Monday, September 16, 2013

Books that blew my mind #1: "Born to Run"

Let me first say, I loved this book! It's not perfect, but I loved it anyway.

This one book by Chris McDougall has probably done more to encourage running than anyone thought possible. (For better or worse, I can not say... as the myth that running causes fat loss, longevity, and "fitness" still persists.)
McDougall weaves a fascinating, wild adventure tale of his treks and adventures in the Copper Canyons area of Mexico. He seeks out a lost tribe of indigenous super-runners, and recruits an eclectic mix of US based ultra-runners to join him on his adventures.
 More importantly to me, he makes a compelling case that the human body is the most elegantly designed and efficient long distance runner on earth. Rather than viewing running as a destructive activity for our joints, I now view it as a valuable basic human skill. Rather than looking at our hip, knee, and feet as faulty, (and in need of padding, support, and "motion control") I once again view the entire human body as a true marvel. That being said, I consider this book to be quite dangerous for a few key reasons:

  • Runners love this book, and recommend it to almost everyone who likes to read. 
  • Many non-runners read this book, love it too, and become runners.
  • It can give the impression that running long distances frequently is a healthy thing for the body, and an effective means to long term health and fitness. (I do not agree with this point, but more on that later...)
  • Key danger: While it stirs the passion and desire to run wild, happy, and free... It offers no instruction on HOW to re-learn the proper technique to run injury free!
Fortunately, there are other books that solved these issues for me.

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