Review: How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters

How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter's Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters
How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters by Joel Cohen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would read a book about Joel Cohen losing at anything. Hey, losing isn’t just about races and board games anymore! There are lots of things you can lose at, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write a winning book!

That last line was so cheesy that it would make a great quote for the back of the book. Mr. Cohen, when you are ready to print this up in some sort of anniversary edition, call me. You can use my quote for a small fee, which is still an outrageous fee for someone with no level of fame or literary qualifications, but still.

I’d recommend this book to runners of all types. I’m on the experienced side, and I loved it. It’s not so basic that it’s boring, and it’s hilarious.

I’d also REALLY recommend this book to newbies. There are a lot of books out there about running, and they seem pretty heavily skewed to current runners or “beginners” who are still in decent shape when they get started and can run like 6 6-minute miles back to back. There’s not a lot out there for non-runners to chew on. Except pizza. Which is a joy to chew on for runners and non-runners alike, so it’s really not in competition with this book.

I also really liked that the book wasn’t preachy. You get a lot of these running books that talk a mile a minute (see, I told you the pace was too fast) about the joy and the zen and a lot of other 3-letter words about running, when the reality is that getting into a running habit might be better suited to words of 4 letters, possibly even more letters if those letters strengthen the swear power of 4-letter words.

This book doesn’t spend a ton of time preaching the gospel of running, which I appreciated. I like to run, I see benefits from running, but man, is there anything more boring than a whole book that’s up on the high horse about the greatness of running? It’s like, if you love running so much, what are you even doing on that horse anyway? Just run everywhere.

You’ll like this book if you’re a runner. And you’ll like this book if you’re a non-runner. Most importantly, I think you’ll find this book encouraging and helpful if you’ve been thinking about running or had some fits and starts. It’s a great book, and although I’d rather have Christopher Mcdougall by my side if there was some sort of situation that required someone to run and get help to save me from a disaster (I JUST saw a sign that 7-11 is having a “Bring Your Own Container” Slurpee day, which seems awesome and destined for disaster when I try to rig a full-size trash barrel as a backpack), I’d rather chat about running while at a party with Joel Cohen. Partially because I think it’d be funnier, and partially because I don’t think we’d talk about it long, and partially because I feel like we would be really good at enabling each other when it came to the party snacks.

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