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Run for Life: The Injury-Free, Anti-Aging, Super-Fitness Plan to Keep You Running to 100 Paperback – February 24, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Lots of inspiration here. Run for Life is filled with advice that should interest athletes of any age who are trying to stay in the game as long as possible. What attracted me to the book is that the author is not only a credentialed athlete, but that he did lots of homework. The medical/technical information is cutting edge. Research shows that we can generate the stuff of youth (growth hormone) with specific kinds of training. The author has surveyed the field to see what has and is working for athletes who defy the aging curve, and is not shy about exploding myths and confronting the fact that the endorphin high that addicts so many to long workouts and high carb diets has a steep downside. Without the muscle mass preservation of resistance training, the postural, range of motion, and meditative benefits of yoga, and the hormonal drive enhancement of interval training, the very long slow stuff will grind one down. Get this book to find out how to remain fit in a balanced, tech-savvy way. Roy has done a ton of reading and research for you. --rickstrongcafe.blogspot.com

Run for Life is a 'must-read' for any runners who want to run the rest of their lives. It's chock full of legitimate and innovative methods aimed at offsetting common running injuries like pool running, barefoot running, and midfoot/forefoot techniques, as well as a few radical concepts like high-intensity all-out, 30-second "Ultra-intervals" that purportedly build speed on limited training time. The book is replete with expert testimony and examples, and has a rich collection of interviews with the likes of Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Helen Klein Rod Dixon, and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, among others. --Running Times magazine June 2009

This entertaining blizzard of information, with how-to training guidelines and photo sequences of effective exercises, includes a wide range of advanced training strategies for long-term running health. But what makes it ultimately worthwhile, and not just a fascinating opinionated blog, is that Wallack submits these cutting-edge ideas to rigorous proof and expert testimony, in each case provides examples of big-time people who have succeeded with them. --Slowtwitch.com

This is an awesome book that I actually read in one sitting! In a witty and conversational voice, Roy Wallack has crafted a very informative book in Run for Life, which details a life plan for running. A great read, it's full of oral histories of stars and everyday runners, and packed with practical how-to information --ncrunnerdude.blogspot.com

About the Author

Roy M. Wallack is a Los Angeles Times health and fitness columnist and former editor of Triathlete and Bicycle Guide magazines. A life-long runner and participant some of the world’s toughest running and multisport events, including the Boston Marathon and the Badwater UltraMarathon, the Eco-Challenge and Primal Quest adventure races, the Paris-Brest-Paris, TransAlp Challenge, and La Ruta de los Conquistadores road and mountain bike endurance races, and the TransRockies Run, he finished second in the World Fitness Championship in 2004. Wallack is a contributor to Outside, Men’s Journal, Runner’s World, Competitor, Bicycling, Mountain Bike, and many other publications, and the author of The Traveling Cyclist: 20 Worldwide Tours of Discovery (1991) and Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100 (2005), which lays out a plan for athletic longevity through cycling.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602393443
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602393448
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 6.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #950,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roy M. Wallack once biked from the sea to the summit of a 13,796-ft. Hawaiian volcano in a day, debated persistence hunting with a barefoot Kalahari tribesman in a loincloth, and talked his way out of the gulag when he got caught illegally in the USSR. Now, he's trying to figure out how to run and ride until he's at least 100 years old ("For proof, get back with me in 50 years," he says). A long-time L.A. Times fitness columnist , he's written for many publications (Outside, Bicycling, Runner's World, Competitor, Muscle & Fitness, Consumer's Digest, and more), been an editor (Triathlete, Bicycle Guide), and never turns down an opportunity to do a crazy athletic event he isn't trained for (which is why he's the World's Second-Fittest Man--read on). Roy's got 7 books: his bestseller Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100 (2015, 2005), a cycling-based longevity fitness plan; Fire Your Gym (2013; a 9-week super-fitness program mixing CrossFit and endurance); Barefoot Running Step By Step (2011; best-seller in the minimalist-running genre); Run for Life (2009) -- longevity through running); Be a Better Runner (2011; cutting-edge training tips); and The Traveling Cyclist: 20 Worldwide Tours (1991, Doubleday), which describes his bike trips around the world in the '80s, including the first-ever into the Soviet Union, in 1988.


