One of my goals for 2013 is to spend more time reading. Specifically, I want to read two books per month; one textbook/science book for my Meteorology studies, and one book on running. I won’t bore most of the readers with my views of books on Numerical Weather Prediction and Data Assimilation, but I will share information about the running books! If you do decide to purchase any of the books, please consider buying from the link I include to amazon. I’ll receive a small portion of the proceeds.
Book #1 of 2013 is “Natural Running” by Danny Abshire. As my last blog post was describing, I’m now a Newton Running sponsored athlete. Danny Abshire is a co-founder of Newton Running. However, this book is not at all an advertisement for Newton shoes. The book highlights the role of the shoe industry in changing styles that previously had an increasing heel-to-toe drop. The heel-to-toe drop is a measure of the height of the shoe below the heel compared to the measure of the height of the shoe below the toe. Companies initially thought that more cushioning in the heel would save injuries because there would be less of an impact. What the books shows is that by putting extra padding in the heel, the body compromises by heel striking more. The simple analogy: if you were to go out and run barefoot on a cement bike path or sidewalk, would you heel-strike? You’d likely land as light as possible on your feet, thus landing more on the forefoot. The higher heel-to-toe drop also reduces proprioception as the body isn’t able to learn the most efficient way of running.
Here are two main points from the book and the reasons why I’d recommend buying it. First, there are simple clues to slightly changing your form to be more efficient. I finished the book right before going on a ten mile run. As I mentioned in the last blog post I didn’t look at the garmin and just focused on these cues. I ended up running faster than I have on an easy run in a long time. The second reason for buying the book is the really good routines provided in the book. There’s a series of strength drills/exercises to help you increase the strength needed for more efficient running form. I’ve been following the drills/exercises for about two weeks now and I’m already seeing the benefits. Specifically, I feel stronger when walking up stairs or even sitting in a chair. This is a quick and relatively easy read as well.
Book #2 is going to be Scott Simmons and Will Freeman’s book, “Take the Lead: A Revolutionary Approach to Coaching Cross Country.”