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Run Till You're 100!

 

I've read a lot of running and fitness books. Frequently I'll buy a book for a particular section that may be of interest. Often I end up using the books more as references at-the-ready for when I need to find the answer to a particular question. One book that I actually read in one sitting is Run for Life: The Anti-Aging, Anti-Injury, Super-Fitness Plan to Keep You Running to 100. Roy Wallack (in a conversational and often witty voice) details a life plan for running.
 
His goal is not to just live to 100 and shuffle along, but to actually run on his 100th birthday. Sound outrageous? Well, when you consider that today one out of every 10, 000 Americans live to 100—and those numbers will only increase in the coming years with more and more medical advances—it may not be that outrageous. Wallack has collected information from some of the most innovative coaches and trainers, the latest scientific research, as well as interviews from some of the pioneers of running, including Frank Shorter, Bill Rogers, and Bobbi Gibb.
 
Wallack is blunt in saying that if all you do is run, you won't be running at 100. He stresses that most runners will need to make some changes to ensure this goal. Wallack presents a plan that involves
running soft—a 5-step running form that can reduce knee-joint pounding and pain by 50%
running less—not running more than 3-4 days a week and never 2 in a row; adding cross-training
running stronger—high-intensity strength training to revive power, reaction time, balance
running flexible—a 10-position, 8-minute yoga warm-up routine designed for runners
running straighter—using a small inexpensive tool that ensures perfect alignment with every stride
running faster—running short, intense intervals to build muscle and increase V02 max
 
Not only is this book a great read, full of oral histories of everyday runners as well as the stars of the sport, it's also packed with practical how-to information for each step in the plan. Wallack presents the plan in a very non-threatening manner. He says upfront that he realizes many runners will not make all six changes, but even if they make just one or two, their running will be vastly improved.