Born To Run Book Summary, by Christopher McDougall

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1-Page Summary of Born To Run

Overview

Christopher McDougall is a journalist who wrote about his experience as an injured runner. He researched the Tarahumara, an indigenous Mexican tribe known for their feats of long-distance running. The book focuses on why they’re so good at running, and includes interviews with them.

The Tarahumara tribe in Mexico sounds like a legend, but they exist. They can run long distances quickly and have beaten professional runners in races. It’s possible that humans are naturally predisposed to running and may even have evolved for that purpose. Humans’ sweat glands, Achilles tendons, and stable necks make them better than other primates at running down prey over long distances—especially in heat.

Humans are built to run, but running injuries are common. Some researchers say that modern running shoes, which have cushioning and other features designed to make them more comfortable for long-distance runners, cause running injuries because they weaken the muscles in feet and change a runner’s stride. The Tarahumara people don’t use any shoes at all when they run or walk long distances; instead of weakening their feet, this actually makes them stronger.

In the past, the Tarahumara people would compete with US runners. However, they stopped because it was too hard to win against them. One man, Micah True (or Caballo Blanco), who had met the Tarahumara in Leadville, decided he wanted to live like them and ran 50 miles through Copper Canyon. True invited several top ultrarunners such as Jenn Shelton and Scott Jurek for a race that showcased how good the Tarahumara were at running and their natural joy of running.

Key Takeaways

Running as it is currently done is likely to result in injuries.

The Tarahumara are a native Mexican people who have evolved to run long distances without injury. They don’t wear shoes, and they eat a simple diet of corn that helps them stay healthy. Overdesigned running shoes cause injuries because they’re not designed for the way humans were meant to run. Humans evolved to hunt prey through endurance running, which is why we need strong character, joy, and love in order to be good runners. The Leadville Trail 100 is an example of this type of extreme endurance test that showcases both the Tarahumara’s abilities as well as their distance from Western society when it comes to running culture.

A race between ultrarunners and the Tarahumara people in 2006 was a beautiful celebration of sportsmanship.

Key Takeaway 1: Running as it is currently done is virtually guaranteed to result in injuries.

A lot of runners get injured. The rate has remained steady for three decades, and some injuries have even increased. Doctors say that the human foot isn’t designed to take the pounding it gets during running.

Injuries are very common when running. There are three most common ones: plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and patellofemoral knee pain. Plantar fasciitis is an intense foot pain that occurs at the beginning of a run, especially if you have poor foot placement on landing. It can be caused by jumping rope to correct your technique and alleviate the pain. Achilles tendonitis is an injury to the back of heel which causes it to feel hot and painful when walking or running. Correcting this will help relieve the pain under your heel bone (calcaneus). Patellofemoral knee pain also known as runner’s knee occurs just under your kneecap; it often becomes particularly painful when walking up stairs or inclines because it puts excessive strain on your knees due to improper leg extension in front of body during running.

Born To Run Book Summary, by Christopher McDougall

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