It's one of those books that probably every runner should read. It explains how and why people get injured and gives you self-assessment tests to highlight some potentially weak areas and how to fix them.
A few highlights from the book and take-home lessons:
- I was surprised that he was generally positive on "barefoot/minimalist" shoes. I had stopped wearing my Vibrams, afraid that it was going to cause injury, and the opposite is likely true. I've started wearing them again and really working on my foot strength.
- The author suggested that sometimes 100% rest does more harm than good when injured. This is in line with my experiences but there is actually scientific evidence that reduced workouts when injured is better than full rest.
- Attempting to race 3 times in 4 days on low mileage is probably what caused my original groin injury, which set off the cascade of other issues. I taxed my body way more than I was ready to do, and I broke down. Yep.
- I have what the author calls "Toilet Bowl of Doom" running posture - way tight hip flexors, quad dominant, and excess flex in the lower back. Note: Do not google "Toilet Bowl of Doom" and certainly don't watch any videos with that name.
- The amount of time it takes to affect change with stretching is really, really long. You have to keep at it before real changes are seen.
- Single-leg balance is as important as strength.
Things I've started to do:
- Stretch my hip flexors for 3 minutes every evening.
- Work on my foot strength, including my big toe strength.
- I balance on one foot at various points during the day, and in the evening, I get on a balance disc.
- Continue the hip and core work.
- More barefoot running and walking. Ditch the orthotics and shoes with heels.
The self-assessment and exercise chapters are short and sweet - if you really have been injured, especially with a recurring injury, there is no replacement for a professional opinion. But the rest of the book helps put physical therapy in context and explain why it's so important to have a well-rounded physical ability before racing and taxing the body with running. Worth the read!