Over the past three days I read Born To Run by Christopher McDougall (Amazon link).
It’s probably a cliché to say that a book was “life changing.” Usually when people say that it just means they think about it for a week rather than forgetting about it after a few hours. What makes me feel this book could be a real life changer is that running has been a part of my life almost as long as I can remember and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.
So if this book can change the way that I go about running, by improving it, it will have no doubt changed my life.
Born to Run jumps around. The main story, which almost feels like a novel, is about McDougall’s journeys to Mexico to learn ancient running secrets from a tribe that seems stuck 400 years in the past. That would have made a decent story, but what makes the book an incredible work is the other discoveries along the journey about how running shoes a essentially a giant scam and even delves into a theory on evolution that would have made my anthropology teacher’s head explode, even though all of the facts are there plain as day.
This is probably my favorite aspect of the book. Everything is supported by fact, but when presented to a society that has been taught all of their lives that these are the reasons we evolved and this is the way to run, they react as if it’s a bunch of bologna.
However, of those who do accept it (the ones running around with no or little shoes on) I have yet to find a single one that has been injured.
The strong point of any good story—memorable characters—are all over the place and are written about in a David McCullough-like manor. You feel like you are running alongside them across the desert, which just makes it all the more inspiring to get out on the road and do it yourself.
In only two days of running without shoes and using the correct form of running I can feel a change (and not only in my sore calves). In recent years I have been forced to cut many runs short with blistered flat feet and have wondered how my parents have been able to complete multiple marathons.
If the pain doesn’t show up in the miles of my future though, I hope I won’t have to stop after only 26.