by Christopher McDougall in Motivation & Inspiration born to run book
born to run book summary Born to Run (2009) is a great resource if you’ve ever dreamed of running a marathon. Everybody can learn to run, and McDougall challenges the assumption that marathon runners are some kind of superhuman species. Christopher McDougall presents a running manual that combines scientific truth with practical counsel by relying on first-hand reports and tales from the world’s most secretive “running tribe.” To prove that anybody can learn how to run well, McDougall offers a wealth of information on a variety of topics, including food, psychology, running gear, and much more.
BORN TO RUN SUMMARY by Ebookhike
Summary by Ebookhike.com
Has running a marathon ever been on your bucket list? Alternatively, are you more like me and unwilling to flee unless there is a threat to your safety? Then then, perhaps it’s not worth running at all! If you fall on one side of the spectrum or the other, marathons tend to divide people, with those who run being viewed as some kind of superhuman and those who don’t as lazy slobs. In fact, it’s not that dissimilar from what you’ve been led to believe. What if I told you that you could run 26 kilometers at a reasonable pace if you put in the effort? Just keep reading, since you’ll understand why humans are truly born to run throughout the course of this overview.
Born to Run CHAPTER 1: EVOLUTION EQUIPPED US FOR DISTANCE RUNNING
What is the world’s fastest land animal? The cheetah, you would say, and you’d be correct — at sprints. Humans, on the other hand, dominate long-distance events like marathons. Why? The short explanation is that our bodies have evolved in such a way that they are well-suited to long-distance running due to natural selection. Humans are able to digest heat more quickly than other mammals, which is one of the reasons behind this. Running creates a lot of heat and friction, so our bodies need time to cool down. And whereas we accomplish this through sweating, most animals lack the proper glands to sweat properly, thus their major method of decreasing heat is by breathing.
In addition, our running style is vastly different. Running at high speeds requires four-legged animals to burst into a gallop, which inhibits ventilation by squishing their lungs. As a result, they are unable to effectively control their body temperature and are thus ill-equipped for long-distance jogging. Due to their inability to cool off quickly enough, they will have to stop running soon if they want to stay alive. They will eventually overheat. Humans, on the other hand, respond differently to heat. Running at a fast speed for lengthy periods of time isn’t limited by our lungs since we sweat through our skin instead. The fact that we don’t need to cool down means that we’re better able to endure extreme temperatures and vast distances.
Additionally, individuals are able to move faster since they only have two legs instead of four. Humans’ throats and chests grew in size as a result of learning to walk upright, which improved posture and increased air supply, allowing us to maintain high speeds over long distances. The achilles tendon is the third characteristic that distinguishes runners from the rest of us. In spite of the fact that humans share 95% of our DNA with our closest relative, the chimpanzee, we have a strip of flexible, virtually elastic tissue in our lower legs. When this tendon is elongated, it stores energy that is released by our legs when we move. Since it takes less energy to move quickly, this advantage increases our stamina. So, in a nutshell, evolution is the reason why you can run a marathon but your dog can’t!
Born to Run CHAPTER 2: RUNNING SHOES AREN’T AS HELPFUL AS YOU THINK
How many of us treat ourselves to new workout gear and running shoes as part of our resolutions to be more active in the new year? Of course, the rationale is that if we have the necessary equipment for the task, we’ll be more motivated and have an advantage over the competition. Even while running shoes are supposed to aid you, they might potentially be detrimental to your health! Despite the fact that they provide a lot of support and stability to your feet—which is a good thing—they can also hinder some of our natural, biological abilities that would actually make us better runners. This is because our feet are able to slide forward while we run due to a process known as pronation. A built-in shock absorber for our lower legs, this procedure reduces the amount of wear and strain on our lower legs during heavy activity.
