“Everything you ever wanted to know about running…is in a different book.”
Running in Real Life is not your average running book about how to run. It’s a book about the highs and lows of very real running.
Running in Real Life by Jenna Pogue is a selection of stories, anecdotes and race reports that paint a picture of what running is really like when you are not completely perfect at it, and mostly do it to socialise and eat cake. If it does answer any questions for you, it is likely to be ones you never knew you wanted to ask, such as:
- Where do most runners choose for a wild wee?
- What is a NENDY?
- Are there any pitfalls to naked running?
This book doesn’t expect you to be a superstar athlete and, in return, it doesn’t tell you how to be one. It just wants to let you know that if you run, then you are a runner, regardless of your pace, ability or the length of your shorts.
Oh, and it also serves to warn you about accidentally flashing race photographers, avoiding dodgy portaloos, and why citrus fruit is not a good choice for your pre-race breakfast!
About the author
Author Jenna Pogue is a runner with Massey Ferguson Running Club in Coventry. Her book, Running in Real Life, is a light-hearted collection of stories, anecdotes and race reports from and about real runners. Her observations portray the real side of running: the highs and lows; the embarrassing bits; the hard bits; and the fun bits. It’s been described as “a no-holds-barred account of the highs, lows and all the funny bits about what running is really like when you are not “perfect” at it – as social media sometimes makes you believe you should be”.
Jenna is not a professional writer – the book is a personal project that she started in the pandemic when running clubs had to wind down for a time and we felt quite disconnected from our running friends. She says: “I had always sworn to my clubmates that I would write down all of our running “shenanigans” one day and this seemed like a good time to bring it all together. I started it in April 2021 and I finally self-published it last week. It has received a good reception so far, selling almost 130 copies at my launch night and on Amazon. ”
This book deals with pretty much everything to do with running – getting started, races, parkrun, kit, injury, motivation – and it does so in a very real way, without glossing over the bad bits. In fact I’d say the worst bits and the mishaps feature more heavily. The book is split into chapters. At the end of each chapter, there is a race report written by one of Jenna’s clubmates, relating back to the main chapter’s contents. It’s not a how-to book, it’s more of a collection of stories and observations that generally all ring very true for most runners. It is for this reason that I think this book has a very broad appeal.
Jenna writes in a very conversational style, and you feel as though she is talking directly to you. She often asks questions of you, the reader, and so you feel very connected to it.
I was nodding along with quite a lot of the observations in this book, and I feel a lot of runners will connect with Jenna’s writings. Jenna is very much a ‘run-for-fun-and-to-socialise’ runner so a lot of her stories are about her fellow club runners, so it has a lovely, almost joyous, feel to it. It’s clear that Jenna loves being part of her club. Jenna’s sense of humour really comes across well in the book. She has a talent for writing about what she observes without ever feeling like she is making fun of people. The fact that she is so self-deprecating really helps the reader relate to her.
At 298 pages, it’s not a lengthy read, and is very easy to dip in and out of, especially with the way it is structured into chapters and race reports.
Who is the book for?
If you’re looking for technical advice on how to run, this is not the book for you. Jenna does however offer some tips, for example, on rediscovering a lost mojo, and she does answer some frequently asked questions at the end of the book, but it’s all done in a very light hearted, and humorous way.
This is very much a book for your average runner. If you are just starting out, are a club club runner or a parkrunner, or if you enjoy completing races, there is something in this book for you. I challenge you to read this and not find something which amuses you. You will also be nodding along vigorously in parts!
In summary, this is a really fun, light-hearted read about a hobby which we all love so much.
Find out more here
You can find out more about the book here: runninginreallife.com
This book, which was provided free of charge, was reviewed by Michelle Mortimer for UKRunChat.