The day before our nationwide lock-down Rebecca gave me a book to read - “Born to Run”. I had heard it was a great read so when cabin fever started to kick in on Day 4 I decided to get stuck in (regrets). The gist? American journalist, Christopher McDougall, injures his foot running. In an effort to figure out why he sets off to study the legendary Taramuhara running tribe and some of the worlds best ultra marathoners in a hope to learn their secrets.
To be completely honest I found it a really hard book to follow. The common theme that resonated throughout was a general love for running and how good it made each person feel. The characters weren’t running for competition, to lose weight or because they had to - They ran for the sheer enjoyment of it and I think that’s pretty cool!
We’ve all been there, forcing ourselves out onto the pavement because we "need" to get fitter - Exercising for enjoyment is a way better attitude to have! At the end of the day feeling good, mentally as much as physically, is what its all about. If you’re reading this and thinking "I don’t like running" - that’s cool - choose something that you find fun and I guarantee you’ll experience that same good feeling ultra runners claim to...
From a podiatry stand point, I like the way born to run explored different styles of footwear and various running techniques. We had the author in sneakers, the Taramuhara tribe in sandals and a character called "barefoot Ted" in, well, bare feet. Essentially the skill of running stays the same if we apply tried and tested principles BUT how we execute the skill is different from person to person. Just like anything, if we nail the basics the rest will follow.
Born to run was just as much a memoir as it was a story about running. I'd say this book is more inspirational than instructional and would recommend reading it for what it is - one persons experience and personal ideals about a topic. Barefoot running is a great training tool, when used sensibly. Please don't get excited, throw your shoes away and do your next marathon barefoot - it wont end well, your not from the Taramuhara.