As part of my preparation for June's big race, I've been browsing some books on marathoning from the local library. In general, I find these books rather absurd. First of all, these books are typically written by some incredibly amazing runner with an absurd amount of natural talent. Take for example, the book Run Your First Marathon by Grete Waitz. In 1978, Grete was hired as a "rabbit" to set a quick pace for the 1978 New York City marathon. Having never run more than half the distance in her life, it was fully expected that Grete would drop out early. Instead, this Norwegian superstar sped on to not only win the marathon, but also break the world record by a full two minutes.
Gee. Don't prepare, run hard, then become a world champion. I wonder if this strategy will work for me?
When these books aren't bewildering you with all their jabber about 2:30 marathons, they generally bore you with advice that is downright obvious. In some ways this is understandable: running is a rather simple sport. As material for an entire book, there really isn't that much to say, particularly if you're not racing competitively. In my opinion, there are only a few basic guidelines a beginning marathoner needs to follow: train consistently as you gradually progress to longer distances, get good shoes, stay hydrated and fueled, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
But in case you're still concerned, you could always purchase The Beginner's Guide to the Marathon and Half Marathon where you will read the following "Tip from an elite athlete" on page 26. "To keep [Olympian Jill Savege's] clothes fresh, she washes her quick-drying fabrics regularly. 'The material is great, but it is highly prone to capturing body oils and making you unpopular in close quarters.'"
Wash my clothes, or else I'll stink. Gee. Sure wish I'd thought of that.
Maybe running shrinks your brain...