“Born to Run” By Christopher McDougall

So along with starting Crossfit, a lot of other things started changing in my life for the better. First of all, I started reading for fun! I never really did that before. It was all mindless entertainment on the television because it was just that, mindless.I am going to start a new section to this blog that will specifically have to do with book reviews. This is the first of what I hope to be many posts.

A few of us were casually chatting in the box about workouts that we could do while traveling. My coach suggested I read a book called “Born to Run” by Christoper McDougall. At first glance I had to laugh. The title in and of itself was enough to turn me away. I thought “Look at me, I wasn’t born to run. I was born to do anything BUT run.” Well, the next week I was flying down to Florida for a vacation with my girlfriend Catherine and then it happened. I got hooked on the book.

McDougall is a former war correspondent and currently is a contributing editor for the magazine Men’s Fitness. He is an avid runner who lives in rural Pennsylvania. Let me tell you, this book had me hooked from the first click open on my kindle. He talks about how his own personal running form had brought him to a point where he was suffering from chronic stress injuries, and was buying expensive orthotic inserts for his shoes. The story talks about his search for the Tarahumara people. You can read more about the Tarahumara people from WIKIpedia by clicking here.

The Tarahumara people are basically a forgotten tribe (by modern civilization) who resides in the canyon’s in northwest Mexico. They are now known for their long distance running ability. We are talking 100k plus running abilities here people. This was one of the most interesting thing’s I found about this book. I enjoyed hearing about how the Tarahumara lived off the lands, appreciated life, and most importantly their ability to run ungodly distances without as much as a slab of rubber and some leather around their feet.

It is impossible to describe the impact this one book has had on me. I am not speaking in a mushy emotional type way. I am speaking in a way that motivates you to perform better. It motivates you to go out there and accomplish your goals, and the only excuse that you have is yourself. It showed me a lot more about the kinesiology behind our running practices. Talked about how arch’s aren’t supposed to be supported, and how pronation within certain limits is natural and should be embraced. I have never had a book actually make me want to change the way I try to run until now. I am looking into transitioning into barefoot running and I cannot wait to see the results I could get out of it.

The book left me with a bunch of favorite quotes, which are all neatly bookmarked and highlighted in my Kindle Fire. For now, I am going to leave you with one quote. It is my favorite quote.

But the American approach—ugh. Rotten at its core. It was too artificial and grabby, Vigil believed, too much about getting stuff and getting it now: medals, Nike deals, a cute butt. It wasn’t art; it was business, a hard-nosed quid pro quo. No wonder so many people hated running; if you thought it was only a means to an end—an investment in becoming faster, skinnier, richer—then why stick with it if you weren’t getting enough quo for your quid?

This quote goes so far beyond being applicable to running. It’s applicable to our societies approach to fitness in general. All too often are we simply concerned with the immediate effects of what we do, we want it done quickly for the least amount of work possible. In some cases, there’s pills to make it happen for us. Picture fitness as an art, something to be enjoyed, and the benefits will follow. Trust me.