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Finally, a minimalist running book worth reading!

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Old 10th June 2012, 02:13 PM
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Craig Payne Craig Payne is offline
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Default Finally, a minimalist running book worth reading!

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As I have commented before, I have purchased a number of barefoot/minimalist books in order to learn and understand and have been bitterly disappointed in almost all of them. They were nothing but rhetoric and propaganda and a total misrepresentation, misuse, etc of the science. They were just like the cure cancer snake oil books. They read like manifestos from political parties, in that the party faithful love them, but they are useless to anyone else to get a better understanding. The books I purchased were based on recommendations from barefoot and natural running websites. I have made a note to myself to be more trusting of the one-star reviews on Amazon.com, as they are more likely to be on the mark, especially if the party faithful start attacking the one-star reviews.

There has only been one that has been useful and had some good practical info (Craig Richards’ Idiots Guide to Barefoot Running) … that was until now:

I finally got to read Peter Larsen and Bill Katovsky’s new book “Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury-Free Running” (actually my copy is still in the mail and I could not wait any longer, so got the Kindle edition as well!). Anyone involved in treating runners should have a copy. It reviews exactly what has been going on in the running shoe industry and the trend toward barefoot and minimalist running. It does not suffer from the usual rhetoric and propaganda that other books in this genre do. Its use of science and its interpretation puts the others to absolute shame. There is no hype. There is no rhetoric or promises. There is no second coming of the messiah! It is actually a really good book and well worth owning a copy:

Links: Amazon.com; Amazon.ca; Amazon.fr; Amazon.de; Amazon.uk; Fishpond.au; Fishpond.nz

There are some minor weaknesses in the book; primarily it is aimed at the lay community and not health professionals so some of the explanations are overly simplistic and dumbed down. The chapter on ‘Pronate Nation’ is limited due to the ‘straw man’ approach to what ‘overpronation’ actually is and interpreting studies in the context of the overall theme of the book rather than consider other possible alternative explanations and applications of the research reviewed in the chapter. It is also not that helpful from a practical point a view when you have a runner in front of you with an injury that needs treating, but that is not the purpose of the book.
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Old 10th June 2012, 11:24 PM
wdd wdd is offline
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Default Re: Finally, a minimalist running book worth reading!

What is minimalist running?

Does it mean that the double swing period is as short as it can possibly be?
Does it describe the shortest possible stride length?
Does it describe running as slowly as possible?
Is it a euphemism for the activity of a couch potato?

Could ".. the trend towards barefoot and minimalist running" be more accurately stated as " ...... the trend towards bare and minimalist running"?

It's just a phase I'm going through. I'll be better after I've had something to drink.

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Old 13th June 2012, 11:47 PM
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his site runblogger.com has some interesting reading/articles as well
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Old 14th June 2012, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: Finally, a minimalist running book worth reading!

I have contributed to runblogger.com on quite a few occasions and have been corresponding privately with Pete Larson, the creator of runblogger.com, for over a year now. Pete Larson did his PhD in animal locomotion, studying aligators, possums, tadpoles etc and their biomechanical function during locomotion. He started getting more interested in running himself after his PhD and is now reviewing a lot of the minimalist shoes and discusses running form and running injuries on his runblogger forum. His first study on the footstrike patterns of runners, published just last year, was a great addition to the scientific literature on this subject (Larson P, Higgins E et al: Foot strike patterns of recreational and sub-elite runners in a long-distance road race. J Sports Sciences, 29:1665-1673, 2011).

It has been a pleasure to get to know Pete since he is very honest, intellectual, well-read on a variety of shoe and running biomechanics subjects and appreciates the scientific method with all of its pros and cons and also is an avid runner. I would suggest that all of you who are interested in running biomechanics should visit Pete's runblogger site and, at the very least, check out his slow motion videos of running which are the best available on the internet, as far as I have found.


Pete and I are currently in the process of exchanging books so I hope to be reading Pete's book, "Tread Lightly" on the jet to Manchester by next week. I'll try to post up a review of the book once I have given it a good read-through. After Craig's glowing recommendation, I can't wait to read it.


Kevin A. Kirby, DPM
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Old 25th June 2012, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Finally, a minimalist running book worth reading!

Thanks for the link to the runblogger Kevin. It looks very informative.
And while I'm reading various books right now on this "new" phenomenon, I look forward to reading 'Tread Lightly.'

My experiment with minimalist shoes continues, as I am running in the Saucony Kinvara and the NB Minimus as well as the Vibram 5 Fingers, alternating in shorter runs.
My comment (or question) is regarding the origin and meaning of 'midfoot' striker as we can't really strike midfoot but more accurately full foot strike, forefoot strike or heel strike.
Just semantics I guess, but I wonder why people would use the term midfoot striker.
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