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Born To Run Book


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#1 cookieCrumbs

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 09:05 PM

Christopher McDougall asks a simple question: Why does my foot hurt?

Our generation of runners have feet padded in overly cushioned orthotic shoes. Such advances in shoe technology should be decreasing running injuries but they are not (at least with me anyway).  

'Born to Run' tells a story of the Tarahumara indians in Mexico's Copper Mines. They practice long distance running, for ceremony and hunting (persistence running). They showed up at the Leadville 100 in Colorado having not trained for the race and stunned the crowd by wining. To get a sense of the race, try running a marathon four times with two 2,600 foot climbs at a starting line twice the altitude where planes pressurize cabins.

"Heeya! Ken whooped and hollered like a bullrider when he saw the Tarahumara heading back toward him after the fifty-mile turnaround. Something strange was going on; Ken could tell by the weird look on their faces. Hed seen every single Leadville runner for the past decade, and not one of them had looked so freakishly .......normal. Ten hours of mountain running will either knock you on your ass or plant its flag on your face, no exceptions. Even the best ultra runners by this point are heads down and digging"

I haven't finished the book yet, but so far its been a very very interesting and entertaining read. Its full of crazy feats of endurance and ultra running gods. Its inspired me to try a bit of barefoot running.

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#2 Crunchie

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 09:52 PM

I just finished the book yesterday.  I loved it.  I think it would be an entertaining read even if you weren't into running- it's just a good adventure story.  

I'd never understood the appeal of ultra-running before but it's a bit more attractive if we are actually born to do that.  Not sure what I think about barefoot running etc but it's given me lots to think about at least.

#3 cookieCrumbs

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 12:08 PM

View PostCrunchie, on Sep 1 2009, 09:52 PM, said:

I just finished the book yesterday.  I loved it.  I think it would be an entertaining read even if you weren't into running- it's just a good adventure story.  

I'd never understood the appeal of ultra-running before but it's a bit more attractive if we are actually born to do that.  Not sure what I think about barefoot running etc but it's given me lots to think about at least.


I have gone barefoot running over the past two days, only for 5 and 10 mins on the grass in Albert Park and the Botantic Gardens. Its a lovely feeling having the grass between your toes. I am hoping it will improve my running style and strengthen my feet. I cant wait to head down to St Kilda and run along the beach, especially now that the weather is brightening up. I am considering getting a pair of Vibram fivefinger, so I can run more safely and not worry about glass or needles. I bet they would also be great on trail runs as they would have super grip. They are like my Inovs, which are a popular mountain running shoe back home in Ire. & the UK.

#4 Eagle

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 01:28 PM

Waiting for my copy to arrive from the US :

Born to Run

Not sure what the last Bookseller is thinking with that price.

#5 slowmo

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 05:29 PM

As I've mentioned elsewhere (on the running books thread), some parts of the book with the most gonzo writing style didn't grab me, while other parts were so moving that they literally made me cry (the chapter on Zatopek for instance which is wonderful).

The book certainly has sparked a lot more interest in barefoot and minimalist running but, much as I'm a paid up member of the Church of Huarache, I hope it doesn't end up being badged as barefoot propaganda because it's appeal is a lot broader than that.

There are some terrific characters (coach Joe Vigil was one of my favourites), exciting accounts of races, tangential forays into evolution and anthropology, and underneath it all, a wonderful evocation of the culture of running.

slowmo

Edited by slowmo, 02 September 2009 - 05:31 PM.


#6 tim

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 05:42 PM

just on this book.

I don't believe Don Juan from the carlos castaneda books was a tarahumara indian.

Being hunter s thompson fan I am partial to some gonzo writing.

#7 curls

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 06:58 PM

View PostcookieCrumbs, on Sep 2 2009, 12:08 PM, said:

I have gone barefoot running over the past two days, only for 5 and 10 mins on the grass in Albert Park and the Botantic Gardens. Its a lovely feeling having the grass between your toes. I am hoping it will improve my running style and strengthen my feet. I cant wait to head down to St Kilda and run along the beach, especially now that the weather is brightening up. I am considering getting a pair of Vibram fivefinger, so I can run more safely and not worry about glass or needles. I bet they would also be great on trail runs as they would have super grip. They are like my Inovs, which are a popular mountain running shoe back home in Ire. & the UK.

Please let us know how it goes.  My husband is convinced this is the way to go but I'd like some empirical evidence.

