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Introducing My Book: Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear and the Quest for Injury-Free Running

Tread Lightly Front CoverAbout 16 months ago I received an email from a guy named Bill Katovsky asking me if I had any interest in writing a book. I didn’t know him at the time, but I had at least given thought to the idea of writing something more than another blog post. We spoke on the phone a few times, and found that we had a mutual interest in writing about running and exercise (he founded Tri-Athlete Magazine many years ago, co-authored a book titled “Bike for Life,” and more recently authored a book titled “Return to Fitness: Getting Back in Shape after Injury, Illness, or Prolonged Inactivity.” Bill is also a co-founder and editorial director of the Natural Running Center website).

Bill’s initial idea was for me to write the book and he would serve as editor and agent (which he has done for several books by Phil Maffetone), but in our conversations we came up with a concept that was going to be more than I could handle on my own given time constraints associated with my day job and being a father of three little kids. So, we agreed to co-author a book and divided up the topics that we wanted to hit upon. After a sometimes grueling process (as I hear any book-writing experience can be), Bill and I finally finished our book last month (which involved a marathon editing session while I was on vacation with my family in Disney World!).

The end product of our labors is a book titled Tread Lightly: Form, Footwear and the Quest for Injury-Free Running. The content will not come as a surprise to readers of this blog (or Bill’s Zero Drop blog). We basically address the question of why modern runners so often get hurt. We don’t pretend to provide an answer that will “cure” running injuries, but we do take what we feel is a fairly balanced look at topic as it relates to form, footwear, and food (and much more). This is by no means a barefoot running book (far from it!), or even necessarily a minimalist running book. Rather, it is a book that attempts to look at how modern humans differ from our running ancestors, what both history and modern science tell us about form, footwear, and injuries, and how this knowledge might be applied to reduce your chances of getting hurt. A lot of the questions we address still have incomplete answers, but our hope is that our writing will stimulate continued thought, research, experimentation and discussion.

Over the coming weeks you will hear more about this book, and I’ll likely post a few excerpts leading up to the official release date (June 1 according to Amazon, but could be a few weeks earlier if the current schedule holds. For now, I’ll provide the chapter titles to give you a feel for the breadth of topics that we cover:

Introduction – Pete’s Story and Bill’s Story

Chapter 1 – The Evolution of Running in Humans

Chapter 2 – Running Injuries: Why They Happen

Chapter 3 – Barefoot and Running

Chapter 4 – The Running Shoe

Chapter 5 – The Recreational Runner

Chapter 6 – Pronate Nation

Chapter 7 – Foot Strike

Chapter 8 – The Running Stride

Chapter 9 – Turning the Clock Back on Nutrition

If you are interested in pre-ordering a copy of Tread Lightly, you can do so on I don’t have official confirmation that a Kindle version will be released, but I assume that this will happen (I read most books on the Kindle app on the Iphone these days, so I plan to push for it). If you’d like to help this process along, you can go to the Amazon page for Tread Lightly and click on the “Tell the Publisher: I’d like to read this book on Kindle” link just below the cover photo.

Thanks to all of you who read this blog and have offered your support over the past few years – I owe much of the thought process that led to the book’s evolution to discussions that I have had here!

Below are the front and back covers of Tread Lightly:

Tread Lightly Front CoverTread Lightly Back Cover

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Looking forward to your book (I clicked the kindle request as well). It looks like a nice balance between ‘barefoot mania’ and the current paradigm. 

  2. Congratulations! Looking forward to the book!

  3. Cool.  I’ll have to get your book.  

  4. Elissa Ballas says:

    Awesome!  Looking forward to reading it and recommending to my patients!

    • Pete Larson says:

      I appreciate it. We’re hoping that the book has some impact in the health care field. Jay Dicharry was one of our go-to guys for quotes and info.

  5. Mike LaChapelle says:

    Congrats on the book, Pete. Look forward to reading it.

  6. xiao bin says:

    Looking forward to get the kindle version!
    Thanks for writing the great articles!

  7. I’m looking forward to the paper version, actually. Congratulations, it must be very satisfying to create a book. I don’t feel too bad asking this question on this blog : what are those shoes the cover model is wearing ?

  8. Samuel Ho says:

    Congratulations! Looking forward to the Kindle version!

  9. Brian Martin says:

    Bet you’re glad you reached this finish line Pete! Congratulations.

  10. Canadian says:

    Great! I have pre-ordered it on

  11. Katovsky Bill says:

    Allow me to echo, if not embellish a tad, Pete’s post here. Writing and/or co-authoring a book is like going on a journey, When you start the process, you have a general idea or road map; but along the way, as you come across new findings, articles, or research, you need to adjust the scope to keep everything in focus. With that said, I learned a lot as Pete’s wing man on this book. I hope readers of this book gain as much from Tread Lightly as I did in co-authoring it with Pete. — Bill Katovsky

  12. Order placed and I can’t wait to read it!  I’ve learned so much from your blog and have continued exploration, reading study after study related to form, impact forces, shoes, biomechanics, etc.  Thank you for initiating my journey.  

