I picked up The (Non)Runner's Marathon Guide for Women last month after finishing Claire Kowalchik's book about running for women (you can read the review here). I wanted a running book with which I could better relate. I'm a super slow runner and didn't even make it onto any of the charts in Kowalchik's book, which was a little defeating for me. So when I read about Dais' book, which tracks her struggle through training for a marathon, while also giving great tips for people who have never really run before, or haven't run much at least.
I loved this book because I related so well with the things Dais talked about. She talked about feeling discouraged because every time she went out for a run she would end up right back where she started. She also describes her first trip to the running store where she learned about the importance of shoe fit, spandex and bodyglide (which I had never heard of until reading this book). She includes some great stretches, as well as a 20-week training schedule for both a marathon and a half marathon. She also leaves space for journaling, and for answering questions she poses, such as "Why are you running this marathon?" and "What was life like before you began training and after"?
An example before and after from her book:
Before: Do the rainbow of fruit flavors in Skittles count?
After: Pills the size of marshmallows washed down with one of my thirty-two gallons of water.
For me, the best parts of this book were the personal journal entries from when Dais was training for her own marathon. Dais' perspective is so true to how I think most new runners feel that it's hard not to laugh out loud (I couldn't read this book in public because I kept snorting at her writing). Here's a sample:
"This weekend my little calendar o' runnin' said that I had to run sixteen miles. Is it me or is this number just getting ridiculous? Sixteen miles. What possible reason could one ever have for running sixteen miles? After about Mile 10, just call a cab and save yourself a lot of effort. Hell, call me. I'll give you a lift. Believe me, it's just not worth it. One fun fact about sixteen miles - that's about how far away hell is. I know you'd think it'd be farther away, at least as far as Fresno. But you'd be wrong. Actually, I think I hit hell around mile 14, so it's an even shorter trip."
If you're new to running, or even if you've been running a long time, I highly suggest picking up Dais' book because it'll remind you of what it was like when you started and why you run. It'll also remind you that you're not the only one who suffers for running. If you are training for a marathon though, I suggest picking up some other books as well. Dais' book is great for moral support, but I think there are some others out there that would add a little more technical support, unless of course you have your own personal trainer.
P.S. I'm giving away a signed copy of this book over at my running blog, so if you're interested in reading it, hop on over there and leave a comment on the interview I did with Dawn Dais. Thanks!
This book has also been reviewed by:
Laura at Reading Reflections