Monday, June 25, 2012

Who Designed This Cover?

I recently found out about a book which came out last year called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Barefoot Running. While I haven't read the book, I was immediately struck by the cover:
Specifically, I was struck by the picture of a man running barefoot who is about to land squarely on his heel with his leg fully extended. If you are like me, your reaction to a picture of this kind is roughly akin to the average guy watching a video of a man being tased in the groin--it's physically uncomfortable to look at. Now, I should make it perfectly clear that I haven't read this book and for all I know it is an excellent guide to the subject that is worth reading. My point is merely this: assuming that the authors give good information in the book about running with proper form, why on earth did they decide to put a picture of someone doing the exact opposite on the cover? Surely it must be confusing to read descriptions which are contradicted by an image which confronts the reader every time one picks up the book.

(On a side note, this is exactly why experienced barefoot runners recommend that beginners start on concrete or asphalt, not grass or sand (or sand dunes)--soft surfaces allow you to develop terrible habits like heel-striking, whereas hard surfaces force you to learn to run gently).

At any rate, this contradiction reminds me of the cognitive dissonance generated by one of Skechers' more ridiculous ads touting its "SmartShoe with mid-foot strike" technology:
Apparently some people's mid-foot is located in a different place

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