Born to Run by Christopher McDougall – Book Review

National Best Seller, Born to Run, was published in 2009 and written by Christopher McDougall, a contributing editor for Men’s Health magazine, and three-time National Magazine Award finalist.

This was the most entertaining book I have read in years. Written as a first-person non-fiction narrative, Born to Run combines the excitement of ultra-racing with very interesting scientific running research, and just a dash of a spiritual journey…it is perfect!

McDougall begins his story with a search for a mysterious running-man and his own sad tale of a love for running coupled with recurring injuries that are threatening to end his favorite past-time. The story ends with his completing a 50-mile race through a grueling Mexican canyon. The journey from injuries to 50-miles includes sport-trainers, anthropology research by PhD’s, and visits with a hidden tribe of native americans who have lived their relatively secret lives undisturbed in the canyons of Mexico for hundreds of years. The members of this tribe are known to run 50 miles just for the fun of it.

Just for the Fun of It!

Running long distances because it feels good, is a strong theme in Born to Run. McDougall mentions this idea often, in relation to various characters in the story.

Because it feels good? Can running long distances feel good? I certainly hope so. As a person who recently started training for a marathon, I would like this experience to be enjoyable rather than painful. One of the main characters in the story, White Horse, has an interesting description for running technique that I have tried to embrace. He states, “Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy because if that is all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless…”

So far, I am trying to focus on Easy and Light. According to the Anthropologists in McDougall’s story, human beings are physically designed for running long distances. We have 26 markers that indicate we are more similar to runners in the animal kingdom versus walkers.

Running for Your Life

Because of our unique anatomy, the doctors in the story also believe that running provides incredible health benefits to humans. Perhaps it feels good because it is so good for us. But it only feels good if we can avoid injuries. In Born to Run, McDougall shares how he changed his running habits to avoid injuries.

Have you read Born to Run? We would love to hear what you thought about it.

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