Scott Douglas’ Terse Bloviation

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Did You Know a 2:18 Marathon is Faster Than a 2:14 Marathon?

That’s what ChatGPT told me when I spent several hours talking with it about running.

I also learned that it’s too cold to run outside if the Fahrenheit temperature is below 20, but that on such days I can still exercise comfortably outside with a brisk walk.

This Runner’s World article describes my experience.

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Speaking of My Co-Author Mark Coogan…

An exchange with ChatGPT.

Me: Write like Donald Trump about the runner Mark Coogan.

ChatGPT: Let me tell you folks, this Mark Coogan, he’s a tremendous runner, believe me. He’s got legs like nobody else, just incredible. And the way he moves, it’s like watching poetry in motion. I’ve seen him run, and let me tell you, he’s the best. Nobody runs better than Mark, nobody.

And you know what? He’s a winner too, folks. Just tremendous. He’s won so many races, I can’t even keep count. And he’s got a great attitude too, always pushing himself to be the best. That’s what winners do, folks, they strive for excellence. And Mark Coogan, he’s a winner.

But it’s not just his running that’s impressive, folks. He’s also a coach, and a darn good one at that. He’s trained some of the best runners in the world, and they all swear by him. That’s because he’s got the knowledge and experience to take them to the top. And that’s what we need more of in this country, folks, winners like Mark Coogan.

So I just want to say, Mark, you’re doing a fantastic job. Keep up the great work. And if you ever want to come run with me, you just let me know. Because I’d be honored to have someone as talented as you by my side. Thank you, Mark, for all that you do.


New Book Is Newly New (And Published)

cover of Coogan bookI’m happy to share that my latest book, co-authored with Olympian and New Balance Boston coach Mark Coogan, is now out. I think you should buy it.

When Mark asked me to write the book with him in the summer of 2021, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, and not because I wanted to do a book with a fourth U.S. Olympic marathoner. Mark and I have been friends since the 1990s, thanks to him having run at the University of Maryland with two of my running buddies. We’ve even been clubbing in Goteborg, Sweden, together.

More important, Mark is a great coach and all-around swell person who knows how to get people to run their best despite having lots of other demands on their time and energy. (He did coach at Dartmouth and MIT, after all). So I was eager to help Mark present his ideas to ambitious everyday runners.

Although my personal best running days are behind me, I’ve internalized a few key lessons of the book and enjoy my running more than I otherwise would be if Mark and I hadn’t done this book. I hope it helps you, too.

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In The Words of Todd Rundgren

Hello, it’s me.

I think I’m past the GoDaddy/WordPress headaches of the past year-plus. (Although I’ve probably just tempted some hackers by writing that.) So let’s test the waters with just a heads up that Mark Coogan and I have a book, Personal Best Running, coming out in March.

I’ll bore you more with more details later.

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Book Report

January 2022 update: The book was published last June. I think you should buy it.

My site has been under constant attack since I switched hosting to GoDaddy. (GoFigure!) So I haven’t been massively motivated to update it.


The Genius of Athletes, by Noel Brick, Ph.D., and me, is slated for May 2021 publication.

The premise of the book is two-fold. First, successful athletes have a toolkit of thinking strategies that allow them to get the best out of themselves, and they know which tool to use when. Second, once learned, these thinking skills can be used to succeed in everyday life.

It was a treat to work with and learn from Noel, and to show that I can write a book with someone other than an Olympic marathoner.

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The Athlete’s Guide to CBD Comes Out Next Month

That’s two good book covers in two days I’ve posted here.

Here’s a nice overview of the book on the Penguin Random House site. I’ll have more to say closer to publication, scheduled for the last week in September.

Here are several places to buy it (right now!):


Barnes and Noble





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Third Edition of Advanced Marathoning Published

Pete Pfitzinger and I found a way to make doing a third edition take more time than starting from scratch. Perhaps readers will benefit. Lots of updates on nutrition, sport psychology, supplementary training, and, of course, the actual running. We also have a new chapter for older marathoners, and we collected reader comments/tweaks/questions from the first two editions, and replied to that valuable feedback.

I’m a fan of the new cover, and am honored that Molly Huddle wrote the foreword for us.

Order it here.


Articles Page Updated

As the title of this post suggests, I updated my articles page. Have a look!

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Book(s) Report, Part 2

In addition to reading books, I’ve been (and will be) busy writing or co-writing them. Coming in 2019:

26 Marathons, written with Meb Keflezighi. It tells the story of and lessons from each of the 26 marathons Meb raced as a pro.

Paperback release of Running Is My Therapy.

A CBD-for-athletes book, to be published by the same division of Penguin Random House that’s publishing 26 Marathons. This project has come together quickly, and will need to get done quickly! So quickly there’s not yet an official title, or a definite release date.

Third edition of Advanced Marathoning, written with Pete Pfitzinger. Pete and I somehow found a way to make updating the second edition, which was released in 2008, take more time than starting from scratch.

