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The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  8,223 ratings  ·  925 reviews

"All runners wonder, at some point or another, why we do what we do. Mr. Inman's explanation is the best I've ever seen. And the funniest. Because he is clinically insane."
-Mark Remy, editor at large, Runner's World, author of The Runner's Rule Book

"He runs. He sweats. He heaves. He hates it. He loves it. He runs so hard his toenails fall off. He asks himself, why? Why do
...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Andrews McMeel Publishing (first published 2014)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  8,223 ratings  ·  925 reviews


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Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Bah. Running. Exercise. Ugh.

The last (and only!) book I read about long distance running was Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and it was ok – Murakami’s writing always has this strangely Zen/peaceful quality to it. But it basically repeated the same thing over and over: he likes running because it makes him feel good about writing, about his life, about everything.

Matthew Inman’s written a similar book, albeit in comic form, in The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why
...more
Jennifer
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Oatmeal is the reason why I started running.

This past weekend, on Saturday, September 20, 2014, I took part in the inaugural Beat The Blerch 10k run. I signed up for it back at the beginning of April with my sister and a friend, since we all love The Oatmeal comics and thought it sounded like fun. The problem was that I had never been a runner.
At all.
Ever.
So, since I didn't want to embarrass myself by having to walk the whole thing, I started training. And now I've actually started to *like
...more
Anne
I don’t know shit about running, but Matthew Inman makes me want to be a runner, like, tomorrow.
Ok, maybe next year.
What? New Year's resolutions, guys! The sooner, the better.



Inman’s mind-body connection inspires me. Running to him is a mental process. He doesn’t want to be one of those who eat only healthy food; he doesn’t want to be a legend. He runs because he has his own nirvana and his body is a tool to get there.



I caught myself laughing out loud at Inman’s metaphors and analogies countl
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James
If What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is Haruki Murakami's manifesto of distance running, then The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances is Matthew Inman's. Inman might not be such a well known writer as Murakami, but he is the artist behind the popular online comic: The Oatmeal. He's touched on his running in previous comics, but this is the first time he's attempted to put together a book's worth of material.

Rather than just reprinting a few comics from his collectio
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Deborah Markus
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pardon the half-arsed review, but it's Christmas day and I'm high on chocolate.

This is a great "Oatmeal" book even if you don't run, but it's terrific if you do. It was nice to have independent verification on the fact that running sucks when you first start, and doesn't start to feel good until you've been moving for at least half an hour. After that, the endorphins start kicking in and you can actually start to enjoy yourself.

It also has some great advice for anyone, like:

Don't try to change
...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one is a winner✨ No, not like his other books.

I love this one for it's most imperfectly perfect illustration, the perfect script and the perfect urgency(or the lack of it!) when the author talks about running and why it means a lot to him and why it could mean a lot to us.
This one is one level up from all the self-help graphic books I will ever read.
It's been planned, designed and executed well.
It's funny and cute and serious at the same time.
It gives a message about how life is difficult a
...more
Crystal Starr Light
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, non-fiction, ebook
Bullet Review:

First book of 2016 was nearly the last of 2015. It was a cheap book through the Kindle Daily Deal and even though my Kindle is "only" the Paperwhite, it still looked decent - more importantly, it was HILARIOUS and oddly enough, encouraging.

May the rest of 2016 bring equally engaging books!
Max
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running
This is so hilarious!!! Relatable humour about (long distance) running, the drawings are just awesome. This book got many chuckles out of me.
Rach
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much. I have a love-hate relationship with both running and food, and Matthew Inman, aka the Oatmeal, seems to capture that perfectly.

