The closest I’ve ever come to running a marathon is the seven block walk to my library, sitting in the library for an hour or so, and then walking the seven blocks back home. Does that count as running a marathon? How about if you consider I’m holding at least a book or two as I walk not to mention my Kindle? Does it count as running a marathon now? No? How about of I say that I kind of walk fast and it only takes a “short” ten minutes to walk the seven blocks; a little longer if there’s snow and ice on the ground, or if it’s summer and it’s too hot out (I hate the heat), or if I stop and window shop a little? Okay, I never ran a marathon or even thought about running one. Why would someone torture their body into doing something like that? Why run 26.2 miles when there are buses?

Apparently, Joel Cohen, author of “How To Lose A Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters” felt the same as I do until one day, in the midst of some kind of fever I assume, decided he wanted to start running. Here’s this pudgy Jewish guy (his words not mine) who loved his couch and cushy job as a writer for The Simpsons where his biggest concern was which of the many snacks to choose from at the job. Sounds like a good deal to me but Joel ruined it all by wanting to run.

In this pretty funny book, Joel takes readers on his step on step journey explaining how he got himself out of the house at 5:00 AM and started running. Let me say what I like about this nonfiction book is that Joel did run a marathon but he did not win it. Don’t expect a winning “Rocky” moment here although Mr. Cohen trained just as hard as Rocky did.

He had his inspirations to keep him training like vowing to beat Oprah’s marathon’s race time. I’ll keep you guessing instead of telling you if he did or not.

Now, I know not everyone wants to train for this torture or even partake in an adventure like this but it was fun and pretty interesting to understand what goes through someone’s mind when a decision like this is made.

Mr. Cohen tells readers how he decided on which marathon to run and why he didn’t want to partake in most of them. There’s quite a few marathons including one that has to do with burrows. He also tells us what to avoid while training like not to fall and get embarrassed by a good soul who keeps asking, loudly, if you’re alright.

His favorite part of training was when he finished running for the day. Joel hated getting up in the morning but felt like he achieved something when he ran his ten miles a day. Heck, if I could walk ten miles a day I’d also feel as if I achieved something. Have no fear fellow couch potatoes, I’ll never walk more than a mile, maybe two miles a day at most, unless the zombies come and I’m forced to walk further. Even then I might not. I’m pretty sure I can hide from some slow poke zombies. I think.

Anyway, Joel also tells us that you have to eat while running to keep your calories up. Apparently you use up a lot of calories running. I have to take Mr. Cohen’s word for that because I’ll never know if that’s true or not. If you do want to run and eat the author will inform you about some “yummy” gel like substance that you can pin to your running shorts and just squeeze the gel into your mouth and you run along.

If you are considering training to run a marathon I ask you to please tell me why but if you are actually thinking of running “How To Lose A Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters” is a pretty good book. Mr. Cohen tells you that it isn’t easy to do and most likely you won’t win, but I guess it can be fun to try.

But if you’re more like me who rolls their eyes at runners asking them as they run past you, “Hey bub, what’s the rush? Where’s the fire? You have somewhere important to be in the next five minutes?” the book is enjoyable and you will get a chuckle or two out of it. Oh, and there are pictures in it, sketches that the author drew himself. A Picasso he isn’t, he’s better at writing than drawing.

It’s short enough to get through in a day or so, about 170 pages. It wouldn’t be wasting your time to read it even if you sit on your couch eating some chips. I’ll never tell Mr. Cohen about your love for the couch.


3 thoughts on “How To Lose A Marathon: A Starter’s Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters by Joel H. Cohen

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