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Third Date

Here’s a (really) short story, called Third Date, that I wrote on a plane. Let me know what you think, even, or especially, if it’s “stick with the how-to running stuff.”


“And I said, ‘Spatial relations aren’t my forte.’ She said, ‘You know, it’s pronounced ‘fort.’ I said, ‘Yeah I know. But I didn’t know you knew. So I said ‘for-tay’ because I didn’t want you to think I’m a snob.’” John regretted telling the story before he’d finished it.

Meghan laughed. Or maybe she chuckled. John took a long draw from his beer glass. He wanted to take a longer drink but didn’t want to have to order another one too soon. Last Thursday Meghan had had two goblets of red wine. This time she was nursing an ale. Did she feel more relaxed with him, less in need of wheel greasing? Or was she starting to shut off the wild-girl side? John wished he’d ordered a martini, which he’d downgraded to wine, then beer, as Meghan ordered her drink.

“What about ‘formidable?’” Meghan asked.

“Hmmh? Sorry, what?”

“How do you say it? ‘ForMIDable’ or ‘FORmidable?’”

“I say ‘formiDABluh.’ Make people think I’m French.”

Meghan smiled a “hinh” and reached for the buzzing phone in her bag. “Sorry, forgot to turn it off,” she said while, it seemed to John, lingering over the screen longer than necessary.

“So you were saying your mom started doing yoga?” John said.

“Yeah, since Trump. She told me, ‘I can’t straighten out the country but I can straighten out my posture.’ I was like, ‘C’mon Mom, where’d you get that?’ She ignored me and showed me how much better she is doing Tree pose on her left foot.”

John had told himself to remember Meghan had texted about her mother doing yoga. He waited. Was that the end of the story?

Meghan pulled off two-thirds of the remaining hunk of bread, then stopped, hovering over the olive oil. “Sorry, that’s a lot.”

John flicked his fingers toward her, saying, “No, no, go ahead.” He liked this sign of her comfort. Or maybe she didn’t care if he thought she was a pig.

“So say you’re watching a movie,” Meghan said. “How far into it do you give it?”

“You mean before giving up?”

“Yeah. The beginning’s sorta there, you look at the progress bar and see you’re only like 15 percent through. What’s the point of no return?”

“Before you watch the rest no matter what?”


“Concorde fallacy,” John said.


“Concorde fallacy. Sunk cost fallacy—you stick with something because you figure, ‘Well, I already invested this much time in it, now I can’t back out.’ So you’re bored halfway through a book but you finish it because otherwise it feels like you wasted your time. But really you should be willing to bail whenever, because otherwise you’re wasting your future time. Like when they were building the Concorde….”

“How we doin’ here?!” The waitress was suddenly beside the table, head leaning low between them. “Everyone okay on drinks?!”

“I’m good, thanks,” John said, thinking about the tequila shot he’d almost had at the bar before Meghan arrived.

“Can I have a gin and tonic?” Meghan said.

John’s eyes shot up. Meghan was settling in, loosening up, and in 20 minutes would be even looser. She downed the rest of her ale. John felt the warm rush he’d get from the martini he was about to order.

But the waitress was walking away. John said, “Excuse me,” but she kept going. If he’d been with Steve, one of them would have whistled or yelled, but he didn’t want to seem condescending or sexist.

“Excuse me,” John said. “I’m going to go to the little boys’ room before they bring out our food.” He would order at the bar on the way.

When John returned, Meghan was halfway through her gin and tonic. Her face had a new softness to it, her eyelids a little droopy.

“You know what I’m really bad at?” John said. “Those sinks in the bathrooms at airports, where there’s not a knob to turn to water on? I always think the one I’m at is broken. So I go to the next one and it doesn’t work either. But everyone else’s is. Sometimes I rub my hands under the faucet and it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. Or I’ll tap the nozzle, but that works like 25 percent of the time. Where did everyone else learn how to use these? It’s not like I’m going to ask the guy next to me what the trick is.”

“Hmmmmm,” Meghan said. A scene seemed to play behind her eyes. “Now I have to go.” She grabbed her bag and headed toward the bathrooms.

John thought about how they’d lingered outside the pub last Thursday. “Do you…?” Meghan had started. John had waited, then a guy had burst out the door on his phone, and the moment passed. They’d smiled at each other and said good night.

The waitress appeared with his martini. “Your guys’ dinners are ready as soon as your friend gets back,” she said.

John pursed his lips over the rim of the glass, took a long slurp, then pushed it away. He wanted the right balance between emboldened and thinking clearly. He also didn’t want Meghan to come back and see that he’d finished half a drink she didn’t know he’d ordered.

After a while, John speared one of the olives in his drink and nibbled it. The couple who’d sat down after them had started to eat. He pretended to need to stretch his neck and scanned the room. He pulled the martini toward him, lowered his head, sucked up as much as he could, and reached for his wallet.


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