Book Review: Good to Go by Christie Aschwanden

By Wendy Winn, PT, OCS

If running research and narrative journalism had a baby, it would be this book. In Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn From the Strange Science of Recovery,  Christie Aschwanden challenges the running community’s most popular beliefs one topic at a time. Aschwanden debates a variety of topics, including overtraining syndrome, beer to increase running performance, fuel options, doping, meditation, dietary supplements, medications, cryotherapy, and sleep as a recovery method.

It should be noted that Aschwanden does not “pick a side” of each topic she presents, but instead uses anecdotes and stories to illustrate her topics, painting colorful stories surrounding each idea. As a medical professional who just wants to know the results of the study, I find Aschwanden’s style of journalism a little too long-winded.  I want to know the facts, and in this book, the facts are illustrated rather than stated. The book itself is 300 pages, and I’m more used to a one-page summary! However, for the average reader I think that Aschwanden’s journalism will serve to make this information more accessible. This book goes where no book has gone before, and I for one am thrilled that it brings medical evidence to the masses! I love running research and hopefully the reader will be inclined to investigate these topics further (Aschwanden lists the references in the bibliography)!

Overall, I found this book approachable for the impassioned runner who does not know how to acquire full text articles and needs help deciphering medical language. This book is appropriate for a light-hearted read with some evidence sprinkled in for serious runners who want to learn about the above topics as they relate to recovery. Highly recommended!