#8 RunBare

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 07:52 PM

View Postcurls, on Sep 2 2009, 06:58 PM, said:

Please let us know how it goes.  My husband is convinced this is the way to go but I'd like some empirical evidence.

Don't think there is any.  You could just try it.

Loved the book, on many levels.  An excellent 'read' (I heard it on audio book).

#9 slowmo

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 09:04 PM

View Posttim, on Sep 2 2009, 05:42 PM, said:

Being hunter s thompson fan I am partial to some gonzo writing.
I think I'm just an old fuddy-duddy sometimes :rolleyes:

View PostRunBare, on Sep 2 2009, 07:52 PM, said:

(I heard it on audio book).
Ooh - that's interesting. I didn't know you get it as an audio book. Good reader ?

slowmo

#10 akaburnsy

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 04:38 PM

I read it in two days and I though it was awesome. Very inspirational, especially while I was trying to work out why my legs/knee's hurt.

#11 slowmo

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 01:18 PM

There is a web site being set up for Born To Run by the author and 'Barefoot Ted'.

http://www.borntorun.org/

Not much there yet, but I've asked on Ted's email list if they'd consider adding having bibliography on the site for all of the studies and books that are cited in the book.

slowmo

#12 philk

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 02:33 PM

after reading the book I googled "tarahumara" and found some interesting images of the runners in the race & race results/reports etc, which kind of completed the story for me.

interesting read, but i think any transission away form orthotics/ support etc has to be gradual for me!

#13 harro

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 09:14 PM

the greatest book on running I have read since "The complete book of Running" James F. Fixx....This book however, has changed many things in the way i run and not just the mechanics of the movement although that is a big part. I cannot stress enough how important it is for all who just "love running because.." to read this book and have a good think. I read it cover to cover twice without a pause....

You might not go barefoot but all the principles apply...both physical and mental...

Harro

Edited by harro, 04 September 2009 - 09:26 PM.


#14 Davo

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 07:04 PM

I hate to sound as if I'm playing the devil's advocate (I haven't read the book yet but I have it on order), but all of the above begs the question "How many Tarahumara Indians have won medals at the Olympic Games?"
If they're so wonderful, why aren't they running the legs off Gebresallasie, Mottram and all the rest?

#15 DiJ

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 07:13 PM

Read the book and you'll have your answer.

#16 Bandanna

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 07:29 PM

I should really go and read this book.

The latest AURA Ultramag quotes from the book. It says "... Ultra runners tend to be amazingly healthy, youthful and - believe it or not - good looking.  :rolleyes:

....Throughout history, the four basic ingredients for optimal health has been clean air, good food, fresh water and low stress. And that, to a T, describes the daily life of an ultra runner. No one cares how fast you run, so ultrarunners don't stress about times. They are out to enjoy the run, and finish strong, not shave inconsequential seconds off a PB....."

#17 djbleakman

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 08:03 PM

View PostDavo, on Sep 9 2009, 07:04 PM, said:

I hate to sound as if I'm playing the devil's advocate (I haven't read the book yet but I have it on order), but all of the above begs the question "How many Tarahumara Indians have won medals at the Olympic Games?"
If they're so wonderful, why aren't they running the legs off Gebresallasie, Mottram and all the rest?

Yes, have a read of the book and you'll find those answers... I'm loving this book right now and it appeals in so many ways to the principles of ultra running that I believe in - both from a physical sense in efficient running form, but also from a mental aspect too. Each time I compete in a trail run, I thank my lucky stars that I'm so honoured to be able to do what I do.

#18 Juztin

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 05:29 PM

Just finished reading Born To Run today.

Quite simply: Incredible. It is the greatest non-fiction book that I have read. I felt as though I was watching a documentary come to life as I read it.

It is so well written, but not only that. The story is wildly entertaining, the research is highly informative, and there is such a vast array of characters that are so well described, I thought I almost knew them personally.

I don't think I can recall ever reading a book that was so enthralling. I have lost a lot of sleep reading this book as I kept saying "just one more chapter and i'll go to sleep".

I was honestly saddened at the end of the book as I just didn't want it to finish. It has not only opened my eyes to trail running -which I have now started for myself- but to the whole science and history behind this amazing endurance 'sport'.

Caballo Blanco is one of the most interesting people I have ever read about.

For anyone who has yet to read this book, I most highly recommend it.

By the way, just got some FiveFingers KSO's. I am feeling them already.

