I was really interested in getting my hands on this book by Jay Dicharry, an exercise physiologist and running expert with his own biomechanics lab at the University of Virginia. This lab apparently has one of the two “force-instrumented” treadmills in the world, allowing Dicharry unprecedented insights into analyzing running form. His previous book, Anatomy for Runners, was excellent in content, but suffered from “first-time author syndrome”, namely being over-detailed and long-winded. Your average runner isn’t likely to have the time and energy to wade through hundreds of pages of dense text to get to the practical information.
Fortunately, Running Rewired corrects this issue. It is concise, clear, and extremely well put together. By page 40, the reader is already introduced to exercises to fix posture. The preceding 40 pages of anatomy and movement theory are well put together, with lots of diagrams and pictures to help the non-fitness professional along. The real meat of the book is the 15 different workouts included. Whether a runner’s issue is lack of mobility or power, old injuries, or inefficiency, the book has workouts to fix the problem. I especially like the way Dicharry spells out very clearly that strength workouts aren’t really optional if you are dealing with issues. This is also my approach to coaching runners because the efficiency and bullet-proofing gains from resistance training far out-weigh any potential benefits of adding more miles to the running calendar.
The book also discusses at length a subject that many running books don’t: the need to consider the feet and the type of footwear you wear while running. The feet are both the supporting base on which the rest of the body rests, as well as the only point of contact with the external forces in running (which can be up to 3-4x body-weight). What kind of shoes you wear is also critical, especially in light of the many recent changes in footwear design due to the ascendance of minimalist running trends. If you are interested in more detailed discussions of the foot when it comes to athletic performance, check out Dr. Emily Splichal’s body of work.
If you are a runner, or want to take up running, I highly recommend you pick up this book. It is an excellent resource both for fixing existing nagging issues, and avoiding them if you are just starting out.