This post has been a long time coming. Reading books is getting a lot harder these days. I used to be able to read books on my Kindle while feeding the baby. Now she’s so active, that even during that “quiet time” she’s got all of her limbs flailing around.
Anatomy for Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention by Jay Dicharry, MPT, SCS (That’s a Master of Physical Therapy and Sports Clinical Specialist… in case you didn’t know. Which I didn’t.) is a fascinating book that takes a look at why so many runners get injured and ways to go about repairing/preventing this phenomenon.
This book makes you think… but it doesn’t preach that one certain way is the best. No “You MUST run barefoot!” or “You MUST use shoes!” messages. It’s more about finding imbalances and problem areas in your individual body to make you the most efficient runner you can be.
The chapter on soft tissue mobility was really interesting to me, the photos about how healthy vs. damaged collagen is supposed to lay helped me gain a little better understanding on muscle knots. The book explains how to focus in on breaking up the adhesions yourself and says that by focusing on the spot for 3-5 minutes daily, you should be able to get full mobility back in 2-3 weeks. So either using your hands, foam roller or massage ball regularly makes a big difference. Gotta remember this… 3-5 minutes on my Yoga Tune-up ball on my upper back knots each night should help, right?
And while the book doesn’t make a proclamation saying you need to wear a certain type of shoe or not wear a certain type of shoe, there are some instances that point to research about how our over-cushioned, over-stabilized shoes can be problematic. The book makes the analogy that putting marshmallows all over your hands and then trying to tie your shoes would be impossible because we’ve taken away all of the sensory input we need. That’s kind of the same thing with shoes. But if you can’t imagine getting rid of your regular running shoes… try to implement no shoes or completely flat shoes in the many other others of your day that you aren’t running. That will help strengthen your feet!
And this line about how we go shopping for shoes hoping to fit into shoes instead of finding shoes that fit us… that’s brilliant BEYOND just the shoe realm. Let’s remember this for clothing too, okay? It’s not a problem with US if the pants don’t fit, it’s a problem with those pants! (Okay, this is really straying from the message of the book… but it fits in with the messages that I always share!)
There are a series of mobility assessments so you can pinpoint where your imbalances lie and then a series of corrective exercises to fix those. I am going to try those and will report back if I find anything noteworthy!
All-in-all, I think this is an excellent book. If you are a running coach, it would be a good one to help you with athletes that seem to be injury-prone as well as coming up with warm-up advice for your athletes. If you are a runner on your own looking for information on improving your injuries or keeping yourself from getting injured, this is a good book for you too. I just wish it came spiral-bound so it would be easier to keep the book open when you are working on the assessment/exercises!