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Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury-Free Running Paperback – June 1, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The must-have desktop book--like Born To Run on steroids--for runners interested in the subject matter. . . .Tread Lightly will definitely go on my most important bookshelf.” (Amby Burfoot, editor-at-large, Runner’s World magazine, and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon)

About the Author

Bill Katovsky, founder of Tri-Athlete Magazine, has completed the Hawaii Ironman twice and is coauthor of Embedded: The Media at War in Iraq, which won Harvard’s Goldsmith Book Prize; and editor of 1,001 Pearls of Runners' Wisdom: Advice and Inspiration for the Open Road, as well as co-founder of the Natural Running Center.

Dr. Peter Larson is an associate professor of biology at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is a Boston-qualifying marathon runner. His website, Runblogger, is recognized as a leading source for information on running shoe innovation and the science of running.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (June 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616083743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616083748
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jason Robillard on June 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for all runners, running coaches, people working in the running shoe industry, and anyone else associated with running. Larson and Katovsky take a strikingly unbiased view at running-related injuries and performance. They effectively distill all available research in an attempt to answer the fundamental question- how can we run with fewer injuries?

The book BORN TO RUN introduced the idea that running shoe design may affect injury rates, but provides little scientific evidence. Larson and Katovsky discuss specific qualities of shoes and how they affect running gait. This section of the book will change the way running shoes are designed and marketed. BORN TO RUN also introduced the idea that many runners run with poor running form. TREAD LIGHTLY also discusses various elements of running form, such as which part of the foot should touch the ground first, how long stride length should be, and the role of pronation.

Larson and Katovsky also discuss barefoot and minimalist shoe running at length. As the author of THE BAREFOOT RUNNING BOOK (Plume, 20112), I appreciate the balanced view the authors take. They cut through the hype and myths and place barefoot running where I believe it should be: not a magical cure-all, but a tool that will help improve running form.

TREAD LIGHTLY combines the scientific bite of books such as Noakes' LORE OF RUNNING and the readability of BORN TO RUN. I would recommend this book without reservation. I recommend this book to all my running clinic attendees and clients. In fact, I would recommend this book BEFORE my own book.
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This book is the first one I've come across that seems to be genuinely open-minded on the questions that are currently absorbing the running community: is there a 'natural' way to run, and if so, what is it? is forefoot striking better than heel striking? what kind of shoes are best? what is the ideal stride length? and what about nutrition?

Peter Larson has looked quite hard at the genuine scientific research that has been done across a range of disciplines, to see which claims can be substantiated and which cannot. There are some surprises: not only is there no reliable scientific support for the classic categorization of runners into over-pronators, neutral runners and supinators (with corresponding shoe recommendations) but in some studies people did better (ie got fewer injuries) when running in the 'wrong' shoes.

Larson also considers the contribution anthropology makes to understanding how humans evolved as runners, concluding that for persistance hunting a gait rather like Jeff Galloway's 'run/walk' was probably natural. But he also notes the significant differences between modern man and our ancestors---not least in the way that our feet have been altered by the time we reach adulthood simply by wearing modern shoes.

This is by far the most objective look at the whole are I have seen, but that doesn't make it dry. Larson also uses anecdotal evidence from the great runners and coaches of the least hundred years to explore his topics, and his tone is consistently light and easy to read.

Most telling of all, he avoids doctrinaire conclusions, accepting that there probably is no single 'right' way to run, no single shoe that's 'right' for every runner.
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Written from both scientific and practical perspectives, Paul and Bill have collaborated ideally to describe all aspects of running; track, trail, road, mountains, barefoot, minimalist and shod. Rather than just denigrate the shoe manufacturers and blame them for running injuries due to the design of their shoes, the authors have provided rationale for the evolution of running shoes and they also provide clear scientific evidence for transitioning to minimalist/barefoot running. In addition, they detail the ramifications of badly fitting shoes and attempting to transition to barefoot running inappropriately and too quickly. All in all, a good read from an entertainment and informational perspective, as well as being instructional and advisory. Highly recommended reading.
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Extremely well researched and well written. The authors do a terrific job in organizing the research and their findings. A must read for any new runner or an experienced runner wanting to run more efficiently and with less chances for injury. I have been running for 40 years and this book is one of the best! I have already gone back and re-read some of the sections. I wish I had the opportunity to read this book when I first started to run.
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Believe me after reading lots of "not a book "books this one has all my respect. Does not matter you are minimalist or old school, this book will give you valuable information without being like a school book. Lots of reference to new literature which you might dig up later. If you like to run, if you find the "born the run" interesting this is a book for you. This is not like blog style, some funny stories, some advice, written in the week end, money trap running book, this is a real book. Buy it.
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