Stuart Weir writes about athletes who compete for England, Scotland and Wales, as well as any other athlete he so desires. He wrote about Mara Yamauchi when she competed and now, as a commentator and writer, he continues to write about her exploits, including this book, Marathon Wisdom, which he highly recommends. 

Mara Yamauchi Marathon wisdom Part 2  

The material in the book is arranged in 42 short chapters on different aspects of marathon running and preparation, one for each kilometer.  It is a book to read from cover to cover or to dip into.  Here are some of the pearls of wisdom it contains:

The three important inputs for marathon runners

1 training of the appropriate quality and quantity

2 rest especially sleep

3 fuel in the form of food and drink    

“Throughout my marathon career, I always tried if to strike a balance between optimizing nutrition and the physiological fact that body weight is a major factor in marathon performance.  This is not an easy balance to strike.  ” 

“Rest is so critical to performance and recovery from training.  “

Having lived for several years in Japan she developed this interesting pre-race breakfast: Mochi rice cakes, miso soup, a boiled egg, small amounts of vegetables, and orange juice.  The menu provided carbohydrates, salt, fluid, and protein to reduce the glycaemic index of the mochi and a little fiber.   

“Performing a recon of the course before a major race was one activity that I discovered boosted my confidence immeasurably.”

“Mental barriers are entirely normal.  Acquiring the ability to handle them is a skill that can be learned with self-awareness.  Breaking them down is incredibly liberating”

 “Even in a solitary activity, there is always a team element.  Always do your best to support, encourage and motivate people around you.  Of all the insights in this book, this is the one that I wish I had worked at much harder  “

“After every major race, you take time to stop reflect, and review and give yourself credit when it is due. Learn to judge a performance for yourself, honestly and objectively.”

“Progressing in distance running requires the optimization of a number of factors…  Rest, recovery, sleep, nutrition, hydration, injury management and mental strength – the usual suspects – also play a central role.”

“When things are going badly, simply do your best.  A positive outcome is still possible and doing your best will make that more likely.  “

“I feel that improving a runner’s work life since work takes up so much time, can be the best way to help them improve.”

“Racing is such a small part of the total time we spend running that it’s a pity if training is viewed solely as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Charles van Commenee took me to one side and told me to enjoy the journey, not only the destination.  He was completely right; you have to enjoy every day, every step, every building block along the way not only the competition that comes at the end.

“Retiring from the elite competition and the years that followed were a lonely, dark and frightening experience that I never want a repeat…  Being able to talk to other former athletes who have struggled after retirement and have empathy and understanding of my experience was such a blessing.”

It is a book that will help marathon runners at any level.

Marathon wisdom, Mara Yamauchi, Meyer and Meyer Sport, 2022

ISBN 9781782552451




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