On the cover of Running Strong, beneath the name of the author, Jordan D. Metzl, MD, is, in parentheses, “32 Marathons & 12 Ironmans.” Why is this information so important that it’s featured on the cover of the book? Because runners don’t trust doctors who aren’t runners. At least, most of us don’t. I once had a doctor (not a runner, but a well-known orthopedist who had treated professional footballÂ players) tell me I should quit running as it appeared from an x-ray that running was doing more harm to my hips than good. I was 27. It’s a good thing I was (still am) stubborn because I ignored that advice and promptly found an orthopedist who was a runner and who gave me a completely different diagnosis.
Dr. Jordan Metzl is, it’s evident, a runner. Moreover, he’s a runner who has experienced severe injury (torn ACL), and has not only recovered from the injury but has also keptÂ at bay the resulting arthritis with a strength training program he created called IronStrength. Running Strong is a perfect book for me with lots of pictures. 😉 There’s also an app called Blippar that you can download in order toÂ step inside Dr. Metzl’s virtual office and watch a number of helpful videos (there are over 30) that accompany the book.
The book is a great resource for runners who’ve had or who currently have injuries. The first section of the book, “Nuts and Bolts,” describes the kinetic chain and why strengthening this chain is so important for runners, and explains why we get hurt and how running mechanics play a part.
Section 2, “What’s That Pain?” is further dividedÂ into sections for parts of the body.
It’s easy to look up an injury based on the affected body part. The images of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are fantastic and really help me see what the text is describing. I went straight to the lower leg section to research calf muscle injuries, since those have plagued me for some time. Each injuryÂ is further divided, describing first symptoms, then “what’s going on,” followed by “what to do” and “prevention,” which includes stretches and strengthening exercises. There’s also a blippar video accompanying each injury description, for more information about prevention and treatment. Dr. Metzl also explains how to recognize the difference between good pain and bad pain, when you can keep running and when you need to stop.
Part 3, “Getting the Most from Your Machine,” provides descriptions and images of the IronStrength training exercises Dr. Metzl recommends all runners do to prevent injury, as well as correct foam rolling form. There are blippar videos accompanying these exercises so you can see how to do them correctly. I’ve been following the Iron Strength program, and can attest that it’s challenging but a lot of fun. The plyometric jump squats are definitely the exercises I love to hate!
“Tools of the Trade” covers the foods athletes should/shouldn’t eat, shoes and clothing, and touches on the barefoot debate. The final section, “His and Hers,” discusses issues specific to women and those that apply to men. The appendix features training plans for distances 5K to the Marathon.
I read the first section of the book in its entirety, enjoying Dr. Metzl’s passion for and obvious love of running and its benefits (as he notes, running has been shown to treat mild to moderate depression), along with the great tips and advice. The information is laid out in an easy-to-read format, with sidebars and images to break up the text. Â I read “Tools of the Trade” and the women’s section of “His and Hers” in similar fashion. I consider the other sections of the book to be perfect for reference, parts that I’ll dip intoÂ when I want some more information. I plan to keep doing the IronStrength programÂ and accompanying stretching/foam rolling exercises.
Running Strong debunks the myth many of us runners hear: “Running is bad for your knees” and asserts that runners tend to have less arthritis in their knees than the general population, and advocates daily foam rolling (more important than stretching)Â as well as strength training to run faster and with less injury.
Overall, I think this is a great read as well as a fantastic resource for all runners, young or old, beginners or old-timers, injured or injury-free. Especially good for those who like books with pictures. 😉
- Buy the book
- Dr. Metzl’s website
- Dr. Metzl on Twitter:Â @drjordanmetzl
- Dr. Metzl on Instagram:Â @drjordanmetzl
- Dr. Metzl on Facebook
Disclaimer: I was sent a complimentary copy of Running Strong by Rodale/Runners World in exchange for my review. However, the views expressed in this post are entirelyÂ my own. I never guarantee a positive review and rarely give one that is 100% positive.Â