#19 charlieboy

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 10:12 AM

View PostJuztin, on Sep 14 2009, 07:29 AM, said:

Just finished reading Born To Run today.

Quite simply: Incredible. It is the greatest non-fiction book that I have read. I felt as though I was watching a documentary come to life as I read it.

It is so well written, but not only that. The story is wildly entertaining, the research is highly informative, and there is such a vast array of characters that are so well described, I thought I almost knew them personally.

I don't think I can recall ever reading a book that was so enthralling. I have lost a lot of sleep reading this book as I kept saying "just one more chapter and i'll go to sleep".

I was honestly saddened at the end of the book as I just didn't want it to finish. It has not only opened my eyes to trail running -which I have now started for myself- but to the whole science and history behind this amazing endurance 'sport'.

Caballo Blanco is one of the most interesting people I have ever read about.

For anyone who has yet to read this book, I most highly recommend it.

By the way, just got some FiveFingers KSO's. I am feeling them already.

Yep, Im with you there. Very well written and very well researched (how many other writers take on drug lords, death defying roads, inhospitable canyons etc to get their story?).

It's funny I have tried to recommend this book to some people and their eyes glaze over when I tell them what it is about, and I become quite frustrated. What the hell it is their loss.

#20 Davealcock

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 01:10 PM

Managed to find this book through an Aussie site, fishpond.  Much cheaper than getting it elsewhere...and no I'm not afiliated to them in anyway...maybe I should!  Under $28.

http://www.fishpond....rds=born to run

#21 Studebaker

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:07 PM

View PostDavealcock, on Sep 15 2009, 01:10 PM, said:

Managed to find this book through an Aussie site, fishpond.  Much cheaper than getting it elsewhere...and no I'm not afiliated to them in anyway...maybe I should!  Under $28.

http://www.fishpond....rds=born to run

Bought mine from Borders for under $25... $21.95 I think.

And you get to read the whole book in the day you bought it...

#22 Juztin

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:56 PM

View Postcharlieboy, on Sep 15 2009, 10:12 AM, said:

It's funny I have tried to recommend this book to some people and their eyes glaze over when I tell them what it is about, and I become quite frustrated. What the hell it is their loss.

I hear you. It's the exact same story with me. People seem disinterested as soon as the word 'running' appear in my sentence when describing the book.

The book could have been about crawling in the same setting and I would have found it almost as interesting.

I have just started reading a book about Auschwitz and I know nothing about the subject. Which is the very reason I read in the first place.

Knowledge!!  :LMAO:

#23 Nickelass

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 09:44 AM

View PostStudebaker, on Sep 15 2009, 04:07 PM, said:

Bought mine from Borders for under $25... $21.95 I think.

For instant satisfaction, try an ebook.  My copy only cost $7 and I received it without leaving my living room.

#24 Seeker

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 02:37 AM

I have also just finished the book.

What I found interesting was the brutal attack on Nike - be interested to see what sort of response if any they come up with. Also the disdain with which the author treats the 'Ultramarathon Man' as a pretender with the nickname 'O-fer'.

There were so many positive messages in the book and I loved the gung-ho writing style. Will be reading it again shortly and tentatively putting my incredibly soft heels to the ground with some grass running.

Highly recommended.

#25 charlieboy

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 09:56 AM

View PostSeeker, on Sep 16 2009, 04:37 PM, said:

Also the disdain with which the author treats the 'Ultramarathon Man' as a pretender with the nickname 'O-fer'.

Yes I found this attack on DK and Pam Read a little unnecessary and detracted a little from the overall feel good theme. McDougall let himself down a bit here. After all he attacks them both as shameless self promoters and authors while McDougall himself is cashing in writing this book.

#26 Rico

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:03 AM

Well he "attacks" Nike in certain ways, but he also takes time to tell us that after all his research into the running shoe field he chose Nikes for his own running, including his 50 mile race. And as far as I can remember he pretends that no other running shoe brands exist at all.  By the end of the book I suspected that some kind of deal must exist between himself/the publishers and the company.

#27 harro

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:04 PM

Interesting thoughts.

Its funny the way people interpret things differently. I didn't interpret the text as being critical of Nike specifically but rather a criticism of running shoe manufacturers in general. Its just that Nike was in the game early. Having said that , Chris may have some back door deal with other running shoe manufactures but I suspect not.
I for one, agree with the book. Having been running as a Tarahumara would run for over a month now I find that a double shock, gel, air, spring, heel is just not necessary. I have found that my feet seem to be able to undertake this curious activity of running on their own with just protection from glass etc...

