Today I’m sharing one of my all-time favorite running books with you. This book is one that I have read several times, most recently over the past week, and I continue to love it just as much each time I read it – Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. The subheading for this book is “A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen,” which is a pretty succinct summary of what you’ll find inside. McDougall introduces the world to the Tarahumara Indians, a tribe that lives in Mexico’s Copper Canyons and is known for their incredible endurance. Throughout the book, readers also have the opportunity to follow McDougall’s own personal running evolution, to explore some of the exercise physiology behind humans and our history with running, and to meet a great cast of characters.
Reading this book several years ago was my first glimpse into the world of ultrarunning. It also inspired me to change the way that I run, and over the course of 4 months, I converted to a minimalist style of running. I know that barefoot, or minimal running, is a trend that was once hot and is now on its way out, and I would never presume to imply that it is right for everyone. For me personally, however, I found that going minimalist forced me to change my stride into a much more efficient forefoot-striking approach. This greatly reduced the amount of pounding that I put on my body, and essentially eliminated the knee and back pain that used to nag me after longer runs. I also believe it has helped me to become a faster and more efficient runner as well.
Whether or not a minimalist-style appeals to you, I still think that all runners can find something to love in this book. McDougall’s account of the culminating race in the Copper Canyons, along with his recaps from other races prior to that event, provide enough intrigue to keep the pages turning. I highly recommend that you pick this one up!