Born To Run by Christopher McDougall
Book Review by Ruth Heidrich, Ph.D.
It's not often that after finishing a book that I immediately want to turn back to Page 1 and start all over again. Born to Run is just such a book! Even after my second reading, I still find myself referring back to different sections. The information in this book is THAT good!
McDougall details some very fascinating runners - so fascinating that I had to remind myself that this was not fiction. I also knew some of them because I'd been to see the Tarahumara, the running people of the Copper Canyons of Mexico.
Some of the tips for runners described by both Tarahumara and gringo runners are:
*Since we are born to run, relax and enjoy it.
*The best nutrition for runners is lots of carbs -- a vegan diet.
*Maybe we should look at more barefoot running.
*Run on the balls of your feet.
*Take smaller strides, especially on hills and rough terrain.
*Run more erectly with back straight.
*Don't fight the terrain--go with what it gives you.
*Think "Easy, light, and smooth."
*Run for enjoyment - not to finish or set a PR.
McDougall describes two tribes of runners of the Copper Canyons. One has little exposure to Western food, cars, and lifestyle while the other eats lots of meat, drinks sodas, and rides everywhere. Guess which ones are the best runners!
And, as if to prove we are born to run, McDougall describes what evolutionary biologists have found when comparing running animals such as horses and dogs, with walking animals such as cows and pigs. We runners have Achilles tendons, arched feet, short toes, large glutes - and a nuchal ligament, the purpose of which is to stabilize our large, counter-balancing head. Walking animals have none of the above.
We are born runners!