Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Running Strong Book Review

This book could not have come to me at a better time.  Those of you that read along know I've been struggling with knee problems for the last year.  They finally seem to be getting better but not without a lot of trial and error.  So when Runner's World gave me the opportunity to review Dr. Jordan Metzl's Running Strong, I took it.

Runner's World sent me a digital copy to review but I am going to buy a hard copy of it because I'm old school (and there's a cool app you can use with it).  There's so much great information in here that I'd like to be able to just pick the book up and flip through it.  I haven't quite embraced this whole e-book thing.  Never the less, that didn't detract from the plethora of information in the book.

If I'm going to be buying a book that can help me be an injury free runner, ideally it's written by someone who IS an athlete themselves.   Dr. Metzl is just that.  He's done 32 marathons and 12 Ironmans.  All AFTER tearing his ACL and developing arthritis in his knee.  So the man clearly knows his stuff.  I wish he practiced in Toronto. 

The book is divided into five different parts and has plenty of pictures as well as a very cool interactive feature.  If you have a hard copy of the book and a smart phone, you can download an app called Blippar that you use to scan any page that has this icon on it.  This will then bring up a video on your phone of whatever it listed in the blurb.  This one is a video guide on how to select the right running shoe.  How cool is that???   I do wish I had received a hard copy of the book so I could check this out.  The five sections are also colour coded for easy reference.  

In Part one, called Nuts and Bolts, Dr. Metzl gets into the kinetic chain and how it works and why it's so important to strength train.  He talks about the gait cycle, good running mechanics and has a couple of tests you can do at home to figure out if you have a muscle imbalance. 

Part two, called Uh Oh, What's that Pain, has 9 chapters, each devoted to a different body part and the various aches and pains you may experience.  Of course this is the first place I went to when I got the book, ha ha.   This section is incredibly well illustrated and informative.  He gets into what you should do if you feel pain in a certain area and what it may be and how to treat it.  He does stress that this is not a substitute for going to your sports doc if things don't get better.  The other amazing thing is this chapter is the foam rolling instructions he gives for each body part as well as strengthening exercises you can do.  It's like having your own desk top physiotherapist - I say that because many of the exercises in here are ones that have been given to me by a physiotherapist, ha ha.

Part three is called Getting the Most out of Your Machine.  This section covers everything from the science of running physiology (VO2 max, lactate threshold etc) to strength training to proper foam rolling technique.  Dr. Metzl has a workout that he calls the Iron Strength workout and he goes through it in this section.   A lot of these exercises are ones that I've recently started doing so I'm hoping they help!  There are Blippar icons everywhere in this section so you can see the proper way to do each exercise. He also devotes a chapter to the mental aspect of training which is something that many people don't even think about but is just as important as training your body, especially if you're looking to improve.

Part Four delves into the things runners love to talk about:  the Tools of the Trade.   In this section he discusses the importance of nutrition, not just during runs but pre and post run as well.  He also talks about clothing, socks and of course, shoes, and how to choose the right shoe.   There's a Blippar video for that too. 

Part Five is called His and Hers and it gets into some of the gender specific things that male and female athletes have to deal with or watch out for. 

As if all of that wasn't enough, there's an Appendix that has a variety of training plans from 5km to the marathon that are suited for all levels of ability.  They include days for cross training with his Iron Strength plan as well.   Bonus!

I found this book to be one of the most informative and useful resources I've come across in a while.  Whether you're just starting out in the sport or have been pounding the pavement for years, this book should be part of your running library. 

Link to buy the book: http://bit.ly/Metzl15PR

Link to Dr. Metzl’s website: http://www.drjordanmetzl.com/

You can also follow Dr. Metzl online:

Twitter (@drjordanmetzl):  https://twitter.com/drjordanmetzl

Instagram (@drjordanmetzl):  https://instagram.com/drjordanmetzl/

Disclaimer:  I was given an electronic copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.   All opinions are my own.


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