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4.6 out of 5 stars31
4.6 out of 5 stars
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2013
Despite the slightly clunky attempts to imaginatively recreate what it would be like to actually train with Eric, this is a fantastically useful book for runners of all levels of interest, experience and ability. His approach is not conventional, but has a firm foundation in his experience and appears to be supported by science. He covers strength training for running, running technique, training programmes, nutrition and psychology. Highly recommended!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2013
The coaching side of the book with the strength and stability plans, foundation plan and work on form is great. I didn't mind the narrative with light hearted trips through the scenery of Idaho but can't imagine it will float everyone's boat
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2013
Won't give this 5 stars, as it is let down by the 2nd person narrative, which fills out the book a little. However the advice is excellent. Eric's hypothesis is that foot strength and fore-foot running are key to running free of injury. I buy into this, having bought some minimal drop shoes and noticed how effortless running is in these compared to my heavily cushioned, heel strikers. However even though I ran a marathon recently, I can't run more than a mile in my minimal drop and this is where Eric's advice comes in. The exercises Eric advocates are easy to follow (once you get the slant, wobble board, swiss ball and walking poles!) and are clearly explained. The nutrition advice is fantastic. I have lost 5 pounds, just by completely cutting out sugar in my diet as per Eric's guidance. The advice Eric gives on the mental side of the training is good but he is not as strong on this as he is with the physical exercises. Definitely recommended though

Update on 2nd Jan. I originally gave this 4 stars but I have increased this to 5. After a month of following Eric's exercises, I have increased my pace from running 11:30 minute miles to under 10 minute miles and holding this pace consistently over 8 miles. Running feels effortless and I am only at first base with the exercises having not yet progressed to the wobble board. At this rate I'll comfortably be able to drop my half marathon time from 2 hrs 40 to under 2 hours by my next half in March. Unbelievable!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2013
I read this book because of its link with 'Born to Run' and because the author claims he can make you a better, stronger runner. I suspect I am not alone in getting a few pains and problems throughout the year and the author claims to have a solution for this. I am already a good runner but want to learn more.
The strength training exercises look great, I have only just started them so cannot say they work but I have never come across anything like them before.
The book does come across as a marketing plug for the authors other enterprises. The book describes a weeks training 1:1 with the author detailing its aims and objectives. The nutrition plans described are also interesting.
I have to say I have enjoyed this book, I think it is well written and 'atmospheric' describing the terrain around the authors base, Jackson Hole in Wyoming. It certainly makes me want to come for a visit (hence my 'marketing' comment above!).
Will it stop me getting injured? If it does then it is worth its weight in gold to me. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to know how to run or how to run better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2013
I bought the book because I'd read about the author. I think it's ok. I found some bits interesting, but the tone was sometimes a bit of an issue for me. The title for one thing, and this concept of "cool impossible", rings a bit too much like a sales pitch from an ad agency. Overall it's a good exercise book, and I enjoyed the context and descriptions of the trails and runs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2015
A couple of observations:
1. This is really a very good training regime. But you have to have the time, inclination and drive to follow the running regime strictly. This creates problems if you have a season of club runs, races or goals that a you hope to achieve. You can't really integrate Orton's training system into a pre-existing running calendar. My suggestion would be to start the Cool Impossible around late October/November so that you can spend the winter and spring going for it! To be fair I think Orton recommends this too, but it needs stressing. Don't get the book and start trying to start the programme in January because you won't be fighting fit before May/June.
2. Orton's training regime is really very measured; running is dictated by heart rate and speed zone training. Without absolute dedication it is hard to maintain because you can loose the fun of going out and just running. Having said that, if you buy into this programme, after 5 months worth of it you will really be able to get back to running extremely well and enjoying it. The point of the rather scientific and almost sterile workouts is to get good returns for your effort.
3. The food section I think is probably the most challenging part of the book. The reason we all bought the book is because we are runners, so that starting a training method involving running (and even a selection of exercises to strengthen our running-related body) seems reasonable. But changing how one eats is a huge challenge and for most will be beyond what we can reasonably achieve given the pressures of work/lifestyle/family/availability!

