Book Review: Overthinking the Marathon by Ray Charbonneau

Book Review: Overthinking the Marathon by Ray Charbonneau

Overthinking Marathon CoverOkay, so you've got your trusty RunAmocs, you're realizing that running properly makes you feel great and maybe you've even started entering some races. Maybe you're considering pushing yourself to do some longer races. Maybe you could even do... a marathon?

Does the idea of training for a marathon seem daunting, or even unimaginable to you? If so, then Ray Charbonneau's new book will give you a unique glimpse into the world of life before the big race.

Overthinking the Marathon is Charbonneau's third book, and it chronicles a blog he kept during the six months of training and preparation leading to his entry in the 2012 Cape Cod marathon. Now in his fifties, Charbonneau has completed some 20 marathons to date, and the challenges of getting ready for the Cape Cod race emerge through every aspect of his life.

"It's not ALL about running."

Those were Charbonneau's words when he sent me a copy of his book, and he was right. Overthinking the Marathon isn't a training manual (though it does include tips on running routine and injury prevention), nor is it a cliché Rocky-like story of an underdog who beats all odds to come out on top at the end. Instead, it offers a very realistic insight into the life of a self-proclaimed "older guy" as he works his marathon training into the commitments of everyday life, which include avid cycling, tackling responsibilities at home, having fun with friends and dealing with family disasters. Unlike running stories in which the main character has all the time in the world to train and do nothing else, Charbonneau's tale shows what marathon preparation looks like for an average person who actually does more in life than run around the clock.

The story also includes its lighthearted quirks, which make the story fun and interesting. Seeing a bunny in the road is considered a sign of a good day in Charbonneau's family, so he's always on the lookout. And among his regular non-running commitments is a workshop for glove puppet performances. He even includes a weather magic spell intended to keep hurricane Sandy off the Cape.

Overthinking the Marathon has something for everyone. Experienced runners will undoubtedly relate to Charbonneau's experiences and probably find useful ideas and tips. New marathoners will see how a strict training schedule will affect their lives and discover unexpected needs to consider, such as last minute schedule changes or gear failure.

If you're interested in reading the book, we encourage you to purchase your copy soon. Charbonneau will be running the 2013 Boston Marathon as a sighted guide for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind‘s Team with a Vision, and 50% of the book's proceeds from before April 15, 2013 will be donated to the cause.

Overthinking the Marathon is currently available in paperback for $14.99 or as an ebook for $3.99.

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