If I were to mention the parts I liked, I would just be describing this book, page by page. The heart of this book is the Blerch, of course, that fat little cherub that follows you around and tells you you've run far enough, you have earned a nap, have another piece of cake. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, you can read about the Bl
...more
David Schaafsma
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: running
I have not been crazy about any of the 3-4 Inman books I've read before, but because I am a runner, and have been for several years, fairly seriously, this is my favorite book I have read from him. He's irreverent and profane about something that usually gets written about with such reverence by such sculpted vegan Buddhist crazies living the unattainable life. Inman is a normal guy, overweight, and yet he has run an ultra marathon for 11 hours, and makes a good case for running in part just bec ...more
e.
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars, graphic
As a runner, I can say this book is 100% accurate. Running does suck in the beginning, but it's amazing forever after. There is nothing wrong with running to eat, as I do it all the time and I will hear no ill spoken against my tendency to eat large amounts of tater tots after especially strenuous runs. Everything about this book is: yes, I agree, precisely. I run not to lose weight or meet some sort of socially-accepted vanity requirement, but because it feels awesome both during and after. I f ...more
Kaitlynn
Apr 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
Decidedly, painfully unfunny. Low-effort art, minimal text, and jokes that consist of taking whatever item is trendy on the internet and making lolrandom!!1! strings of text. Non-sequiturs are only really funny if you are 5 years old. When it can't come up with a Family Guy-style cutaway that is tailored to the transitory interests of nerds, it relies on tired stereotypes that have been done to death by better writers. Avoid.
Brenda A
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
Back in high school I was very athletic, tan, and outgoing. I joined cross country because the Spanish teacher and my history teacher teamed up to badger the hell out of me until I caved—which I did, eventually.

It was a great idea. It was tough at first, I was good in team sports but had never had to just run for the sake of running. The first run I did I walked half of it—it was three miles and I made it through about half before I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I built up from there, and after doi
...more
Vishal Katariya
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Inspirational. Off for a run now.
Lena
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beginning Runners
Shelves: nonfiction
Motivational
Earlier this week I was supposed to meet a friend to go over the new restrictive beyond paleo diet her nutritionist gave her, it begins with a five day cleans she had already begun. Unfortunately she had a scheduling conflict and couldn't meet me. I said I'd just work on eating reduction until we could meet. Yesterday, as I read this book I was finishing off a Dominos Fiery Hawaiian pizza; I can merrily eat a whole one in a day. I did not feel bad about this because Thursday I had h
...more
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
I hate running. Always have, always will. I hated running during high school. I hated running during college, whether with a pack of fitness obsessed Adonises who ran circles around me (no, seriously) or while carrying weight on my back. I hated running in the Marine Corps. I hate running because it hurts, particularly my back. It got to the point I could barely walk due to the back pain.

But. Last year I got out of the Marine Corps. And I got fat. I've hit the point in my life where my back roll
...more
Megan
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've read the Oatmeal on and off for awhile now. Enough to know that Inman is hilarious. I've already read his online version of The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distance, so when I saw that he was publishing it into a book with even more comics I needed it. My roommate, the ultra-skinny-vegan-friend-who-runs-for-fun, checked it out from the library and handed it to me, with a boys choir singing in the background and the clouds parting to shed light on this book. Or something li ...more
Ryan
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Matthew Inman is obviously a very funny and clever guy and enjoy following the comics he posts on his Facebook. That being said I don't always agree with what his comics are saying. Surely the thing that makes a comedian or commentator great is the realisation that the person is saying what you've thought all along, they just do it in a more articulate and hilarious way that you ever could. With this book on running, Inman nails it for me, parts of this book made me think THIS is why I run and h ...more
Stephanie
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5/5

This was a pretty funny book with great illustrations. I could relate to a lot of it which was really enjoyable. There were a couple of sections that I didn't really like or get, that didn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the book, but all in all I liked it. I would recommend it to all distance runners... you won't feel so alone or crazy in your running endeavors!
Laura
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Fast enough to read in a 20 minute walk on the treadmill. And while it was occasionally funny, I found it more depressing than inspiring. I'm sure he is being hyperbolic, but it seems like he's barely running fast enough to keep his demons at bay and that makes me sad for him... I guess it is about what you'd expect from The Oatmeal.
Gaby
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I've read this book both as a non-runner and as a runner (if my month of jogging counts). It's funny either way, but it's also preachy and self-congratulatory. You'll like this if you're into The Oatmeal.
Nikhil Dehlan
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Didn't know it was a graphic one. Turned out to be a good one. Runners would correlate with ease. More importantly, anyone looking out to start it would benefit as well. The storytelling ability of author got this mundane seeming read (my friend said this is too specific after the title) into a fascinating one.
The author made no bones about his biases (i.e. gym, perfect diet obsession), but stopped right before making it into a so called self help book, mentioning the early day start regime and
...more
Kristina
Oh, the Oatmeal. Is it possible to not like the Oatmeal? Well, I guess it is because he is irreverent, kind of gross, and uses foul language. But if you have a very good sense of humor and a very high threshold for those types of things, you’d appreciate the Oatmeal. I very much enjoyed The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. I don’t run long distances and have gotten out of the habit of running short distances, but after reading this graphic novel, I’m ready to lace up my s ...more
Peter Derk
Oct 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Ah, yes. The reasons behind exercise. Or, as these tales are more commonly known, The Stuff of Nightmares.

