I was stoked to receive my copy of The Ultimate Runner, published by Health Communications, Inc, in the mail a couple days ago. Edited by Tom Green and Amy Hunold-VanGundy, The Ultimate Runner is a collection of stories and advice for runners to “keep you moving”. Included in the collection, first in the chapter on “Must Know Information” is my contribution, a piece called “Stretching: A Secret Weapon for Runners”. Various stretches are detailed here, mainly addressing the lower back, legs and hips. There’s also a section on athletic recovery that offers a couple passive stretches. While it’s nearly impossible for runners to sit still and be effortless, these two stretches can easily be done watching TV and are essential for allowing the legs and backs to recover from workouts.

Other contributors in this volume include Claire Kowalchik – former managing editor of Runner’s World magazine. Claire couldn’t be better qualified to write “What Every Woman Needs to Know About Running” having already penned a book on the subject, titled The Complete Book of Running for Women. In this chapter, Kowalchik offers specific advice on how to avoid injuries that women are particularly vulnerable to, such as knee problems, shin splints and stress fractures. In my own practice I frequently treat such injuries on female runners and Claire’s advice is right on for helping to prevent them.

Lisa Dorfman (no relation to me) is another writer I admire. A former pro-triathlete and athletic consultant to Olympic-level athletes, Lisa is also the director of Sports Nutrition and Performance for the Athletic Department at the University of Miami. The author of various books on diet and nutrition, Dorfman’s contribution, naturally, focuses on “Nutrition for Training, Competition and Recovery”. As a runner or athlete of any kind, if you have any questions about diet and nutrition, Lisa Dorfman is the go-to person for the right information.

One of the great things about The Ultimate Runner is that, along with chronicling the “must-know information” from so-called experts, the editors also include short works about the personal experience of runners from many different aspects of the sport. Frank McKinney’s piece, “Relentless Forward Motion on the White Line from Hell to Heaven”, is one of my favorite such writings. McKinney, a five-time international best selling author, writes about running the Badwater Ultramarathon, as a metaphor for life. This 135 mile race takes place in Death Valley where daytime temperatures routinely reach 120 degrees and only 65% of participants reach the finish line. With his goal of “no wasted effort” McKinney completes his third and final race in 43:02:04 hours, after failing to finish his second race and falling short of his goal of 48 hours the first time.

Editors Green and Hunold-VanGundy, are perhaps best known as the creators of Runners’ Lounge, the on-line community for runners. Check it out. And the book too.