As an unremarkable Baby Boomer runner/rider/triathlete/tennis player determined not to slow down, this former collegiate wrestler started researching athletic longevity when he hit 40 -- and struck paydirt. Roy "broke the news" on several important quality-of-life, fitness-performance, and injury-prevention stories that became pillars of his books and common fitness knowledge, including the scary cycling/osteoporosis connection (Bicycling, 2003); the injury-reducing effect of the Pose Method (Runner's World, 2004) and barefoot running (Men's Journal, 2005); the corrective, career-saving potential of postural therapy for runners and other athletes (Competitor, 2001); the untapped economy, power, and knee-friendliness of "butt-centric" pedaling (Bicycling, 2004); and the fountain-of-youth effect of all-out intervals and rapid-contraction weight training (Outside, 2006, and Men's Fitness, 2002), which strengthen the body by initiating release of hormones such as HGH. He was also one of the first to report on Crossfit, the revolutionary, and now-wildly popular high-intensity fitness program (Men's Journal, 2005, and the L.A. Times, 2006), and introduced the groundbreaking concept of a harmful training-zone "Black Hole," discovered by renowned sports researchers Seiler and Esteve-Lanao, in the December 2010 issue of Outside magazine.

Using himself as a "guinea pig" for the training, technique, and nutrition stories he writes, Roy has survived some of the world's toughest endurance events, including the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage (running) Race, the Badwater UltraMarathon, the week-long, round-the-clock Eco-Challenge and Primal Quest adventure races, the 750-mile Paris-Brest-Paris randonnee, and multi-day mountain-bike races such as the Trans-Alp Challenge, BC Bike Race, Trans-Rockies Challenge, Breck Epic, and Costa Rica's La Ruta de los Conquistadores, the latter often labeled "the hardest race on the planet." Despite all that, he says that his greatest physical, mental, and emotional test actually came in 1994, when he rode 800 miles on a tandem bike from Nice to Rome with his earnest but unathletic bride on their honeymoon. The ride resulted, 9 months later, in the birth of a son, now in college, and the future Bike for Life's Chapter 12, a detailed study of the tricky issue of reconciling significant cycling and significant others. In 1999, in the name of science, he ran the Boston Marathon on five days and 34 miles of training while adhering to a radical new forefoot-landing "soft running" technique -- and almost set a new PR. The lessons learned that day in Boston became Chapter 1 of Run for Life.


