This is not a rulebook.
It won't tell you everything you have to do and all the things you mustn't
Instead, you'll find training tools,
training plans, lots of helpful hints, and the wisdom of dozens of
long-distance athletes who have personally conquered the half- and
full-marathon distances. You'll find eight different training programs,
including pure running plans, run/walk plans, and simple walking plans for the
half- and full-marathon distances. But you won't find any formulas. You'll find
only strategies that will help you discover your own course to the finish
We wrote our training programs with the help
of the running and walking community. Rather than try to create a plan that
works well for a few and not at all for most, we've chosen to give you all the
information you need to design a plan that works for you, for your level of
interest and experience, in your life as you have to live it.
So you've never run a step before in your
life? No problem. One of our plans will work for you. You've already completed
a marathon but want to run your next one a little bit faster? We've got a
program that will work for you, too.
You really want to complete a marathon, but
you're worried that your knee pain will act up? We've got a program for that.
You feel silly every time you run but you've always dreamed of going the
distance? We've got something that will work.
It doesn't matter where you're coming from.
It doesn't matter how un-divine your running skills are. It doesn't matter how
low you feel you rank among the ranks of mortals. You can and will become a
long-distance athlete. We promise. We've seen it happen. We've seen mortals of
every shape and size, of every type of fitness background, of every sort of
lifestyle cross the marathon finish line.
You can be one of them. We invite you to
experience the joy that many of us find as the miles we run exceed the miles we
thought we could run.
In Part One, you'll learn everything you
need to know about yourself to get started. Many new long-distance athletes
skip this important first step in their long-distance training programs and
suffer disastrous results as a consequence. Your past injuries, your current
health and fitness status, your lifestyle, and your personality will all help
to determine the best training plan and race goal for you.
In Part Two, you'll discover the method
behind the training madness. Each chapter will teach you about the key workouts
and their sequence and intensity level. These chapters will provide the
blueprint that you need to successfully follow the right training program for
you and to alter that program to fit your personal needs.
In Part Three, you'll find important tools
to help keep your training on track. Injury prevention, cross-training,
nutrition, and gear all help to keep you comfortable, pain-free, energetic, and
motivated to continue to forge ahead.
In Part Four, you'll learn everything you
need to know about the race itself. You'll find out how to motivate yourself
from the start to the finish -- and beyond. From dealing with prerace jitters
to postfinish letdown, we'll take you on a step-by-step journey that will
prepare you for every step to marathon success.
Last but not least, at the end of the book,
you'll find eight different training plans, ranging in distance and difficulty
from walking a half-marathon to running a full marathon. You'll follow the
training program most suited to your background, personality, and goals.
We recommend that you read the entire book
before taking your first step. Then during your training, keep the book nearby.
You will encounter obstacles. You will ask questions. You can return to the
book again and again to help you sort out the causes and cures for aches and
pains and motivation lapses.
This book marks the sum of years of race
expo lectures, training clinics, training programs, and workouts. It is a
compilation of seasoned half- and full marathoners' tips, race directors'
advice on how to tackle a long-distance course, and the questions that we have
heard over and over through the years.
We hope that it serves to guide you
physically, mentally, and spiritually through a life full of race stories and
dreams realized. Once you realize those dreams, we hope you pass this book on
to a friend who shares the same fears, a friend who is looking for that same
glimmer of hope.
Who We Are
We're runners and writers who have conquered
the mystery of the distance, over and over and over again. We've also stood as
witnesses to thousands of others who have also triumphed over their own fears.
We've coached runners from their first steps all the way to the finish
Most people know me by my nickname, "the
Penguin." I earned that nickname by starting my active life at 240 pounds
(about 90 more than I weigh now). As I ran one day, I caught a glimpse of
myself in a storefront window. Unlike the thin, agile runner that I had
envisioned I was, I instead saw a short, fat man waddling down the sidewalk. In
one instant, the Penguin was born.
Since those early days of struggling with an
overambitious spirit and an underambitious body, I've learned that moving that
body with my own two feet has given me more joy, more frustration, and
ultimately more knowledge than anything else I'd ever done. Even the years I
spent as a professional musician and college professor never gave me the
satisfaction that I found in running and walking.
