I have just finished three books that I think anyone interested in running should read. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, Natural Running by Danny Abshire and Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. Born to Run started the whole barefoot running craze because of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico and one psycho runner named “Barefoot Ted.” The book’s author believed that the built up heels in today's shoes cause all of the injuries we runners are experiencing however there are no extensive studies to prove that theory. I did especially enjoy the story about Louis Liebenberg running along with the Bushmen of Africa's Kalahari Desert while actually chasing down a Kudu for dinner.
The Natural Running book gives some good information about the evolution of running. It also describes different types of form and gaits which might be helpful in solving some injury problems. Danny Abshire is one of the cofounders of Newton shoes, so be aware that when it comes to solving running problems, he could be somewhat biased about what foot wear to use.
The book that had the best practical application for me was Chi Running. The author recommends keeping your body over your center of gravity while rapidly turning over your feet (about 180 beats a minute) and keeping your whole body as relaxed as possible. The quicker turnover means more of a midfoot strike and less impact because you are picking up your feet. To go faster, you lean forward just a little and you start to stride out, which will speed you up. The author gets a lot of his ideas from a Tai Chi master and together they try to get you to put your body into a relaxed state while running.
I think all of these books give some good information about running but should be critically read. The running shoe is evolving and that is a good thing and I believe in part due to theories expressed by these authors. I have seen the shoes coming out this Fall and into 2012 and there will be adjustments made by the shoe companies to accommodate issues discussed in the books above. In regards to the gait motion that we each have, I would agree with Dr Paul Langer who says that we should be very careful about trying to change the way someone runs because there could be unintended consequences which often result in injury.