As you've been following my Twitter and Instagram posts recently, you know I just ran my first triathlon and I keep running 2 times per week (~10km in ~50 minutes), riding my new street-bike every week and additionally thanks to changing my eating habits, now, 35 years young, I'm in the best shape of my life. And it all started with the book that I'm going to review today: "Born to Run - A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall:
Last year I ran a half-marathon and got injured
Before we start with the book, a short back-story. Last year I got tricked by my friend Simon to go on a run with him. I was tricked, because, my longest distance till then was 12km, he wanted to do 15km... and in the end he convinced me to push it a little more... and we did 22km! I felt great and proud... but my left knee was hurting me and after a month of the pain coming and going I decided to see a doctor. He's supposedly the best expert in sport injuries in the city where I reside, he came highly recommended... and after a series of tests he concluded that I needed 20 sessions of rehabilitation... and that I was not supposed to be running anymore. I'm not "born to run". My knee "is not constructed for running". He told me to get a bike instead.
Well, I was totally disillusioned. And then I got the book "Born to run"... and when I started listening to it I felt a deja vu:
The author is also not "born to run"... or is he?
The book starts with almost identical story to mine. The author tries to go for some jogs, gets injured, visits the best sports doctor in the USA and the doc tells him exactly what mine told me: "You're not born to run, get a bike instead".
Well, the author didn't want to believe his doctor and stated to investigate a small mexican tribe called Tarahumara and couldn't understand why those guys could run 100 miles a day and he can't even go for a 3-mile jog without getting injured. Something was not right.
Do you know....?
Do you know that we are the only mammals who can breathe and run asynchronously? Yes, even the cheetah needs to synchronize its breath with each movement. We don't have to. We can control our breathing while running.
Do you know running in modern shoes is injury-prone? Well, I should know. Last year I was running in my 5-fingers shoes all the time but did the half-marathon with Simon in normal running shoes... and got injured.
Do you know we can actually run an animal to death? Even an antelope? No animal like us can run without stopping for 10, 20, 50 or even 100 miles. We can.
Great story with thorough research
This book is really great. It reads like a story (of the journalist/author discovering the Tarahumara, getting to know a guy called "Caballo Blanco", explaining the history of the first ultra-marathons...) and on the other hand, every now and then the author shows real pieces of thorough research proving that in fact, we are simply born to run. Every one of us. Me too. You as well. Seriously.
I got back to running in my 5-fingers... and I'm doing 50+ km a month now...
After reading this book I started running again. Slowly, but in my 5-fingers shoes. Watching out the way I run, where I run (very often on the beach on medium-hard sand) and since January I picked up the pace. Did 30km in January, 40km in February, 50km in March, 80km in April, 80km in May (including my triathlon) and I'm running more than ever now.
I discovered the joy of running again!
Thanks to this book, I believed I was born to run, I started having real fun running. I love my 6am 10km early jogs with my friend... and I'm about to cross my magic threshold of less than 50min per 10km any day now...
And the author? He ran a 50-mile ultra-marathon. Yes, that's right. A guy who wasn't born to run ran an ultra and is fit like never before.
P.S. I still got my bike anyway...
Well, I still bought a racing bike from a friend as I'm preparing for my next triathlon this October. And now I'm doing both - running and biking... and my knee doesn't complain at all!
Question: Have you ever tried running? Do you run? Do you also think you're born to run? What's stopping you?
Like this post? Subscribe to my newsletter, and every 2-3 weeks you'll receive updates from me. I'll send you my latest book for FREE as a thank-you: "It's All About Passion". Thanks for connecting with me!
- Michael Sliwinski