However, pronation can also cause a “runner’s knee,” which is a highly frequent and extremely painful ailment. Anti-pronation running shoes have become more popular as a means of easing the discomfort that comes with overpronation. Even while about 3% of the population truly requires special running shoes to address overpronation, many new runners feel they need them straight away. While these shoes can be life-changing for some, for most others they’re just like putting a plaster cast on your foot, and they’re not worth it. And I don’t know about you, but if my foot is wrapped in a plaster cast, I’m not going to be able to move very effectively or rapidly! To put it another way, these shoes don’t aid the rest of us; they restrict movement and create muscular atrophy in our feet, which ultimately weakens them.
Because of this, running becomes more difficult and unpleasant because our systems attempt to adjust for this imbalance by overcompensating with more stress on particular muscles and joints. This can lead to injury, which is precisely what you were attempting to avoid with the shoes in the first place! Pain from damaging effects on our feet may be obscured by these shoes, which might lead to more issues. We need the twinges of pain to let us know when we’ve pushed ourselves too far because we occasionally strike the ground too hard, generating painful reverberations throughout our bodies.
As a result, we run on damaged feet and worsen our injuries before we ever realize we’ve got them since our generously cushioned running shoes block out these feelings. What can we do to protect ourselves against this threat? Taking up barefoot running is one of the best and most effective ways to lose weight. Barefoot running can help you develop a more natural stride and rhythm, which can lead to a more enjoyable running experience.
Born to Run CHAPTER 3: VEGGIES ARE YOUR FRIENDS
Taking off your running shoes is an excellent first step if you want to improve your running performance. But what’s next? Meat is not an option if you want to channel Superman and fly like a speeding bullet, therefore you’ll have to give up your new sneakers. Then again – don’t take my word for it! Just take a look at a few examples from across the world and throughout history. A diet of miso soup, tofu, and vegetables was used by Japanese monks famed for their marathon-running abilities to finish 25,000-mile super-marathons. Similarly, legendary running coach Percy Cerutty espoused the benefits of a vegetarian diet. The guy had such faith in the approach that he fed several of his best runners a diet of raw oats, fruit, cheese, and nuts throughout their triple-marathon training sessions.
Some runners, such as Scott Jurek of the Boston Marathon fame, have gone so far as to swear off animal products entirely that they believe it has improved their performance. However, some runners have argued that being vegan would make him more prone to injury and longer to recover from workouts. You don’t have to go vegan if you don’t want to, but if you want to make an educated decision, you should know that a vegetarian diet is efficient since it allows you to receive the most energy from the fewest calories. Consequently, your body is able to move more swiftly since it doesn’t have to deal with the extra weight of digesting heavier foods such as meat.
Since protein digestion takes longer than carbohydrate digestion, this is why. Consider this: less meat means more time to workout and less energy squandered in a lengthy digesting process, which will help you overcome your cravings for hamburgers. Because of this, vegetarians don’t have to worry about being malnourished. The amino acids necessary for muscle growth and energy synthesis may be found in a diet of grains, legumes, and vegetables. Due to the reduced digestion time, these benefits suggest that you will not, in reality, be slower to recover from exercises.
So, what’s next, now that you’ve got the appropriate gear and the correct diet? I got the correct education!
Born to Run CHAPTER 4: FORM AND PACE ARE EVERYTHING
No two forms of running are alike. My panicked race into the crosswalk as soon as the traffic signal turns green is a far cry from a runner’s stride. If you’ve ever seen Olympic running events back-to-back, you’ll notice a significant difference between sprinting and marathon running. So, what is it that creates a distinction? The most straightforward response is that posture is the key. An ideal sprinting stance includes a straight back and stable head, as well as long and forceful strides. However, some of Kenya’s best athletes don’t use this method at all.
Exercise scientist and triathlete Ken Mierke spent hours poring over a film of Kenyan barefoot runners in search of the Kenyan secret. These multi-award-winning athletes actually ran like kindergarteners, according to his findings! It’s not clear what that means. In terms of professional running, this implies that these athletes have eschewed the conventional type of lengthy, strong strides in favor of short leg contractions that increase the rate of foot turnover the most rapidly. This running manner resembles that of a beginner’s fitness class, which is why Mierke made the analogy. On the contrary, despite its outward look, it is far quicker and more efficient for long-distance running!
