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.