And you know what...this is the most important part...............................I am enjoying my running more....I don't give a tinkers cuss how fast I am going.....I just run.....there you go :-)

Harro

#28 MrD

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 09:26 AM

Unfortunately this book failed to live up to its hype.

* Poorly written, excessive use of hyperbole and exaggeration bordering on fiction. Dialogue was highly paced, modality was extreme. No balanced view in describing trail/ultra running. Made the ultra runs sound like Hollywood epics!
* Side taking. Attacked Dean Karnizes and Pam Read, even using the analogy of Pam being a 'witch'. Very pro Jurek and anyone else who chooses to 'shun' the ultra limelight. Hypocritically, the author is now the one cashing in (and exploiting the Tarahumara!)
* Use of Propoganda. Chapter on shoes made me believe I was reading one big advertisement for Vibram. Very cynical view of shoe companies development of running shoes. He would want us to believe that barefoot running is the answer to all running problems, simply not true, but don't want to get started in that debate.
* Over simplistic on too many aspects. Wonder what the sales of the 'natures Rocket Fuel' Chia seeds have been like since this book came out? "Cutting edge Science'? Give me a break!
* Don't know too much about the Tarahumara Mexicans, but I don't hold them above any other ultra runner who trains hard and certainly don't believe in their 'super human' qualities that the author would want us to believe.

Just my two cents!

#29 Davo

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 02:52 PM

Ooooh!
That's putting the cat among the pigeons, MrD.
I wish my supplier would hurry up and get me this book so's I can make up my own mind. Unfortunately things work a bit slower here in Tasmania.

#30 tank girl

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 04:57 PM

Davo, for future reference, check Zombie Runner first - they're very quick!

#31 judo

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 09:44 PM

I am with you MrD, i thought it was CRAP, cant see what all the hype is about.

JUDO :LMAO:

#32 djbleakman

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 09:09 AM

I think most of this book can be summed up in a few words, "it's Amercian"... not that I'm bashing Amercians, they're nice people generally... but we all know that sensationalism sells. Ultra running and indeed running is niche. For it to make mainstream it has to over dramatise and over sell itself it meet the maintream lust for sensationalism, drama and intrigue. Otherrwise it becomes another book about running for running people - he's trying to provoke a reaction.

There were parts of this book I found facinating and a fair few of the morals I live by with regards to ultra running stand true here. Other areas seemed bizarre.

I agree the attack on the shoe industry and Karno is uncalled for and is so one-eyed it makes NZ rugby union commentators look fair. In some respects, the book is hypocritical in that he preaches a 'love thyself and thy neighbour philosophy', yet there's fair amount of bashing going on against others. True, he also licks Jurek's behind as if he was God, but then again, he kind of is really :LMAO:

I enjoyed the book, found it entertaining and it left me with some more areas and questions to go and research and discover for myself.

Edited by djbleakman, 24 September 2009 - 09:12 AM.


#33 Nickelass

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 02:48 PM

I found the book poorly written and annoying in it's style.  It's highly emotive, dismissing some people while building others up to be heros.  The book is opinionated and uses propaganda to push certain ideas while criticising others of doing the same thing.  As Dan says, the book is typically "American".

Despite it's faults, I found it a good read and very engaging (once I decided to ignore its faults).

The book tries to push a different perspective to traditional thinking with regards to shoes.  I think it succeeds at doing this, raising some good points and getting people to question the status-quo.

For that alone, the book is worth reading.

Edited by Nickelass, 24 September 2009 - 02:49 PM.


#34 MrD

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 02:01 PM

View Postdjbleakman, on Sep 24 2009, 09:09 AM, said:

I think most of this book can be summed up in a few words, "it's Amercian"... not that I'm bashing Amercians, they're nice people generally... but we all know that sensationalism sells. Ultra running and indeed running is niche. For it to make mainstream it has to over dramatise and over sell itself it meet the maintream lust for sensationalism, drama and intrigue. Otherrwise it becomes another book about running for running people - he's trying to provoke a reaction.

Good points Dan, and I agree with what you say.

Unfortunately, I read it just after reading a book about running for runners, about a very specific type of running, in a very specific part of the world, Feet in the Clouds, about Fell Running. So when I read Born to Run it was even more obvious how Hollywood it was.

