Whether you’re contemplating your first marathon or rigorously training for your tenth, there’s something for virtually every runner in “Me, You & 26.2: Coach Denise’s Guide to get YOU TO YOUR First Marathon” by running Coach Denise Sauriol.
I had the pleasure of training with Coach Denise in the summer of 2017, when I was gearing up for my fourth marathon—my first in 5 years and my first since having my daughter. I can say that, without a doubt, you’ll never meet anyone more enthusiastic or passionate about running and coaching, nor anyone more encouraging to their runners.
When she told me she was writing a book and gave me a rundown of what was in it, I couldn’t wait to read it. I ordered a copy as soon as it was available.
What’s In It for First-Time Marathoners?
For those debating or training for their first marathon, the 26 chapters and four “Aid Stations” in the book will give you a mix of inspiration, confidence and practical training information.
Where other books focus exclusively on lengthy technical explanations, Coach Denise serves up what many first-time marathoners need most: The belief that they can do it. Each chapter features a photo and first-person narrative from a first-timer that Denise has coached, including Emily who switched to cheerleading in high school just to avoid the cross country team and Max who ran his first marathon at the age of 81. They share their stories about how they got into running, why they decided to run their first marathon and what surprised them most on race day. And for the reader, the overarching message to you is repeated time and again: You can run a marathon.
In addition to the runners’ stories, Coach Denise draws from her own experience running 100 marathons to share advice on training, hydration, nutrition, gear, race day, speed training, staying inspired and more. There are also training plans, a set of dynamic and static stretches, and even a marathon checklist.
The energy that Coach Denise brings to her runners comes through in the book as she weaves in “Deniseisms” like the word SCITED—a term she uses to describe the feeling of being scared and excited at the same time. You’ll also be treated to an array of colorful marathon photos (and funny signs) and chapters like, “Don’t Be a T-Rex” and “This is a Lot of Work for a Free Banana.”
What’s In It for Many-Time Marathoners?
Even with four marathons under my belt, I found a lot of value in the book. Not only did I absorb some much-needed inspiration from the other runners, I also came away with some advice that I can put to good use, such as:
- Foam rolling is a budget-friendly deep tissue massage, not a modern method of torture.
- Train yourself to run on tired legs by running quarter mile repeats after your long runs. (I have not attempted this yet…Soon…)
- Go out for training runs even when the weather is bad because you don’t know what race day conditions will be like.
And my favorite: Find ways to reward yourself for a season of hard training. So going forward, I’m going to stop choking when I see the price of official marathon merchandise at the race expo, and instead, I’ll consider it a well-earned gift for all the hours and miles I’ve logged during training.
Have you read the book? What were your favorite takeaways? Share them below!
Angi is a co-founder of Racertrips LLC and has completed four marathons, including the Chicago Marathon three times and the Rock N Roll Marathon in Washington, D.C. She’s now training for the 2019 Paris Marathon. Although Angi technically ran track in high school, she didn’t become a serious runner until she was in her 30s, when she traveled to Maryland, New Orleans, Orlando and St. Petersburg, FL, to compete in half marathons. It was those travel experiences that helped inspire the idea for Racertrips!