As best as I can figure, I'd be back selling
used cars by now if I hadn't met Jenny at a running camp. Oddly enough, I
attended that camp as a clinician and she as a participant. In time, though, it
was clear that the student was the teacher.
I was not a natural-born runner. I always
felt embarrassed during gym class because I was the slowest kid in the class. I
Instead, I participated in team sports. I
started 16-inch softball when the ball was bigger than my head. Volleyball and
basketball were part of my daily agenda. I ran as a form of punishment. I made
myself run five laps if I missed a serve or ten laps for a missed free throw. I
quickly associated running laps as a negative outcome in life, a payment for
I dreamed of running normally, running as
fast as the other kids and without pain or embarrassment. Every once in a while
I would try to run normally. I'd strap on my new Nike (Forrest Gump)
shoes, set out on the sidewalk, and go. I'd get to the end of the long block
and then hang my head and cry all the way home.
I continued to dream of running normally
right through college and, as a result, earned a few degrees in exercise
physiology. I wanted to teach and coach people how to be active, live active
lifestyles, and enjoy activity.
While interning at GE Medical Systems
Corporate Fitness Center just outside Milwaukee, a few of my favorite coworkers
asked me to train for a local 8-K in Milwaukee called AL'S Run. "How long is an
8-K?" I asked.
When I found out that it was just under 5
miles, I said, "I could never run that long!"
My friends gently guided me through 10 weeks
of training. Every week I ran just a few steps farther than I had run the week
before. Every week my friends would look me square in the eyes and repeat, "I
told you so." "You CAN do this." "It's all in your head," they told me.
On a crisp fall morning in Milwaukee, I
lined up for my first race. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't believe I
would finish. I worried that if I finished at all, I would finish last. Despite
my fear, I found the courage through friendship and camaraderie to try.
Well, I did finish. And I didn't finish
last. As I crossed that finish line, I smiled for the cameras.
I went on to run longer, faster, and
smarter. I found my inner long-distance athlete and ran my way through dozens
of marathons. I even ran fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Yes,
that's right; I, the girl who came in last in gym class, qualified for
the Boston Marathon, the most elite of marathons.
I began coaching runners and walkers in
1993. I created the training company called I Think I Can, and it was a home
for adults wanting to train for and complete half- and full marathons.
Years later I was granted the opportunity to
coach for the world's largest endurance training program, Team in Training
(TNT). I began my journey with TNT in 1997 with the hopes of helping more
people to reach the finish line and, more important, to find a cure for
I eventually decided this is what I wanted
to do with my life and joined forces with my friend Mike Norman to start
Chicago Endurance Sports. CES is a company that trains new and seasoned
walkers, runners, triathletes, and adventure racers.
You see, I am not a collegiate coach or an
elite runner. I'm a mortal, just like you. I'm a woman who has learned through
education, personal triumph, and many people's training stories, questions, and
experiences how to make the transition from mere mortal to long-distance
How We Wrote This Book
Each chapter of Marathoning for Mortals begins with a question
that we've been asked and is followed by an answer that is really a
conversation between John and Jenny. You'll get to hear both of our voices.
You'll get to read where we agree and where we don't. Think of us as the Click
and Clack of the running world. You'll get two perspectives on every issue,
every challenge, and every problem that you might encounter.
You'll come to see, we think, that in some
cases there are no clear answers. Sometimes the answers are elusive even to
those with years of training and experience. You'll also come to see that there
are some unavoidable truths about being a long-distance athlete that the gifted
and the less-than-gifted have to accept.
You'll learn that sometimes enthusiasm is
your biggest asset, and at other times it is your greatest liability. You'll
learn that sometimes less is more, and often less is plenty. You'll learn that
your mind can trick your body and that your body is limited more by your
imagination than by your biomechanics.
We'll be with you every step of the way with
helpful hints from other runners and walkers and our own unique blend of solid
coaching advice and Penguin philosophy. With a combination like that, your
success is all but guaranteed.
Join us now on a journey where the finish
line is just the beginning.
Copyright © 2003 John Bingham & Jenny Hadfield, M.D.,