#35 EverReadyBunny

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 09:03 PM

I read the book while over here in the UK and I enjoyed it.

I didn't think it was the be all and end all but some of the topics made me think about diet and shoes and the way we run and that in itself is a good thing.

I have always believed we were meant to run so to see people trying to find the empirical evidence to support this was interesting. For me it had to be read to see what other people were talking about and it was an easy read too. Finished it in about 3 days.

Is it promoting barefoot running? While on the surface it seems to, but in the end the writer ran his race in shoes so that doesn't seem to be the dominant theme.

Edited by EverReadyBunny, 25 September 2009 - 09:04 PM.


#36 djbleakman

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 04:17 PM

View PostEverReadyBunny, on Sep 25 2009, 09:03 PM, said:

Is it promoting barefoot running? While on the surface it seems to, but in the end the writer ran his race in shoes so that doesn't seem to be the dominant theme.

Not to hark on about the whole barefoot thing, but I noticed that after long trail training runs (anything over 45kms), and in particular, marathons - when running in my kayanos, I would get a dull ache and pain along the inside of my right knee, which would hang about for a couple of days and slowly subside...

I've just done the Sydney marathon and then another 45kms on the GNW this weekend in racing flats (DS Racers VII - 4 years old I might add), and absolutely no pain at all on the knee. Now coincidence? Luck? Or just a mental thing... who knows...

#37 Davo

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:27 PM

Finally managed to read the book and, yes, it is full of American hype; but a good read all the same, with some interesting snippets and theories about how we all evolved to be runners.
Like most other books on running I've got, I highlighted the parts that I thought were important so that I can go back to them occasionally for inspiration.

#38 Eagle

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:58 PM

View PostEverReadyBunny, on Sep 25 2009, 09:03 PM, said:

I read the book while over here in the UK and I enjoyed it.

I didn't think it was the be all and end all but some of the topics made me think about diet and shoes and the way we run and that in itself is a good thing.

I have always believed we were meant to run so to see people trying to find the empirical evidence to support this was interesting. For me it had to be read to see what other people were talking about and it was an easy read too. Finished it in about 3 days.

Is it promoting barefoot running? While on the surface it seems to, but in the end the writer ran his race in shoes so that doesn't seem to be the dominant theme.


My thoughts exactly ERB except I have not been in the UK  :o

#39 Bellthorpe

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 09:39 PM

View PostMrD, on Sep 25 2009, 02:01 PM, said:

Unfortunately, I read it just after reading a book about running for runners, about a very specific type of running, in a very specific part of the world, Feet in the Clouds, about Fell Running. So when I read Born to Run it was even more obvious how Hollywood it was.

I've not read 'Born to Run', and I'm not sure that I particularly want to. But I was pleased and surprised to see a mention of 'Feet in the Clouds', which is certainly not a mainstream book.

I often stop at a small council library on my way to Bribie Island each week for a run. I came across 'Feet in the Clouds'. Picked it up and thought it looked interesting. Sat down in a lounge chair, got engrossed, and read the whole book from cover to cover. A wonderful read.

Thanks for reminding me of it.

#40 Greg_Waite

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 07:27 AM

Its a comment on The American Way that this book divides runners so much. Yes the american style of writing is full of hype, its become a self-parody really. I got sick of reading sentences along the lines "it couldn't get worse, then it did". Its scary to think the author was a war corrspondent before this effort - I'm sure he did a fine job of talking up "shock and awe" but doubt he spent his early years covering covert wars in south america....

BUT, since you can get very rich with a best seller in america, publishers will pay while you do the research that lies behind a book like this. There are so many propositions packed into this book, its hard to take it all in on the first read. 1. the evolution of homo sapiens to higher thinking was built on a few million years base training as an ultra runner tracking game, not handskills and weaponry 2. modern shoes cause not prevent injuries 3. offers directions for rethinking your stride and training to reduce injuries 4. the raramuri running lifestyle has a lot to teach us 5. background stories on some of the top trail ultra runners etc.

Definitely a book of lasting value and one to re-read later. I've been running for forty years now and its made me really think again about running - not just stride, training and shoes, but what running means as part of my life. In short, I'm sick of being manipulated by the modern world, where work takes over your life and your running choices are guided by the pervasive messages of advertising all around.

