Book Review: The Non-Runner’s Marathon Guide for Women by Dawn Dais

Dais, Dawn. The Non-Runner’s Marathon Guide For Women: Get Off Your Butt and On With Your Training. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 248 pages.

Here’s what I got from this book: A woman decides she wants to run a marathon. She’s been a couch potato and yet is emotionally challenged to get off her butt. So, she starts training and writes a book about her experience. Pages 5-15 contain the training schedule, which looks like a typical marathon training schedule…start slow, build up, and enjoy your rest days when they happen. After that, I’d skip right to the Appendix where she gives you checklists for accessories and for marathon day. The actual book is humorous and slightly insightful: she did, after all, finish the marathon! It was inspirational to my client who graciously let me borrow the book. I found the author’s humor slightly crude and repetitive. My number one complaint is that she didn’t seem to care about post-marathon fitness. She kept talking about how she wanted to get back to her couch potato lifestyle after the marathon was over. Personally, I’d rather never run a marathon and live a healthy lifestyle for as long as I have on this earth. There’s value in setting goals and accomplishing them, but don’t give up once you’ve finished. There’s always room for improvement. And, if you want to run a marathon, then you should do it! I just don’t have any desire to run more than a half marathon, personally.

The Valuable Stuff:

Appendix A: Your Accessory Checklist (page 225-226)

  • Clothes: Shoes, Running Shorts, Sports Bra, Socks, Shirts, Hat
  • Stuff: Walkman or iPod, Water-Holder…, Watch, Gatorade, GU, BODYGLIDE
  • The Most Important Stuff: Journal, Camera – Still and Video, People

Appendix B: Your Marathon Checklist (page 227-228)

  • Running shoes and socks
  • Running Outfit
  • Race number and safety pins
  • Water to drink before
  • Clothes to wear over your Running Outfit if it’s cold before the race
  • Sports drink
  • GU-type stuff
  • Baggies
  • Toilet paper
  • Ibuprofin
  • Money
  • A bag of clothes to change into after you’re done
  • Post-marathon munchies

Favorite Quotes:

“I decided to train for a marathon because I wanted to know my limits. I wanted to see if I were capable of a physical activity that involved more than reaching reeeeeally far for the remote control. As I trained for the marathon, it became apparent that, yes,/ my limits were much higher than I’d ever expected, but at the same time my threshold for pain remained quite low” (98-99).

“…lying on the grass, wondering if my heart was going to explode, I was able to muster a smile–I knew I had just pushed myself past my perceived limits, limits I had long ago accepted only because I wasn’t motivated enough to try to do more” (99).

“Realize that each run is a goal in itself, so in essence you cross a goal off your list every time you kick off those sweaty running shoes. Take a moment after each run to cool down and acknowledge what your body has accomplished” (123).

Other Resources Mentioned at the End of the Book (pages 243-245):

  • Train to End Stroke:
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training:
  • National AIDS Marathon Training Program:
  • Children’s Tumor Foundation’s NF Marathon Team:
  • Arthritis Foundation Joints in Motion:
  • Avon Walk for Breast Cancer:
  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation 3-Day Walks:
  • Largest U.S. Marathons:
    • ING New York City Marathon
    • LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon
    • Honolulu Marathon
    • Los Angeles Marathon
    • Marine Corps Marathon (Washington, D.C.)
    • Boston Marathon
    • Coca-Cola Zero Rock’n’Roll Marathon (San Diego, CA)
    • New Las Vegas Marathon
    • Twin Cities Marathon
    • Walt Disney World Marathon
    • P.F.Chang’s Rock’n’Roll Arizona Marathon (Phoenix, AZ)
    • Portland Marathon (OR)
    • Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth, MN)
    • Citizen’s Bank Philadelphia Marathon
    • Chevron Houston Marathon

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