Build Your Running Body [Book Review]

This may be it… the definitive running book that covers every aspect of the runner’s body and how to train each area.
Build Your Running Body
by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, Melissa Breyer

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Want to know just how complete this is? The book is BIG… 434 pages… divided into 25 chapters, each one covering how to “Build Your… [insert topic here]” to help all distance runners, milers to ultramarathoners. And these chapters are PRECISE. Like “Build Your Motivation” and “Build Your Connective Tissue” and “Build Your Brain.”

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Since the book is a beast and I can’t get through it all with a fine-tooth comb and still post a review in a timely manner, let’s just focus on one of the sections: Build Your Running Muscles.

The section starts off describing the different kinds of muscles in the body and the different kinds of muscle fibers. Then we move into the science of how to progress to get stronger the right way, not specific exercises yet… just information about how we must walk before we can run, and beginners working on the strength need to spend 2-4 weeks doing body-weight only exercises before incorporating weights.

Next we move into info on stretching and the 4 different kinds of stretching that exist, the whys and whens and hows of using stretching in your running program. I used to think there was just dynamic and static stretching… but there are more. There is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) and Active Isolated Stretching (AIS). Although, these kinds seem to need some assistance.

Finally it is time to hit the photo illustrations of actual movements to work our running muscles. And the first movements it demonstrates, are ones that you may not think immediately as “I’m working my muscles!” – Walking, Walk/Jog, Easy Run, Beginner Fartleks… and so on, into Hill Strides and Downhill Running. Because really, the act of running is building our muscles. But there is more to do beyond just running… oh no, it can’t be that simple!

Now we are introduced to The Runner 360, a complete strength program for runners, especially for people who don’t want/have a lot of equipment and might prefer to take care of their workout at home or outdoors. The whole routine is supposed to take about 12 minutes, but I think that comes once you know all the steps and have them memorized as opposed to constantly looking back at the book to figure out what is up next.

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Want a traditional weight room experience? Oh yes… we have a routine for that too. Photos and descriptions of all the exercises with recommendations on the order to do them in if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced are all included. And this is not the end, next we move into stretching. Lots of info on stretching, since we already established there are 4 types of stretching!

See?! It’s very comprehensive. And this is just my paraphrasing! The downside of this thoroughness is that it’s overwhelming… I am not quite sure where I should start! And if I’m working to build all my running components, then am I going to be spending all day long workout out? Does it fit into a normal person’s life?

There is an awesome 9-page chart toward the back of the book about injury rehab/prevention. It lists all the ailments you could possibly think of and then some, provides a description of that issue and then gives a list of the exercises that will help fix it. There are also some notes for each one such as certain problems where icing isn’t recommended or when you should see a doctor.

The book is awesome, especially if you are all geeky because there is a lot of science and big words in it! I am really impressed with this book, each time I pick it up and flip through it something else catches my eye and educates me. The book costs $13.88 in paperback on Amazon or you can pick up the Kindle version for $10.99.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

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One comment

  1. Thank you so much for this great review. Based on this post I’ve bought the kindle version. The author manages to make the sciency stuff make sense. I’ve read many running books, but for some reason this book has just made some things click in a way that other books haven’t. Thank you again for the review and keep up the good work. I love reading your blog.

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