The Science of Running – a review

The book is well presented, easy to access and assimilate and should appeal to a broad readership. The first 20% of the book is basic mechanics and anatomy and injury and should be of interest to most non-physio runners. There are little ‘inserts’ dotted throughout such as the one on lower back pain which provide context to parallel issues.

The anatomy sections look great with really easy to understand diagrams that are well annotated to increase the understanding of the reader. Even with a fairly detailed knowledge I enjoyed reading this section and learned a few things that perhaps I had forgotten.

The section on injury prevention is concise and up-to-date using the latest evidence and making injuries easy to diagnose/match up. 

The information provided in the exercise section was excellent and actually provides a useful resource when working with runners and trying to explain they should be doing a particular exercise, what it looks like and what it actually does. This section is 80 pages in the middle of the book – more than ⅓ of the book and there are better resources out there but nevertheless, I am grateful for it’s inclusion.

The final section is about training itself and it gives lots of ideas for routines and plans and the training programmes are brilliant (although, again a lot of space is devoted to them). However, I will use these training programmes with my clients rather than trying to make up an individualised programme in my head everytime.

If I had to level a criticism at the content of the book it is that there is no space devoted to psycho-social issues. This is obviously a choice of the author as it would not be their area of expertise but these issues impact every runner and are often the biggest reason people should be running but similarly the reason why they are not. 

Never has a science book been easier to read and reference and also look so great. If I were to choose the exact opposite of this book I could mention Make or Break by Dave Macleod – just tracts of text. This book is so accessible and readable that it should be on every runner’s shelf.

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