Why Everyone Should Consider Running
Get Running (2011) by Matt Roberts
Roberts believes in the transformational qualities of running, referring to its ability to incite positive emotions, bring new understanding to life and find otherwise unexplored places in the world.
He outlines a concise history of modern running, starting in the 1960s by Arthur Lydiard, an influential ‘jogger’ from New Zealand. He proposes that running is the quickest and simplest means of getting fitter and losing weight. The appeal of fundraising and running ultramarathons only heightens people’s natural instinct to lead healthier lives.
The distinction between sprinting and endurance running is also summarised.
Fast running is defined by a few movements at a high resistance, which strengthens the lower body and stimulates the metabolism. Generally, the forefoot or midfoot running style is most efficient as there is less impact on the ground to slow forward propulsion.
Less intense, more consistent aerobic running that lasts a relatively long time improves the efficiency of the lungs, heart and cells. Bones also thicken over time to cope with the monotonous stress on the body. Generally, the running style will be different for longer training runs and races than shorter distances.
The factors that affect the running style of any runner include experience, muscular strength, flexibility and racing goal. The importance of conditioning the body so that a mix of styles can be adopted, depending on the situation, should be every runner’s priority.
Roberts’ advice on breathing is comprehensive, urging runners to view oxygen as a fuel and practice whilst not running. Effective breathing requires relaxed and controlled movements of the diaphragm. He suggests that counting whilst breathing can help maintain a rhythm.