Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How to Lose a Marathon, by Joel Cohen

Joel Cohen was an out of shape, lazy guy who got winded climbing the stairs.  In How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter's Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters, he tells the story of becoming an out of shape, lazy guy who successfully finished a marathon.  Cohen, a writer for The Simpsons, fills every chapter with lots of laughs, but he actually gives a pretty decent guide to training for and running a marathon.

I relate to him on so many levels.  He's a guy who couldn't imagine getting up at five something to run.  ("Wait there's actually a 5 in the morning?")  He loves his junk food.  He doesn't have much patience for pretentious runners and their pretentious gear.  He'd rather run alone.  Knowing how hard it would be to find "the perfect match in pace, distance, and disposition," he (like me) chose to "run on my own, lonely and ignorant."

He says he wrote this book because he couldn't find any books for the "beginner grinder runner."  I'm pretty sure if he'd spent ten minutes at he would have found a few dozen.  Nevertheless, Cohen's book is unique.  It's hilarious to read, yet provides actual informative content.  Short of giving a detailed daily running plan and meal plan, Cohen's book is a great starting point for training for a marathon.

The humor is solid and wide-spread.  It's even clean; I wouldn't have problem with kids reading it.  Some pages had as many as three laugh-out-loud lines.  Some just had a chuckle or two.  On average, there were about two chuckles or one laugh-out-loud per page.  But the important measure is the one I use for any running book I read: Does How to Lose a Marathon inspire me to get out and run?  Yes, it does.  Let's go!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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