If they gave National Book Awards for public service, as they do for the Pulitzer Prize, "The Runner's Rule Book" (Rodale, $17.99, 166 pages) by Runner's World online editor Mark Remy would be a shoo-in simply by virtue of Rule 2.18:
"Line up Where You Belong."
Remy's rant - more of a snarky reminder, actually - in this case concerns those misguided or "delusional" runners who line up at pace-per-mile markers way faster than they are capable of running in big races. If runners would follow this rule, it would cut down on post-start mishaps, especially in shorter races like 5Ks, and a lot of irritation by those trying to get around the slower runner.
The book is chock full of such serious nuggets of information that those relatively new to running may have missed and those experienced racers will recognize and nod in acknowledgment.
Perhaps the best part are whimsical, almost Seinfeldian observations such as Rule 2.36, "Postrace Bagels Must Be Dry and Taste Like Aspirin" or Rule 2.38, "Race Photos Never Look Good."
Those training for Dec. 6's California International Marathon might want to heed a rule that, when violated, really rankles me for some reason: "Save the Race Shirt for Postrace." Writes Remy: "Wearing the official race shirt during the race is like wearing a U2 T-shirt to a U2 concert. Not cool. Don't do it."
The real fun comes in arguing with fellow runners about accepted tips such as ice baths after long workouts (Remy shoots that down), the virtues or lack thereof of stretching (Remy: noncommittal) and naming your favorite running routes (an enthusiastic Remy thumbs-up).