Born to Run – Book Review

Multiple friends have told me I needed to read this book, but I resisted for a year or two. But they were right, I did need to read this book. This is not a training book, it’s an amazing story. It reads in a very similar fashion to The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I’m not sure exactly how to sum it up, but the short version is that it’s partly about a tribe of natives who live in treacherous canyons in Mexico and run up and over mountains all day on a diet of corn, corn beer, and chia seeds. It’s also partly about ulta-marathoners who enjoy getting out for 100-mile strolls. It’s also partly about how our bodies are designed by evolution for running–not just running, but endurance running. Here’s what Amazon.com says about it:

An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?

Isolated by Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

“But I just like to get out and run” you say. Great! You should definitely read this book. It will help you enjoy running more. “But I don’t like running, I’m just doing it because I know I need to lose weight.” you say. Great! This book will help you not only prevent running injuries and keep you out there, but may change your entire perspective on running and turn you into a running-lover. “But I don’t run, and I hate the idea of running.” Even if you don’t want to have anything to do with running, this is still a fascinating book.

For me, the book has not only given me ideas about how to modify the shoes I wear, the diet I’m taking in, and the form with which I run, but it’s changing the way I look at running itself, as not just a means to an end, but an end in and of itself.