28/07/2013

HOW TO RUN – by PAULA RADCLIFFE (Book review – attempt 2)…

I did try to review this book before but it annoyed the hell out of me. It was effectively a Nike catalog. Every model, not just the “author”, was adorned in nothing but Nike products, with the Tick everywhere to be seen. It just annoyed me, as it was all I could see on each page I turned. Let’s see how far I get this time.

It is available here on Amazon. There are reviews that give it 4 stars out of 5. But I am not swayed by views unless there is a complete consensus.

CHAPTER ONE

This was as far as I got last time. I studied psychology, my most recent degree was in counselling and psychology and this chapter, with its psych 101 look at goal oriented positive thinking wound me up. Sure, make a list of goals, some attainable, some not, as the books says, but it should tell you how to deal with the debilitating downs caused by not achieving them. It does not.

There are no lists, no examples, just blurb. It is a kind of constant stream of consciousness full of psychobabble that is very nice, but very light, and with no clear direction.

CHAPTER TWO

This tells you what you need  to run. It talks about shoes – there is a nauseating paragraph where the “author” lists virtually all the Nike shoes available to women runners. There is advice – 1. buy the Nike dri-fit clothing, 2. buy the Nike storm-clothing, 3. actually just buy Nike. For all items you could buy that Nike do not make, there is a mention, a short paragraph, and absolutely no recommendation of where to buy the item, and who the suggested and recommended manufacturers are. The “author” mentions sunglasses and can be seen wearing some in a Nike adorned photo, no mentioned as to the make though. MP3 players, but no mention of Apple.

It also talks about running style. It does not, however, as I would, use diagrams to show pronation, or arm movement, gait, front foot, mid foot or heel striking. Oh no, if you did that, with diagrams, with arrows showing movement, you probably wouldn’t use photos, you would use illustrations. Of course here you have photos because… wait for it, wait for it… yes, the models in the photos can wear clothing from a global sportswear clothing company.

What is missing? An explanation of how to tie your shoes. I know this sounds odd, but I lace straight across, not diagonal. Why? Because I find diagonal squeezes my feet too tight and gives me pins and needles in my feet.

CHAPTER THREE

At last something useful. This chapter gives you a breakdown of the strength building exercises you can do to strengthen your core, to help your running. It also shows you how to stretch before and after a run. It wasn’t anything new and we probably knew most, if not all of this, but for the novice this was a fun little read. We all need to warm up and warm down, we all need to stretch to prevent injury, and we all need to do more than just run.

There is an additional area listing some of the running related issues and injuries you can get.

And AGAIN! All this interesting stuff is not photographed, or shown as diagram. Instead we get more photos of the “author” and the models in Nike wear.

NIKE PHOTO COUNT – 131 images with Nike clothing on them, 34 without.Only because Nike does not make food. They also used the same photo of a woman writing in a journal (Possibly about running, but probably her Nike shopping list) several times to make up this number. The woman may be wearing Nike clothing, but the Tick wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

CHAPTER FOUR

This is really about getting started but… And this is a problem from the off, it is really about getting started, as if you had never run before. The training plans are for a 5K, starting from scratch. Now, while it does impart the sage advice to only increase your distance or time by no more than 10% per week, and it does advise on rest days there isn’t anything there I didn’t know.

Again, it doesn’t feel like Paula Radcliffe wrote this, especially the comments on the Baby Boomers. Ghost Writer who doesn’t really run, is just imparting common sense, rather than a seasoned pro and world champion and world record holder offering advice to make us better runners.

CHAPTER FIVE

Training plans for the intermediate and experienced runners for 10K, half and full marathons in this chapter make me realise I am not training enough for Berlin and am going to have my ass handed to me on a platter. Still, one must persevere.

The plans are pretty detailed.

While I am surprised in the paragraph discussing taking on board water she (or he – the actual author/ghost writer) doesn’t mention that Nike make water bottles, I am disappointed that those hard working chaps at CamelBak do not. They are the number one provider of hydration equipment for runners. How can a book about running miss them out? Easily, if the whole thing is a Nike wet dream.

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