Mike’s Book Corner: Born to Run

Tramps like us.

Welcome to the book corner. Grab yourself a seat by the fireplace and I’ll tell you all about a sports book that I think is worth your time and hard-earned currency.

An author develops plantar fasciitis and seeks answers on how to cure the incurable runner’s ailment, and throughout his journey learns more about running than he ever intends too. Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, is an inspiring tale on why we seek out running as a people.

Everyone starts their running journey on their own terms. It’s the easiest cardio to engage with, and after seeing the price of bicycles for the first time since you were 13, it’s also the cheapest. I started running seriously last year as I looked to burn off some of my extra anxiety energy.

Towards the end of my rookie year the desire to test my running in my first ever 5K and 10K struck and sought out local races. As I began my racing career, my supervisor who focuses on mindful long distance running suggested I pick up the spotlight book of this column, Christoper McDougall’s Born to Run.

Leading into this book, I had been a fan of mindful running through the Nike Run Club app. In the NRC app, Andy Puddicombe of the Headspace meditation app, helps guide you through prompts to get you to run with a focus on the run. Listening to your footsteps and focusing on your running rather than listening to the beat of the music through your headphones. It is something that I have come to enjoy much more than I expected too! The Nike Run Club app has a wide variety of mindful runs that I find much more useful in the recovery or rest runs than anything else offered on the app.

Run mindfully

Born to Run met me at the perfect time in my life. As I discovered race running and mindful exercise. The first-hand story of a runner struggling with the incurable plantar fasciitis seeking answers begins a journey larger than he could have accounted for. Christopher McDougall seeks out the Caballo Blanco, the White Horse, a wandering running savant who knows the way to the Tarahumara, or The Running People, deep in the Copper Canyons of Mexico.

The Tarahumara are known for running longer distances more quickly than anyone ever has. The Running People also never sustain an injury despite their record marathon running. Throughout the treacherous journey through marijuana fields patrolled by cartels and the unfriendly terrain of the canyons, McDougall and Caballo Blanco reach the Tarahumara and establish a bond.

At a certain point, the book moves from how to run to avoid injury and what we can learn from the tribe into why we run. That perhaps the form of the Tarahumara has more to do with their mental state and the inner tranquility they achieve during each run is the secret to their success. That because they have never strayed from who we are at our core, runners with a body perfectly crafted for the sport, they are able to achieve more in distance running than anyone else from the outside world ever could.

This book will teach the reader a lot about the history of running. Why in the Western World and in modern running we see so many more injuries than we ever have before. The biological signs that we are all runners by birth. The history of ultra marathon running and how the Tarahumara have occasionally gone beyond their borders to break records, but the most impressive race is the one that Micah True, the White Horse himself, designed throughout the canyons that tests the world’s best marathon runners against the Running People themselves on their home turf.

Running isn’t just about your times and competition shouldn’t be the only reason you run. Running is about the clarity you achieve during a run. A run for the run’s sake. A testament of yourself against nature and a statement of endurance. Getting in touch with yourself and everyone.

On my Goodreads, I rated Born to Run 5/5 Stars.

Born to Run by the numbers:

  • Published: May 2009
  • 287 Pages
  • 7:03 Reading time to finish
  • Average Goodreads Rating 4.29 Stars out of 5