Two words: MUST READ. Well, Runner’s World The Runner’s Body: How the Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer, and Fasterby Ross Tucker, Jonathan Dugas and Matt Fitzgerald is a must read if you run. It might be a little overwhelming to novices, but if you’re like me and have three, four, five or many more years of running tallied on your legs, understanding the science of running can be an eye opener.
Perfect timing for me to read this, too (aside from being assigned a review for a newspaper): I’m hitting my summer wall, which is when it gets hot and humid in New Jersey and the last thing I want to do is run. I tell myself that I CAN’T run because it’s hot. I chalk it up to being a “cold weather runner,” but I’m starting to wonder if it’s more of a mental block that comes from once being so dehydrated that I almost ended up in the hospital (not from running, though — and not from drinking alcohol). That experience was petrifying. I lost all control of my body and was sick for days after. Why would I want to put myself out into hazy, hot and humid weather and risk it?
I’ve been working past this block so far by doing hot and humid runs this past week, starting in the early morning hours. I’ve also bought myself a water bottle that straps around my hand, even though people tell me I don’t need to hydrate for runs under an hour. I understand that after reading this book, but I think having it with me, knowing that I can get a drink if I need it, makes a huge mental difference, and has pushed me through some muggy runs so far (a sip of water from a water found at 22 minutes into my run today made a big difference).
The information about overhydrating was eye opening, too — no runner has died of dehydration, as far as the authors know. But runners have died from putting too much water and sports drink in their bodies. I’ll tell that to all the Broad Street volunteers who screamed at me to drink during the last legs of the race. The authors carefully pull apart research that comes of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and why their studies do not work for runners, and they imply without directly say that their push to get runners to drink, drink and drink some more has lead to tragic outcomes.
Yes, it’s scientific, but told in a way that is accessible. I’ve taught technical writing before, and this book is an example of technical writing done right. Fascinating read.