Saturday, June 19, 2010

Born to Run

Christopher McDougall's 2009 book, Born to Run, was recommended to me by a friend who is in a cult does Crossfit as well as another friend who, ironically, isn't an athlete. Two recommendations = I had to check it out of the library.

While the beginning drags, I did enjoy the book, particularly the latter third discussing why our species survived when the stronger Neanderthals did not and why we, humans, are literally built to run.

I have been semi-interested in the "barefoot" running concepts of the Vibrams and NikeFree for a while - you never hear of Kenyan runners who grew up barefoot getting foot injuries! - and might need to try them out now. Heck, the over the counter insoles I use are harder than the insoles that came with my shoes, so that's sort of like getting closer to barefoot right? (Actually it might be totally the wrong direction...I don't claim to be an expert on foot motion!)

Regardless, this book has convinced me and my ongoing arch pain - which I am told is a weekend warrior issue and my feet are fine  - that I should more seriously consider strengthening the muscles and tendons I was meant to run on rather than trying to find shoes to fix me better.


  1. The only description you could come up with for me was "isn't an athlete"?! That's cold.

  2. the other recommender has played for the national team and deadlifts 300 lbs!

  3. And I've known you since pre-school.

  4. Oh...and by the way, I deadlift 301 lbs.

  5. Hahahahaha!! I'd love to see that.

  6. Have you seen the five-fingered toe shoes? Someone at my gym runs the track in them. They're supposed to be as closed to running barefoot as possible without actually, er, running barefoot:

    I've also started reading Chi Running, which is supposed to help even non-runners improve their mental stamina and their form so they can run without injury and increase their endurance. We'll see... I really want to run a half-marathon someday, but I need to figure out a way to erase the foot pain and achilles tendinitis I get when I run.

  7. I've read that you're not supposed to go straight from padded ("regular") sneakers to the Vibrams, as they will royally screw you up. I think the author of Born to Run recommended a thin-soled shoe (or something like the Nike Free) and then graduate up to the Vibrams after your feet have adjusted to not having fancy arch support and shock absorption.

    The book also spends some time talking about how sneaker companies (Nike) pretty much invented the heel-to-toe style of running, and that people don't naturally run that way. We're supposed to run more like animals, pawing at the ground. (Think of how a cheetah runs.) Once you're used to running that way, then the Vibrams will give you the most benefit.

    Or so the theory goes...