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Book Review: The Cool Impossible

Posted Apr 27 2013 5:00am
The Cool Impossible: The Coach from "Born to Run" Shows How to Get the Most from Your Miles-And From Yourself Eric Orton (Author), Christopher McDougall (Foreword) $26.95 251 pages. Available May 7th, 2013

 This is how the publisher describes the book:

Featured in the bestselling book Born to Run, coach and performance guru Eric Orton has spent a lifetime learning and thinking about running and about the limitless possibilities of the human body and mind. In The Cool Impossible, Orton shares his wealth of knowledge in an inspiring step-by-step guide that will open up a new world of achievement for runners of all levels of ability and experience.

The truth is: Athleticism is awareness. That simple phrase is at the core of The Cool Impossible. Athleticism requires awareness of form and technique, awareness of our effort level, and, most important, awareness of what we think (and don’t think). And with that awareness comes the possibility of endless potential and improvement, progress and mastery—and, ultimately, achievement that you never before would have thought possible.

With a program focused on proper running form, strength development, and cardiovascular training, Orton will help first-step beginners, prime-time competitors, and enduring veterans reach “the cool impossible”—the belief that any achievement, athletic or otherwise, is within our reach. Inside you’ll find:

* Foot strength exercises to catapult performance, combat injuries, and transform technique
* A total-body strength program aimed at creating an athletic running body
* Step-by-step run-form coaching for performance enhancement and lifelong healthy running
* A run-training program providing the building blocks for endurance, strength, and speed
* No-nonsense nutrition strategies for performance, health, and the ultimate running body
* Visualization and mind-training tactics to run and live the Cool Impossible
*And much more…
Natural running is about so much more than barefoot running. It’s about the joy of running that we were all naturally born with and can reawaken. Like a favorite running companion, The Cool Impossible will be there with you, stride for stride and mile for mile, helping you go farther than you ever could have on your own.

When I recently was contacted concerning reviewing the new Eric Orton book I jumped at the change to do so. Being familiar with him from the Born To Run book I thought that this might be my only chance to get some guidance from such a great running/endurance coach.
Anytime that I have the chance to review such running books I try and take something away from them. My hope one day is that I will find the system that will work best for me to get me into proper shape and dorm to run. With this book I think I may have found as good as any guidance I have recently seen that would fit my needs. But I think I need to work up to a better foundation before being able to apply some of the exercises and instruction. The book overall I like very much. It is written in a very unique fashion where the author takes you through the week long training session that he does for any of his clients. I think this is a great approach since you get the feel and sense of what it would actually be like if you had the time and money to attend his training in Jackson Hole WY. I know that the book will be the closest I will get to training with him. The book literally takes you from landing at the airport through train and then back to your plane at the end of the week. In-between is a wonderful and straight forward book on how to improve as a runner.

The book at its core is one that will help you strengthen, improve and refine your body for running. From the basics of balance, strength, running form, nutrition and even mentally the book does a great job explaining and illustrating exercises and best pratices. The book also helps you to understand and apply other aspects of running to help you properly prepare for and achieve your Cool Impossible goals. It seems to want to ensure that you are covering all aspects of your conditioning and preparedness and not just one as I have seen in other books or programs. The book and program does have a couple of points that may be a down side for some. Like most books of this type I do feel that you should already be at a certain level of fitness before maybe refining your balance, form and strength through this book. To me, and I am currently in this shape, it may not be something I could just start without being at least to a certain fitness level. This is kind of supported in the fact that the pacing chart in the book ends a few minutes below where I am at. I do think that these aspects certainly could be applied to anyone and seem to be some of the best I have seen. I’m simply saying it might be more difficult if the reader is just starting out and is not at least to a certain level of endurance or fitness. The second point is that the balance and strength activities require some gear to do. Certainly one could go out and get some of it if they do not already have it. Or they could try and find something that would be comparable to use. Personally beyond the exercise ball I do not have the couple of balance items nor the ski or walking poles used in the illustrations. I can substitute the poles for other things in the house but the balance gear not. So I am somewhat stuck with what to do to try the program. Others as well may see this as a turn off if they cannot afford to go spend money for these items. I guess I’ll look around some garage sales or Play It Again shops to see what I can find.

Overall I think his is the best single running and or fitness book I have reviewed for the site. I find that the layers of exercises and conditioning make a lot of since. I also believe that the running form and work around that is a key piece of anyone’s running. When you combine the two areas you end up with an approach that will address all the key components of strength, balance and form. Add to that sound advice on the neede4d nutrition and mental awareness or toughness and the book is a real winner. If you are looking for a good program or need some refinement to your existing one, I highly recommend the Cool Impossible book. I know that I will never get out to his training in Jackson Hole, so this is the next best thing. Check out this book and his website .
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