50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days

May 22, 2014

Welcome to another Rest Day Book Review! Today’s review is of: 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days — and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance! – by Dean Karnazes with Matt Fitzgerald, 304 pages.

Dean Karnazes 5050

As it sounds, this book recounts Dean’s North Face Endurance Challenge, which involved him running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. Some were formal races, but most were either recreations of race routes on a different day with a police escort. I read this book when I was first getting into running and it was fascinating to realize anyone could (or would) run 50 marathons in 50 days. It still is! He does touch on this type of concept in the start of the book when he talks about the difference between a “jogger” and a “runner” being that the jogger still has control of his running habit. Runners have a passion that often appears like an addiction, which I thought was hilariously accurate.

The advice in this book is fairly basic, but it’s why I liked it (Eat a good diet, take ice baths). I read it way back when I first started running marathons. It is, as with the other books, not a how-to book on how to run 50 marathons in 50 days. Which is great, because I’m never going to try that! The advice he gives applies just as much to people running “just” one marathon at a time ;) Now that I have more experience, I will tell you that I don’t think you’ll find any amazing advice here that you can’t find in other books. But it’s still very much worth the read. AND – he doesn’t try to woo you to a specific diet or sell you any products. He has changed his diet in recent years, but it was hilarious to read about him eating an entire pizza while out on a long run (you just gotta tell the delivery guy which corner you’ll be running by…and fold the slices lengthwise to eat them.)

Dean is a really nice guy, his humility and kindness really do come out in the book. The only criticisms I have of him are somewhat typical of my criticisms – he’s not “average” though he claims to be. According to him he just stepped out one day for a long run and ran for hours. Not average. For the records, he credits a lot of his success to being Greek, haha. The only real criticisms I have heard about him, which are summarized on his Wikipedia page, is that he’s actually fairly average in terms of running, and that many people can do what he does but they just don’t advertise it. To which I say “Good for them, I’m still impressed.”


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