Running Fast and Injury Free-Gordon Pirie Book by John Gilbody

Runner's Web


I co-wrote a 35,500-word book with the famous NZ/UK runner and orienteer Gordon Pirie, which I have self-published. It gives I hope a fascinating insight into top-notch athletics and training, and is ideal for the beginner and professional alike. If you would like a free sample chapter please e-mail me
( I also sell the book for a nominal amount (UK pounds and US dollars accepted - cash or cheque but not credit card), but this is NOT a commercial venture - the photocopying involved, together with card and ring-binder, costs more than the sale price. Also, the book took me five years to produce. However, I promised Gordon before he died that I would publish the book, and so I have! A book review has just been published in the UK's "Athletics Weekly" (22 July 1998; p.26), as follows:

"Running Fast and Injury Free by Gordon Pirie (edited by John S Gilbody). More than 70 per cent of running shoes on the market today are causing injuries by their design! A startling statement maybe but one of many the late Gordon Pirie makes in this book. Pirie, one of the all-time athletics greats, covers just about everything in this amazing book. The original manuscript took him just 24 hours to complete and then a further five years editing with Gilbody. The outward result looks rather unprofessional - it's a simple, A4 ring-bound effort. But the content is well worth the £13 investment (£10 plus £3 p&p). For your money you get 35,500 words covering why athletes fail, injuries, techniques and shoes, training, weight training, diet and vitamins. There's also some interesting stuff in the introduction, along with Pirie's own training methods. In the 'shoes' chapter Pirie explains how he got a 58-year-old marathon runner to lower his best time from 3:28 to 2:58 just by changing his shoes. Accept the book for what it is; a simply produced work with no pictures and then enjoy a good read. Copies are available from: Dr John S Gilbody, One Rookswood Close, Hook, Hampshire RG27 9EU [ENGLAND]".

For US dollar orders, please send a check for US$25 (this price includes airmail postage). For Australia/New Zealand/Asia: Aus$40 (I have an Australian bank account) or US/UK currency equivalent. For UK/Europe: UK£13. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail me.

FURTHER INFORMATION "Running fast and injury free" is partly biographical (Gordon's early years, experiences at Adidas - he invented spiked racing shoes with the late Adolf (Adi) Dassler - and the White City, Olympic participations, world records etc.), but it also outlines the training schedules that Gordon followed, including (in some detail) Interval Training, and sets out detailed training programmes for aspiring athletes to follow (of whatever level). In typical Gordon fashion, the book is highly controversial and radical (e.g. comments on running shoe design and running technique), whilst remaining very entertaining. For example: "Incidentally, Windsor Castle was the starting line for the 1908 Olympic Marathon, so that King Edward VII could view the start. From there it was 26 miles and 385 yards to the finish line at the site of the ex White City Stadium - the marathon distance which has survived to this day". I bet you didn't know that!

A quote from the book's Introduction, illustrating Gordon's accomplishments: "In the last 45 years, I have participated in three Olympic Games (winning a Silver Medal in the 5,000 metre race at the 1956 Melbourne Games), and have set five official world records (and a dozen or so more unofficial world bests). I have faced and beaten most of the greatest athletes of my time, and have run to date nearly a quarter of a million miles. Along the way, I have coached several of Great Britain and New Zealand's best runners some of whom have set their own world records. In addition, I aided the late Adolf (Adi) Dassler (founder of Adidas) in developing spiked racing shoes, on which most of today's good designs are based. This brief list of some of my accomplishments is presented in order to lend credibility to what follows". Is the book radical? Oh yes. For example: "There are three basic reasons for the injury epidemic currently sweeping the running world, which is making life unpleasant for millions of runners, and destroying many more who are lost to the sport forever. The first is the most basic - very few runners know how to run correctly. Improper technique puts undue strain on the feet, ankles, knees, back and hips, and makes injury inevitable. The second reason is more subtle than the first, though closely related to it. Most running shoes today are designed and constructed in such a manner as to make correct technique impossible (and therefore cause chronic injuries to the people who wear them). It is a common misconception that a runner should land on his or her heels and then roll forward to the front of the foot with each stride. In designing their shoes, most shoe companies fall prey to this incorrect assumption. The result is that running shoes get larger and clumsier every year. Far from protecting runners, these shoes actually limit the runner's ability to run properly, and as a result may contribute to the injury epidemic. The third factor accounting for the current plague of injuries is an over-emphasis on mileage in training, especially "long slow distance" (LSD). Without the constant maintenance of a proper balance in training including sprinting, interval training, weights, hills and long-running - a runner's body simply will not adapt to the stresses it encounters on a day to day basis."

I have had the books ring-bound as professionally as possible, and spent several years carefully editing the text to make it as accurate, error-free and medically rigorous as possible.


At some stage I hope to put up a web site about Gordon Pirie, and will probably post the book there eventually (some or all of it). Search for "Gilbody+Pirie" on the search engines in 6 months time!


"Guinness Book of Records 1998" entry for Gordon Pirie (p.276): "GREATEST MILEAGE. Douglas Alistair Gordon Pirie (GB), who set five world records in the 1950s, estimated that he had run a total distance of 347,600km (216,000 miles) in 40 years to 1981."


CHAPTER ONE Introduction
CHAPTER TWO Why Athletes Fail
CHAPTER THREE Injuries, Technique and Shoes
CHAPTER FIVE Weight Training
CHAPTER SIX Diet and Vitamins


John S Gilbody (25 July 1998)
One Rookswood Close
Hampshire RG27 9EU
Fax: +44 (0) 1256 760 100


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