  13. woohoo! Congrats! Cannot wait to read it. 

  14. Lindsay Knake says:

    Can’t wait to read it! The stuff you write is just common sense, it’ll be great to have a book full of that same thinking.

  15. Can’t wait to read it!

  16. Tim Takach says:

    Congratulations, Pete!  I am looking forward to reading it!

  17. Paul Joyce says:

    Pete, well done. I don’t know how you have balanced family, work, running, blogging and writing a book! I have just pre-ordered a copy via Amazon. Looking forward to its release. Paul

  18. Mark Kennedy says:

    Great news, Pete. Congrats! Will be sure to spread the word up here in Canada!

  19. Surfing_vol says:


    Congratulations to you and Bill.  I’m waiting for the Kindle version and am plugging you book to my running buddies.


  20. Chris Szumigala says:

    As a 53 year old, non-runner who charged into a few pairs of VFFs waaay too fast last year and ended up with 2 broken metatarsals I’m already familiar with  Bill’s “Return to Fitness: Getting Back in Shape after Injury, Illness, or Prolonged Inactivity.” and I’ve been following Pete’s blog for even longer. When I saw this post I immediately hustled over to Amazon and placed a pre-order for the dead tree version!

  21. Greg Strosaker says:

    Congratulations Pete – I know from recent experience how tough it can be to finish a book, especially the final editing stages when everything seems so close.  Good luck, and I look forward to reading and reviewing it (hopefully on my Kindle/iPad) when it comes out.  Frankly, I found creating the Kindle version far easier than creating the print version.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks Greg! Good luck to you with yours as well. Fortunately my co-author did all of the work with the publisher so all I had to do was write and edit.

  22. Andrew W. Lischuk says:

    Pete and Bill,
    Many congratulations on completing the book. Having written a chapter for a book, I know the challenges that writing places on the writer and on his family with the time commitment and research that I am sure you applied towards writing this book.  I am excited to read it.  I thoroughly enjoy reading the blog and am sure the book will be excellent.  The blog has already changed my running life as I now run (no jinx) injury free and without fear.  Since starting on my journey back to running and using the techniques you write about I have finished two marathons, two half marathons and countless 10k and 5K races.  Thank you and God bless.

  23. RaDragon says:

    You are one of very few people (< 5) that I respect as far as minimalist shoe reviews. I’ve since picked up a few shoes (based on what you found) and love them . Thanks for keeping this blog, congratulations on your book and I look forward to pouring over it!

    Quick Q: Will you sign books?

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks, an absolutely! I’ve never signed anything before so gotta take the chance when I can get it :)

  24. Much needed book.

  25. MarvAlbert says:

    runblogger on his grind!  congrats.  thanks for all the info and reviews over the last year.  looking forward to the book

  26. Goatlips says:

    ‘Tennis Leg’ anyone? I don’t know if injuries are actually epidemic, suddenly, but I’d wager there’s more injuries and RSIs being caused by the minimalist fad. Minimalist shoes: no cushioning; no grip; too flexible – all sounds like a recipe for disaster for me! Especially as they promote forefoot running, which can snap metatarsals and the tendons above and below the calf. Also, rolling your ankle during a forefoot foot plant damages the ankle much worse than a normal roll, due to the length of the foot bring used as a lever.
    Remember, humans are meant to be wild animals really and dead by the age of 40 (citation needed), they will get RSIs, especially as they have to be the poorest runners in the entire animal kingdom!
    I’m fairly sure that high mileage runners run in something with cushioning and with a springy/rigid sole.
    I’d run in a Saucony Kinvara 3, but wouldn’t recommend the minimal fad beyond that.
    Anyway – Pete – hope you knew when to write Ran instead of Run! (But seeing as you’re American, will settle for you using Then and Than correctly) ;P

    • Joseph M says:

      LOL! Pete needs to update his troll filter.

    • Jpwgibson says:

       Pete Larson:
      – PhD in Biology
      – teaches Anatomy and Physiology, Exercise Physiology, Developmental Biology, and Comparative Anatomy.
      – espouses minimalist footwear

      – (?)
      – (?)
      – doesn’t espouse minimalist footwear

  27. Tim Takach says:

    Hey, What kind of shoes is the runner wearing in the cover photo? 


  28. Jeff Gaudette says:

    Congrats on the book, Pete! Anyone that has tried to publish a book on their own knows just how daunting and pain-staking the process is. Glad you were able to finish and provide what I have no doubt will be an awesome read. I had drinks with Mark Cucuzella from the Natural Running Center when he was in Boston and he was really excited about this, so I am really looking forward to it.

  29. Bill Schreiner says:

    Peter-excited to read your book. Is there a timeframe for a Kindle or digital version?

  30. Chris Szumigala says:

    Just got my shipping notice from Amazon. Should have mine by Wednesday!

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