Monday, 17 September 2012

Tread Lightly Book Review

Tread Lightly is a book by Peter Larson and Bill Katovsky. Pete is well known in running blog circles as being the writer of  This and other blogs have been a great help to me in learning how to adopt a more natural running technique over the past year.


Tread Lightly provides a good introduction to current research on natural  running - that is running in a manner that is more akin to running barefoot. It provides a balanced view of the science and anecdotal evidence (where research is lacking) surrounding running injury risk reduction and is likely to be of use to the recreational runner and the more serious runner. I would highly recommend that you read this book. 


The book is very balanced. The authors provide a very honest opinion of the relative merits and disadvantages of natural running issues. This is often backed up by summaries of research, where available or anecdotal evidence where it is not. Coming from a science background I liked this aspect of the book as it not based on opinion but is backed up largely by hard facts.

Tread Lightly is well structured setting the scene as to why humans are evolved to run long distances and why runners should not suffer the types and frequencies of common running injuries. The authors then discuss the merits of various improvements to running that are touted as reducing injury risk (running barefoot/minimal shoes, pronation control in running shoes, foot strike, running stride changes and nutrition). 

One of the key surprises for me was just how much overstriding contributes to increased injury risk - much more than other factors such as heel striking (although the two are quite closely linked). The book finishes with a conclusion that summarises the main points in the book. I could see this section acting as a regular source of reference almost like a task list of improvements to reduce injury risk. One minor improvements is that the chapter on nutrition could have been more detailed - although the subject was little beyond the main focus of the book.


A really good read. Whether you are an experienced or new runner and currently know little about good running technique and injury risk reduction then this book will offer you a one-stop-shop to learn more. The book covers the disadvantages as well as the advantages of making injury reduction changes that are often discussed in the natural running scene. The merits of such changes are based not on opinion but are backed up by fact.