I have read Pete Larson’s Runblogger blog for a while, “talked” with him a few times on Twitter and always found Pete to be more than willing to help or answer questions.
So when Tread Lightly came out, I put it on my birthday wish list. TheWife was nice enough to give me it for my Birthday on Monday .
I finished reading it Wednesday night, yes I found it that interesting.
The book pretty much validates the direction I am attempting to go with both my running and choice of running shoes. Tread Lightly puts into words what I have done over the past year – moving toward the minimalist side of running.
I am not totally there yet and sometimes I question whether it is the correct direction to be going. Especially when I am running longer distances and the aches/pains that go with those distances, make me wonder if a more cushioned shoe would be more appropriate after a particularly tough run.
Something inside of me still thinks that this is the correct direction to go, even though I do have my doubts at times and books like Tread Lightly just reinforce the feeling that sometimes less is better.
More than one Perspective
Peter and Bill did a great job presenting the arguments for more minimal running shoes, without being evangelical about moving in that direction. Which is something some of the more vocal adherents of the barefoot/minimalist movement tend to do and turns a lot of people off – I know that it does me.
I liked the way that Tread Lightly gave different perspectives. It gave readers enough information to make us think – beyond the just one point of view and to not just accept their conclusions blindly or that of others either.
A Bit Dry In Places
To be honest I found some parts a tad “dry”, yes I understand the need for this background information or reporting study results. However, it was a lot of information that I had been exposed to before in blogs and eBooks that I have read, so it was a little tougher to get through those chapters for me.
However, for the most part Tread Lightly really got and kept my interest, and I sped through the book very quickly. No it wasn’t a mystery thriller that I couldn’t put down, but the information provided, definitely kept my interest.
One part that made me chuckle and think a little was this passage from page 37:
…let’s consider the primary underlying factor at the core of nearly every one of the injuries mentioned in this chapter: repetitive stress. Combine the repetitive stress of running with an ill-fitting par of shoes or poor running mechanics (or both) and high running mileage, and a nagging pain somewhere in the lower extremities is not infrequent result. Add in a bit of fatigue and some stubbornly obsessive determination that causes you to ignore internal warning signs, and you have the makings of a full-blown disaster!
I had to smile a little at this description of the progression to a full-blown running injury – I didn’t know they knew me so well, especially that “stubbornly obsessive determination that causes you to ignore internal warning signs.
Does that sound like too many runners that you know, maybe yourself?
Also on page 127, Tread Lightly gives an insider view of what happens sometimes when we buy running shoes, which validated what I thought happened at some running shoe stores. Back in December I wrote a post that gave a few helpful hints how to go about buying running shoes and many of the things that I thought happened, it seems were correct.
The reality is that
I have moved towards wearing more minimal footwear, changing how I eat and trying to improve my form for a while now and Tread Lightly re-affirmed my decision to go in this direction.
There are some parts of the book that well – remind me of reading a textbook – great and necessary information, but tough to get through. However, when writers are presenting the results of studies, etc. it is tough to have it be really exciting to read. Overall it took me less than 2 days to read the entire book and I am easily distracted from reading by the computer, you know the drill Twitter, Facebook, Google +, etc., so it is very readable.
Tread Lightly definitely is not a textbook and has many parts that I re-read a couple of times and will re-read in the future, because I believe that they will help me with my running.
If you are interested in learning more about minimalist running, this is a must read book. Tread Lightly will help you think about whether this style of running is right for you or to piqué your curiosity to find out more information about it, or heaven forbid give it a try.
The biggest thing I took from Tread Lightly – was to use what works for you, not someone else.