Finally -- proudly -- Roy is officially the world's "Second Fittest Man," having finished second in the World Fitness Championship in 2004. In fact, it looks like he'll be the second-fittest man for the rest of time, as the event, sort of "an Ironman with iron" that was sanctioned by the Guinness Book of World Records, was disbanded thereafter. Held in a gigantic YMCA in Plano, Texas, it included a 2-mile swim, 10-mile run, 10-mile power hike, 100-mile Lifecycle, 20-mile row, 20-mile elliptical, 500 squat thrusts, sit-ups, and hanging legs lifts, and lifting 500,000 pounds of upper-body weights. He completed it in 21 hours and 59 minutes, putting him a couple time zones behind Rob Powell, the Guinness Book champion, but comfortably ahead of Dan de Jager, a young adventure racer from Sacramento who couldn't swim. Since only these three people (out of hundreds supposedly registered) showed up for the contest, that more or less guaranteed Roy the athletic immortality he'd long dreamed of. ("With great achievement comes great responsibility," he said when it was over, just before collapsing into a deep, 13-hour sleep. Bike for Life and Run for Life soon followed.)
For the full story on Roy's historic Second-Fittest triumph, plus a slide show of 30+ years of his bike-touring around the world (including the first-ever bike ride into the Soviet Union, in 1988), his acclaimed TV appearance with timeless "Brady Bunch" beauty Florence Henderson, and his rousing, poetry-laden induction into the 24 Hours of Adrenalin Solo Hall of Fame, click on the two videos on this page or go to www.bikeforlifebook.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Here's a backhanded compliment. On the one hand, in Run for Life author
Roy Wallack has produced what looks like a very effective life plan for
running, with new ideas and tools that ought to make you a healthier,
stronger runner. Although many ideas were new to me, I found myself
nodding to myself at times "of course that makes total sense-----I'm
going to do that from now on' ------ such as those "Ultra-Interval"
30-second sprints, which I did on land and in the pool, and felt
stronger after a week. After three weeks, I beat my best 5k time over
the last 5 years on a treadmill by 12 seconds, and wasn't even really
pushing it. I can't wait to do a real race and see what happens. On
the other hand (here comes the backhand) , Wallack shot himself in the
foot with his marketing hook of "Running to 100'--- which will make
people think the book is only for old people. Listen people: It's
definitely not. It's not even just for people over 35, "when the body's
natural deterioration begins, as Wallack puts it. I would go as far
to say that a 16-year old beginner highschool cross country runner
would do himself a lot of good to use this book as his bible. The
detail about non-heel striking form, pedulum arm swing, and barefoot
running is invaluable, and thats just the tip of the iceberg here.
But alas, "young" people ---- and I mean fit, non-injured runners under
40 probably won't pick up this book because of that "age 100" angle.
Even older runners may not, like Bill Rodgers, who in his fascinating
interview said "Run to 100? That's so far away I don't even think about
that." That said it all to a marketing man like me.
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Format: Paperback
I have seen a lot of books about how to run faster, or how to run better in specific events, but this is a book about how to run for more years without injury and about how to keep enjoying a sport that has become such a big part of my life that it is worth learning some techniques to safeguard my future ability to participate both recreationally and competitively. The book has a strong emphasis on what the author refers to as a "soft running form". He talks about his own experience learning to run soft using the e3 hand grips and some coaching. He briefly reviews the Pose method and refers to Chi running as well. He also talks about barefoot running as a way to acheive a soft running form. There is less emphasis on the downsides of these techniquees, but they are mentioned for fairness sake. I found this part of the book the least helpful since I am a forefoot/midfoot runner already, and tend to find it leads to problems with plantar fasciitis which one of his experts reports as a downside to these methods. The remainder of the book is really excellent and very motivating. There is a lot of good information about strength training/weight lifting in a way to stimulate the natural production of human growth hormone which may work to keep our bodies youthful and strong; flexibility/stretching & yoga to keep us from becoming bent out of shape, hobbled, hunched over; crosstraining to preserve our joints and prevent osteoarthritis, and other injuries; innovative ways to do interval training so we can stay fast despite getting older. There are multiple interviews with some great running pioneers. Its hard to say which is my favorite. Each has something to offer. They talk about their running careers, their injuries if they have any, their contributions to the running community, which many have made. Mostly they give their advice of how they stay fit and active and one can learn what one should avoid and what one should do to stay healthy and competitive for the duration.
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Format: Paperback
Having read, liked, and reviewed Run for Life's sibling, Bike for Life, four years ago, and being as much runner as cyclist (triathlete, actually), I feel compelled to review the new kid. My take: It's as good or better than the old one.

Run for Life talks about a very serious subject--how to get fitter than ever and stay that way to age 100--in a very entertaining way. As a result, I raced through this 300+ page marathon of tips, clinics, interviews, magazine-style feature stories like it was a 5k. Its basic thesis is both radical and logical: Author Roy Wallack, a seriously fit 52-year-old with a wild streak of George Plimpton in him, says you can run into old age--but only if you DO NOT continue with your regular, steady-state, regimen of 65% VO2max endorphin-high running. That wears you out, causes injuries, and does nothing to fight the breakdown of your muscles, which starts around age 35-40, leaving you on the sidelines for good by 65 or 70.

Sure, you can argue that steady-state running isn't the cause of our decline, but a fact' is a fact that most running careers are over by 65. So it's worth listening when Wallack argues that, to blow through the tape on your own two feet at age 100, you have make some changes; cut out most long runs and replace them with super hard, short intervals that build-up muscle with human growth hormone, stop all heel striking (a great "soft running" tutorial here), hit the weights with great intensity, crosstrain, stretch and do posture drills (good pictures here), and run a lot in the pool. And, to show you that he isn't just making this stuff all up, Wallack interviews world-class runners who are doing all these things themselves with great success.
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