The Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal

The Incomplete Book of RunningThe Incomplete Book of Running by Peter Sagal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This very short, easy-to-read book has several amusing anecdotes and displays the author’s usual wit. So it’s entertaining enough to earn its three stars. But I felt cheated with this one. I was expecting a book primarily about running, although I knew that the author, the host of a radio show I like, would put a sardonic spin on it. Instead I found the author wrote an ego-driven combination of self-flagellation about his failure as a husband and father and a humblebrag about his running prowess and volunteer work, such as it is. If you’re a huge Peter Sagal fan and are interested in his quasi-memoir, then you’ll probably enjoy this.

The cover is a near clone of Jim Fixx’s iconic work including a photo of a man’s legs wearing running shorts and shoes, so I think it’s fair to assume the average reader, like me, is a runner and most interested in that. I have news for you, Peter; we’re not interested in your marital failure or how fast you run. Nor are we interested in how fat you were and certainly not in your toilet habits. The author is an obsessive runner, a habit (hobby?) that probably contributed to his troubles, and he does not set a good example for other runners to follow. I found his running advice almost entirely wrong. If you want to stay healthy and enjoy running into old age, you should avoid running on pavement as much as possible, rarely if ever enter races, avoid running clubs, and don’t run to the point of exhaustion unless truly necessary, e.g. qualifying for a job-related fitness test. Keeping track of your times, weight, and so on, is fine, and running with a buddy is fine, too, if you can find someone who runs exactly the same pace and distance you do. Otherwise avoid it. And, for Pete’s sake, take care of the “egress” problem he obsesses about before you run.

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