As a result, Mierke was motivated to use this approach with his clients. At 180 beats per minute, he put the metronome to his clients and asked them to run in sync with the metronome’s tempo, which they did. A 60-year-old customer who had been a successful runner in the top 10% of his age group for more than 40 years saw remarkable gains in his trial time after five months of training in this manner. It was clear from his track record (no pun intended!) that these advances were more than just a case of good fortune; they were the consequence of regular practice and training, which confirmed Mierke’s strategy to be successful. Mierke’s approach also established that anybody may accomplish the life-changing outcomes of Mierke’s method.
Once you’ve mastered the art of form, it’s time to focus on tempo. It’s not difficult to learn the art of pacing if you know where to begin, so start by keeping your heart rate below the aerobic threshold. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the moment at which your breathing becomes labored. As a result of running too rapidly and exhausting our body’s sugar stores, we often find ourselves at that stage early on. Simply because it is the most readily available source of rapid, convenient, and easy-to-consume energy. Our bodily fat reserve, however, is significantly more abundant and can sustain us through far longer durations of endurance running. Pacing can help you access your body’s fat stores and run stronger for longer if you wish to avoid this typical error.
Born to Run CHAPTER 5: MAKE RUNNING A PART OF YOUR IDENTITY
What do you believe to be the most important component of who you are? What makes you unique, such as a special skill? Is it a part of your cultural heritage? Running is an essential part of Tarahumara culture in northern Mexico. In fact, “the running people” is the precise translation of their name. Because of their propensity to run up to 200 miles in a single marathon, they’re appropriately named. You may wonder whether they are secretly members of a hidden super-hero or extraterrestrial tribe, but the answer is no.
Arnulfo Guinare, the Tarahumara’s famed runner, was the subject of a two-mile journey and a gruelling drive for McDougall. He was willing to meet the author and talk about his love of running, even though his tribe prefers to live in seclusion and avoid all modern conveniences, Guinare was still eager to share this enthusiasm with the rest of the world. Recognizing that his people’s drive could seem strange to outsiders, Guinare insisted that their secret to success was nothing strange. Instead, they had inculcated a lifelong passion for running in their people. It’s that easy, but it has such enormous implications! The concept that running is an essential human talent was passed down from generation to generation by the members of the tribe, resulting in a generational loop.
Children learn to value jogging as a means of staying healthy, spending quality time with family, and, perhaps most significantly, feeling like a member of the group. The Tarahumara people learn to run not just for a sense of ancestor pride but also for their own personal fulfilment when they embrace their cultural identity in this way.
Then it’s no different from any other activity we may engage in for the sake of personal satisfaction. This group, however, has found a way to enjoy something that most of us despise. Laziness isn’t helped when our society encourages overeating, bad behaviors, and jokes that make us feel like we’re justified in not taking care of our bodies, like the Tarahumara people. However, what would happen if we decided to let go of all of it? What if we attempted to let go of our preconceptions about running and tap into the joy we had as children when we ran everywhere?
Think back to your childhood and remember that when you were younger there was no such thing as a “perfect exercise music” and no such thing as “my morning coffee with the ideal workout song” to keep you going. You took off running because you were ecstatic. Due to the fact that it seemed, there was a whole universe to discover. In fact, running hasn’t changed; we have. In the right mindset, running may still be a huge source of joy. All it takes is a shift of perspective. In other words, we should learn from the Tarahumara people.
Born to Run CHAPTER 6: FINAL SUMMARY
Many individuals believe they are just more athletic than others because they choose to run, but this is a misconception. But the reality is, we may all become excellent runners because of our unique evolutionary advantages. Getting the appropriate training, changing your nutrition, and getting rid of your running shoes are all you need to unleash your speed potential. Just as the Tarahumara people did, you too may tap into the inherent joy of running.