Thursday, February 11, 2010

Are You Born To Run?

I avoided the hot topic running book for far too long I suppose. Every running friend seemed to ask, "Have you read Born To Run?" I would counter their question with a quick no, feeling as if I didn't even need to read it since those which posed the question undoubtedly gave me their in depth synopsis and opinion. Well a copy showed up at my door this week as a gift. The prolific snowfall as of late gave me ample opportunity to now tell folks that I have in fact read Born To Run.

First of all, I love running books. All of them. If it's a book about someone running then I'm all ears. This book was no different in that aspect. I devoured the pages and enjoyed the stories and theories that the author dispenses. I'm not necessarily drinking the koolaid on the barefoot running movement. I agree with the premise, but not 100% of the practice. Let's just say I'm sipping the koolaid. (I'll not get into that discussion since it's a can of worms I don't want to open.) The book is full of some interesting conspiracy theories against shoe companies and has some curious anthropologic ideas of early man and running. It kind of put me to mind of Why We Run by Bernd Heinrich, which is also a very good read by a very accomplished ultrarunner (contrary to Christopher McDougall). I now see why there is much buzz about this book. I enjoyed it, but it was more of a means of entertainment to me than one of changing my philosophy on running as it has appeared to have done for many. I guess time will tell with all the theories; it usually does.

So I'll add it to the shelf with all the other running books and dust it off to read again someday. So what are YOUR favorite running books? I'm interested if someone has read one that I haven't. My favorites are easy: Flanagan's Run by Tom McNab and David Horton's book A Quest for Adventure.


  1. i read "Born To Run" before all the cool people read it.

    although i can (sort of) understand why the barefoot running thing is making a splash, i cannot understand why people aren't spending more time pondering the "curious anthropologic ideas of early man and running" that McDougall brings mainstream attention to for the first time.

    my favorite running book:
    "Once A Runner"

  2. One of the all-time greats: Running the Lydiard Way / Arthur Lydiard w Garth Gilmour pub 1978. Lydiard was ahead of his time regards methodology of training. Think back Peter Snell, Murray Halberg, Frank Shorter, Lasse Viren et all...

  3. I likewise have have read "Born To Run". I certainly have not gotten into the barefoot craze, but I have begun to realize that a cushioned shoe can lead to problems. I have also taken steps to shorten my stride and land a bit more midsole than I use to be. When I started running in the early 70's, there was something wrong with you if you did not land on your heal. In regards to my favorite running book, it would have to be Rebekah Trittipoe's "Under an Equatorial Sky". Other than the Bible, it is the only book I have read more than once!!!

  4. Thanks for the comments guys.
    @Mongold: I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read "Once a Runner". It was out of print and hard to find a few years back, but now it's re-printed and I have no excuse.
    @N.MN TR (aka Corey): I'll have to get that one. Haven't read it either. I kind of already train more the Lydiard Way, but I need to read his "Bible".
    @Rick: I agree that a shortened and efficient stride is the take home message for everyone from the book. It just means different things to different people when it comes to footwear minimalism though. I have Rebekah's book and it is also an excellent book... of course she wrote most of Horton's book too I believe. It's very cool to read a book by someone that you know personally; especially when it is really good!

  5. I really like "and then the vulchers eat you" (it's a compilations of ultra running stories) and "once a runner" ( LOVE THIS BOOK! it reminds me so much of high school and my freshman yr of college(track/xc)

    I really enjoyed "born to run as well" I wear 5 fingers to walk around in during they summer, but not really run in per se. chia seeds: tried them.. like them.. note worthy difference in my endurance: none. Salads for breakfast: not a big fan. :o)
    but like you, from an anthropological perspective it was a fascinating read and the underlying story line was awesome!! ( the 50 mile race) :o)

  6. Adam,
    Another voter here for "Once a Runner". I'd also suggest "Running and Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind" edited by Michael W. Austin. It's a collection of essays ranging from "The freedom of the long distance runner" to "Running Religiously" (though I thought the authors stand on that one was a bit of a cop-out). Excellent, excellent, reading. I'll loan it if you promise to give it back!