Running Book Review: The Runner’s Body by Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas

Runners World book The Runner’s Body: How the Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer, and Faster is a fascinating book for the beginner, but also the advanced runner who want to learn more about how their body functions, why it functions the way it does and how to achieve maximum performance. 

The Runner’s Body takes readers through a progressive account of the human body by introducing them to the musculoskeletal system,  cardiorespiratory system, metabolic system, the central nervous system and the immune system. 

Each chapter explains the science behind each of these systems and goes into enough detail to educate the advanced runner but it also explains it in a way that the beginner runner can understand and benefit from as well.

From how muscles work, injuries, reducing impact on  your joints, developing more resilient legs, and how to train your cardiorespiratory system, to fuel, dehydration, fat burning zones,  the “mind over matter” concept, style of running and how to “outrun illness”, The Runner’s Body seems to cover it all. 

Among the many topics you can discover in Runner’s World The Runner’s Body  expect to educate yourself on:

The Musculoskeleon system

  • Stress and the adaptation process that leads to progress and achieving your goals
  • Exercises, with pictures, to strengthen and/or mobilise key joints and muscles
  • Understanding stress fractures
  • Knee injuries, ITB syndrome and achilles tendinosis , among other running related injuries

The Cardiorespiratory system

  • Understanding VO2 max
  • “Running economy 101”
  • How to improve your running economy

The Metabolic system

  • Sport drinks and the “drink, drink, drink some more” phylosophy
  • Muscle cramps – why they happen and how to manage them, the science behind it all
  • Nutrition and fuel supply and economy
  • Carbo-loading and Fat-loading diets
  • Whether runners can reduce the body’s reliance on carbs to delay fatigue
  • A 6 weeks example of daily detailed meal plan for runners
  • How to determine your optimal body composition

The Central nervous system

  • Pacing strategy and fatigue
  • Running technique guidelines, including the highly controversial footstrike!

The Immune system

  • Inflammation, free radicals and overtraining
  • Running and the immune system
  • Aging and running performance

I think The Runner’s Body  strong points are the science behind the mechanical aspects of running, from injuries to running technique. I really enjoyed the explanation of how the body works mechanically.

However the whole book is excellent, with scientific research quoted, charts and information boxes.  A lot of effort went into writing The Runner’s Body.

If you ask me this is a must read for anyone who runs regularly, to get a bigger picture of what takes places under the surface.

The Runner’s Body the perfect book to study if you want to become a complete runner from all perspectives: mechanical (avoid injuries and adopt a healthy running style), psychological (understand mind over matter and over training) and chemical (nutrition).

Another book that I recommend runners who experience recurrent injuries is Running Well by Sam Murphy and Sarah Connors.

alexandramerisoiu
Alexandra Merisoiu, The Body Engineer, is the Founder of The Merisoiu Technique - Institute Of Health And Human Movement and Dracula’s Retreat. She is also a qualified Low Back Pain Management and Prevention Exercise Instructor and REPS registered.

She specialises in working with runners, beginners and advanced, who want to run faster, further, with less effort and fewer injuries. This is done through natural movement fitness and running technique and mechanics drawn from the many disciplines Alexandra has studies throughout the years, including long distance running.

Since 1995 she has explored how the body and mind works. She has done this through using many different sporting techniques and working with a wide variety of highly respected coaches. Throughout her Martial Arts career she has achieved 3rd Dan Black Belt in Karate Shotokan, runs her own Karate club and is IJKA 2017 triple World Champion, 2016 WMO Martial Arts British National and European Champion. She still competes at an international level.

It is through these learnings, and drawing inspiration from respected natural movement names such as MovNat, IdoPortal and POSE Method of running among many others, that she has created The Merisoiu Technique and has established her own unique transformational programs that incorporate thousands of years of knowledge with Natural Human Movement.

Alexandra’s mission is to challenge the status quo of how to achieve the truly strong, fit and powerful body a runner needs to perform at their best level. This is done through building strong, lasting foundations in the natural outdoor environment; reducing the risk of injuries and educating people on the power of the fundamentals of natural human movement and running mechanics.

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