BOOK REVIEW.  RUNNING SCIENCE: the Ultimate Nexus of Knowledge and Performance. by Owen Anderson, PhD

thRUNNING SCIENCE is an impressive book, could call it a modern bible, that collects up-to-date data on running research. Everyone who might be a serious athlete ought to check it out.  It’s a book you want to own: a a 600-page, 51-chapter ultimate reference for upgrading training and performance.

During his career, the author Owen Anderson, a man who has devoted his career to the sport of running, spent time in Kenya studying the training techniques of top Kenyan runners, and he has coached Benjamin Simatei , Antony Maina, Leah Malot  Catherine Dugdale, and Diane Palmason  to name a few.  He has a Phd in Zoology/Physiology, is a National Science Foundation fellow, and speaks four languages–English, French, Italian, and Swahili.

Anderson developed the “neural system” for training endurance runners. The  program de-emphasizes training volume and rather focuses on high-quality running and strength workouts. In fact, this is what his book drives home: the problem of overuse injury.  Often runners just run too many miles and, though running improves fitness and overall health, running too much jeopardizes health and increases likelihood of injury.  Anderson argues that running specific strength training routines that mimic the mechanics of running are the key to progressing quickly and running farther. In addition, practicing recovery techniques after a run are of utmost importance for preventing injury.

All data in the book is backed up with scientific research.  For example, a question all runners ponder: When and how much carbohydrate-infused drink should be ingested during a long run? “If a runner takes in too little carbohydrate…the effect on muscle glycogen use will be minimal. If too much carbohydrate is ingested significant amounts of water will be pulled osmotically into the stomach from surrounding tissues to dilute the carbs, and gastric upset and diarrhea will follow.”

The book contains helpful photos, info on finding the right shoe, the latest lactate-threshold velocity studies, and plenty of footnotes and reference reading.

608 pages

publisher: Human Kinetics