Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury-Free Running

Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear, and the Quest for Injury-Free Running

Bill Katovsky, Peter Larson

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1616083743

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Praise for the work of Peter Larson 

"Larson presents a wealth of balanced info on the raging debate over proper running form and minimalist running shoes." —Erin Beresini, Outside Online 

“Peter Larson is both a scientist and a realist when it comes to running shoes, and that's a good combination.”  —Amby Burfoot, Peak Performance Blog, Runner's World

Humans evolved over the millennia to become one of the most exceptional distance-running species on Earth. So why are injuries so common? Are our shoes to blame, or is it a question of running form, training, or poor diet? In this groundbreaking book, Peter Larson and Bill Katovsky explore the reasons why runners experience injuries and offer potential solutions to the current epidemic of running-related injuries. Their findings, gleaned from research studies and conversations with leading footwear scientists, biomechanical experts, coaches, podiatrists, physical therapists, and competitive runners, are informative and enlightening. Topics include:

  • How modern runners differ from their ancestors
  • Why repetitive stress causes most injuries, and how runners can safely reduce their occurrence
  • The pros and cons of barefoot running
  • Why it’s time to move beyond the pronation-control paradigm with running shoes
  • How certain running-form flaws might increase injury risk
  • How footwear has evolved over the past 10,000 years
  • The recreational runner
  • Why running shoes are not inherently evil

Tread Lightly is a highly readable, multifaceted investigation of running—past and present, with a hopeful look to the future.

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replies the doctor. “Oh, and it requires that you give up a bit of your free time.” “What is this wonder drug,” you ask? Your doctor’s response is simple and consists of one word: “exercise.” The miracle prescription is physical activity. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a report called The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In the report, the HHS states that “only a few lifestyle choices have as large an effect on mortality as physical

homestretch, I mentally prepared myself for the inevitable: going all out. Those final hundred or so yards, I smoked the field and finished first in 60 seconds flat. Proud of my unexpected triumph, I walked over to the track coach who was also the meet organizer. He was in his early sixties and wore a polyester tracksuit. After regaining my breath, I asked him, “So what do you think? Do I have any promise as a runner?” He glared at me as if I had just told him that his fly was open. “You run

expression of personal well-being. To think that we are at the end of the evolutionary process rather than at an intermediate way station would be foolish. The changes and improvements over the next ten years will probably dwarf all that has gone before. Technology has entered the running shoe equation to stay. We shall see better shoes, safer shoes, and faster shoes. Cavanagh was both right and wrong in his assessment. Footwear changes in the 1980s did indeed “dwarf all that has come before.”

dramatically over the years, and the running shoe has gone from little more than a simple leather foot covering to a complex mix of synthetic fabrics, foams, and technological addons that are supposed to protect a runner from injury and maximize his or her performance. Furthermore, instead of having a shoemaker construct a customized shoe based off measurements taken from his or her own feet, the typical runner buys mass-produced shoes from a relatively small number of manufacturers that are

trying to come up with a new method for recommending footwear. There are kinks that still need to be worked out, and there may never be a perfect system for matching shoe to runner, but the new approach represents a seismic shift, especially when a large-circulation publication like Runner’s World is willing to abandon a system that has been in place for the past thirty or more years. Could this signify the abandonment of the “pronation-control paradigm”? Quite possibly, and the fallout will be

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