Sunday, June 6, 2010

Book Review - The Barefoot Running Book by Jason Robillard

Preface:
I've just started barefoot running three weeks ago. Right now, I consider myself a minimalist runner on my way to becoming a barefoot runner. I'm also an advocate of Pose Running Technique and of CrossFit training.  So it is from this background and experience that I am writing this review.

Review:
The first thing I noticed about this book was how small it is. It is only 61 pages in length. However, within those 61 pages, this book is packed with a lot of great information. Everything in this book is both consistent with the other resources on barefoot running information I've read, as well my own limited experience.

The book starts out with a graduated program for becoming a barefoot runner. I can attest to most of the advice given at the beginner and intermediate levels, because they are right in line with my experiences. The advice for the advanced levels of training is also completely consistent with everything I've read on the subject so far. The author also offers more general training advice that, in my opinion, is "spot on" for any type of runner, shod or unshod, who is interested in improving his or her performance. I was very happy to read his recommendation of  emphasizing intensity over volume when training. I was also pleased to read his advice on getting adequate rest. The cross training advice was also excellent, and is based on the principles of CrossFit, of which I am also a strong advocate.

There was very little that I didn't like about the book, but I did have some quibbles with the discussion on technique. I believe that there is one basic technique that is optimal, and that there will only be slight variations on that technique according to individual differences, and situations. The laws of physics, after all, are the same for everyone. In this book, the author states that everyone must find a technique that works best for them. This is a popular notion among runners, but there is no strong evidence to support this idea. However, what he did say about what the elements of good running technique are, I did agree with completely.

One other quibble I had with this book was the advice to learn good technique via barefoot running. While this may be a good way to pick up good technique, my experience leads me to believe that learning good technique before starting to run barefoot, will make learning to run barefoot a little easier.

I'll finish up by saying that this is a great book. Anyone who is considering taking up barefoot or minimalist running should definitely read it. This book also offers a lot of great general advice on training that would be helpful to any runner. So even for those who will never abandon their running shoes, this book still has a lot to offer.

Book Link:
This book is available at Amazon.com just click on the following link.
http://www.amazon.com/Barefoot-Running-Book-Practical-Minimalist/dp/0615354440/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275037320&sr=8-1

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I'm very interested in barefoot running and I already purchased a barefoot sandals from invisibleshoe.com. This book will help me gain more knowledge about barefoot running.

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