Look, nobody wants to hear about why you exercise. Unless you're Matthew Inman and you can draw hilarious pictures. If you're him, then do whatever the hell you want. You make grammar and spelling fun. Ain't nobody like grammar, but you manage it. You're a magnificent basturd.

There was a section in this book that cataloged some of the people who go to gyms. We had fatsos, skinnysos, fitsos,
...more
Michael
Sep 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Before I started running, I often wondered why people who ran did it. After all, as the old joke goes, you never see a runner smiling widely or looking like they're having much, if any, fun.

Like author Matthew Inman (better known as The Oatmeal from his on-going web-comic), I didn't really understand the appeal of running long distances until I actually got out there and started doing it.

Inman's attempt to explain why he runs long distance is chronicled in The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why
...more
Sumit Singla
Mattheew Inman is clever. I am reasonably clever.

Mattheew Inman is funny. I am reasonably funny.

Mattheew Inman is smart. I am reasonably smart. (Or so I choose to believe)

That's where the similarity ends. While I lead my life enslaved by glowing LED screens, he gets out and runs. He chooses to run from a fat cherubic creature he calls the Blerch and refuses to spend his life on Netflix and bad TV. I choose to feed my blerch and watch the cellulite accumulate around my middle.

With some characteri
...more
Elizabeth
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Do you like The Oatmeal? If your answer is yes, you should read this. As someone who has enjoyed the Oatmeal for a good while, I've meant to read each of the books as they have been released, but I just never get around to it. I'm glad that I finally did.

This book is done in the exact style that makes The Oatmeal enjoyable for me, in terms of humour, writing style, and art style. There were some absolute gems in this book that I will never not find funny. The subject matter is one of the slightl
...more
Joe
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had previously read most of this on Matthew Inman's website "The Oatmeal" but that didn't diminish my enjoyment. This comic is probably the best justification for long distance running I've ever seen. It's also completely crazy but then again so is running long distances, so there you go. I used to be a distance runner and much of Inman's observations ring true. It's a solitary sport where you compete in huge numbers. The horribleness of it perversely is front loaded. If you can run 10 miles y ...more
Nik
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My favourite part was the story of how Japanese bees deal with being attacked by a Japanese hornet. That and the description of the journey from lump to runner were great and, on their own, would've made for a five-star book. What lost my interest and appreciation were the condescension, ableist language, and unnecessary snark. I'm not about insulting others to make myself feel better and at times that's what I felt was happening(view spoiler). ...more
Nina
I love the Oatmeal, and have read nearly every one of his books. Five Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Nose (and other useful guides) still has got to be my favourite, but this one comes in at a close second. I loved getting to know the author better through a series of stories about his running experience. It inspired me to start running myself, which is something that I have wanted to do for a while now but haven't had the motivation to do yet. I definitely think that this one is ...more
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Matthew Inman (a.k.a. "The Oatmeal") is a Web designer and developer from Seattle, Washington. He has been designing Web sites since the age of 13 and is a seasoned programmer, systems administrator, and online marketer. Matthew launched theoatmeal.com in 2009.

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“Crunches are an exercise where you lie on your back and angrily try to head-butt your crotch.” 20 likes
marathon: (noun)
A popular form of overpriced torture wherein participants wake up at ass-o-clock in the morning and stand in the freezing cold until it's time to run, at which point they miserably trot for a god-awful interval of time that could be better spent sleeping in and/or consuming large quantities of beer and cupcakes.
See also: masochism, awfulness, "a bunch of bullshit", boob-chafing, cupcake deprivation therapy
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