The inspiration for this book came on a January evening when I visited the track at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco with my friend, Hans Overturf. Hans announced earlier in the day that we would go to Kezar for his weekly speed workout.
It was a Tuesday evening, so it was not surprising that Hans was going to conduct his speed training. After all, almost every runner seems to believe that an up-to-date running program must include speed work on Tuesdays. What was astonishing was that there were more than 300 runners on the track that night—a real shock to a man who had just arrived in the Bay Area from Lansing, Michigan. Back home, I would have been lucky to find one hardy soul, draped in at least seven layers of wind-resistant material, shivering and sliding along the Lansing River Trail in a desperate attempt at a workout.
The throng at Kezar had no such difficulty with the weather (it was a balmy 57 degrees at the track), and the exercisers were quite diverse, as I had come to expect in San Francisco: There was a nun walking the track in her habit, a businessman jogging the oval in his suit and tie, an elderly man in bedroom slippers, a gray-haired woman pushing a walker, as well as an array of runners of all ages and ability levels, including some highly fit participants from several area running clubs.
The eye-opening and highly disturbing shock of the night was the realization that almost all the runners were moving around the track with terrible running form. The slowest runners had bad form, but so did the fastest harriers. Their gait patterns were quite similar, despite the wide range of speeds. Men and women were infected with serious cases of horrible running form.
And yet nothing was being done about it! Coaches ringed the track like ants at a picnic, calling out splits and instructions to the runners as they passed by. Among the coaching cohort, there was careful attention to stop watches and ample information provided about overall workout composition, work-interval lengths, recovery times, numbers of repetitions, running velocities, availability of sports drinks, and so on. But not one peep emerged about how the runners were actually moving.
Introduction: The Importance of Form
Part I. Why Form Matters
Chapter 1. Traditional Views on Form
Chapter 2. Comparing Ordinary and Elite Runners
Chapter 3. Elements of Form
Chapter 4. How Form Can Enhance Performance and Prevent Injury
Part II. Assessing and Improving Form
Chapter 5. Assessing Form
Chapter 6. Improving Foot-Strike Pattern
Chapter 7. Upgrading Shank Angle
Chapter 8. Shortening Stance Time and Increasing Cadence
Chapter 9. Improving Body Lean
Chapter 10. Promoting Positive Posture
Chapter 11. Putting It All Together
Part III. Form Factors for Running Success
Chapter 12. Running Shoes and Form
Chapter 13. Form Considerations for Special Groups
Chapter 14. Running-Specific Strength Training
Chapter 15. Integrating Form Work Into Your Seasonal Training
About the Author
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