Many people have been critical of the writing style: Orton invites you to join him for a one to one training week, which involves descriptions of the landscape the coffee shops and the local wildlife. For some this is incredibly frustrating. Personally I just ploughed through it to get to the next bit of relevant information. But Orton's ultimate aim is to awaken a 'spiritual' attitude to how you view your running and your dream 'goal', and without Orton's more personal style of writing I think his final section would clash somewhat with the rest of the book.

Orton's strength training, gait analysis and running programme are all very logical, but seem to have almost nothing in common with the natural-born runners of Mexico who are so often quoted throughout the book. Lets be honest, we are not all born in a village in Mexico where we were brought up running for joy everyday until we develop 'superhuman' capacities. So personally I feel Orton's reflections about the running tribes are all a bit pointless and are in marked contradiction to the science of his training regime.

In all I think this book offers a lot of useful information, but you have to go for it entirely (possibly minus the food bit) to get the gains....this means 5 months of putting a lot of your running decisions in the hands of Orton as your personal coach.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2013
I read this on the back of Born to Run. As someone who has been running the 'wrong way' for about 30 years and suffered many injuries and a bad back, which on Christmas eve meant I couldn't get off the floor due to spasm, I have found the idea that running shoes contribute to injury revelationary. I have seen specialists, had MRI, x-ray, accupuncture - all to no avail. I bought a pair of £9.99 flat shoes (spending minimal amount on minimilist shoes!) and will do a 10 mile race tomorrow. It's thanks to Eric Orton's sound practical advice that this is possible. Reading the Cool Impossible is about as close to running with Eric as it's possible without actually meeting the man himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2013
What a fantastic book and written in a style that makes it so easy to enjoy.
The premise of the book makes perfect sense and I've found that by following the foot and core strengthening work I have gained stability and control for all of my activities, not just running.
Excellent book
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on 5 August 2013
I have read countless books about running but every one adds something to my knowledge. This one is focusing a lot on strength training and balance...and has a point! You can't be a good runner if you have imbalances and poor running form. I also appreciated the "20 days sugar detox". I was not eating any junk food already before but I had my jam, chocolate, the occasional cookie every single day. Replacing them with nuts, fresh and dry fruit made a huge difference! I am less hungry and feel better! it definitely worked for me. Only problem with this book: the transitional program is hard to follow. Too many training zones, a bit cryptic. Overall happy with the purchase, though!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2013
‘Born to Run’, one of the most-read running books of the last decade, really got us thinking about our amazing human ability to run long distance and the importance of good biomechanics. In it these themes are woven around the story of author Chris McDougall’s own participation in an epic fifty mile race through Copper Canyon in Mexico with those amazing natural runners the Tarahumara Indians. Chris however, at 6 foot 4 and 240 pounds, had suffered many running injuries over the years and considered completing such an epic run extremely unlikely. Until he met Eric Orton.

Unlike Chris, Eric is still an unfamiliar name to many of us in the UK, though I hope that through his new book that will soon change. Eric coached Chris to achieve his ‘Cool Impossible’ - the thing he really wanted to do, but in his wildest dreams didn’t think was achievable. In this book Eric, who completed that run too, shows us how we can make the best of our ability and achieve our very own 'Cool Impossible'' He shows us how to wake up the important stabilising muscles in the body to achieve a better equilibrium and reduce injury by using simple tools like slant and wobble boards and a fitball. He shares how to condition the upper body for running too and shows us good running form. Much of the book is dedicated to demonstrating these drills and laying out a training schedule that's customisable to whatever level we start from. Eric also advises on food and training ourselves, all of which I felt were valuable additions to the book.

It's worth pointing out that there are also a set of 3 DVDs which add more detail to the drills, available from Eric's website as part of a strength training kit which also includes the slant & wobble boards. I bought the kits too and have found them a great addition and good value for money.

So should you buy the book? Well at this price I think it's a no-brainer, but if you're uncertain try this little test that Eric offers in the book. Simply try and balance on each forefoot in turn for 30 seconds each. Most folks Eric says can’t do this. As a long term barefooter with what I’d always assumed to be strong feet, I was shocked at how challenging it was for me too. Right there he’d got me hooked and I've been doing them ever since and beginning to enjoy the extra strength I'm feeling in my running.
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