I suspect the run shoe industry is actually worse than painted here - like smoking, they spend plenty of money to understand consumer decisionmaking. If there's no evidence-based studies to show high-end shoes reduce injury, its only because they knew the opposite was true some time back and deliberately avoided funding any research where they had nothing to gain.

How often have we all said, oh well I've got injured (again!) so I'll treat myself and get that expensive pair of new shoes. Sucked in... For those who haven't read the book, one of the author's arguments is that soft and motion-control shoes pre-dispose you to injuries by weakening the strength and elasticity of your arch, which is the best natural shock absorber - I find this pretty persuasive on reflection, which is backed up by the evidence cited in the book.

Better to shift to simple/light/cheap shoes, more soft-surface trail runs, hill runs for strength and good form, slow long runs and fartlek, more group training runs, talking and learning from ourselves, and fun exploring trails not pushing fast - sounds kinda like running back the way it used to be in the 70s when I started out  :-)

Edited by Greg_Waite, 02 October 2009 - 07:32 AM.


#41 charlieboy

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 08:41 AM

Good post Greg!

I have been running for over 30 years and much of what was written in this book resonated with me. There was stuff that I subconsciously knew was right but had no medical evidence of, or even logical argument for. When other runners (or non runners) would argue this or that, I usually had to stay quite because I knew I had no reason, other than experience and hunches, that what they were saying was wrong. Sometimes you have to trust your own instincts.

#42 grimsey

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 03:22 PM

See i knew we could still learn from the old codgers! :o

#43 BostonCalling

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 03:36 PM

View PostGreg_Waite, on Oct 2 2009, 07:27 AM, said:

Better to shift to simple/light/cheap shoes, more soft-surface trail runs, hill runs for strength and good form, slow long runs and fartlek, more group training runs, talking and learning from ourselves, and fun exploring trails not pushing fast - sounds kinda like running back the way it used to be in the 70s when I started out  :-)
A terrific post Greg.  Very nostalgic.  Reminds me to stop, think, and enjoy my running and not get caught up in results driven sessions.  Thanks.

#44 grimsey

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 05:47 PM

Ive just finished this book myself and i must admit , i enjoyed the read. I have to agree with everreadybunny and i think her comments about the book are pretty much spot on. The book has made me stop and think about some of my running ideals.
Some times we in the persuit of p.b's and results we forget to enjoy the simple things.

#45 Long Arms

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 04:13 PM

View PostBostonCalling, on Oct 1 2009, 11:36 PM, said:

A terrific post Greg.  Very nostalgic.  Reminds me to stop, think, and enjoy my running and not get caught up in results driven sessions.  Thanks.
I agree. Excellent post Greg. I wish to be born a Tarahumara Indian in my next life (if I get a next life!). At least I am enjoying plenty of barefoot running and rarely run in anything more technical than racing flats, dabble with ultras, love hills, group runs, fartlek and low key races. I try so hard to instill the pure love of running into kids and adults I coach but that is something that only they can find themselves in their own time.

#46 tim

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 04:29 PM

View PostGreg_Waite, on Oct 2 2009, 07:27 AM, said:

I'm sick of being manipulated by the modern world, where work takes over your life and your running choices are guided by the pervasive messages of advertising all around.

great post.  Love the line quoted above.

#47 MrUniqueName

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 10:26 AM

I personally loved this book, although I agree that the attack on Dean K wasn't justified. It was Dean's Ultramarathon Man book that got me into running ultras in the first place, so I owe the man a lot!

After reading this book though, I started telling my mother-in-law about the theory that we evolved thanks to our ability to run down animals for food. Being a strict vegetarian and into Taoism, no sooner had I mentioned something about us hunting animals that she very quickly began arguing with me that it's all rubbish! We can both be very stubborn sometimes and so came extremely close to getting into a full-blown argument over this issue. Eventually I told her that we would have to agree to disagree, but I think she now believes the book is evil as it promotes hunting and meat-eating!

Anyway, overall I really liked the book and would very easily recommend it to others to read.

Cheers,

Dave.

#48 BEN-HUR

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 01:25 PM

I have not read the book - yet. The above posts do give some interesting & varying reviews... thus I will look forward to the read. Despite this, there are some points mentioned regarding the apparent content that I already have interest in.

I feel we are all born to run. Putting aside adverse physical conditions/diseases (congenital or acquired); every one of us has the created physiological characteristics to run. Humans are not the fastest creatures on the planet but we can certainly compete with the best in the endurance zone.

The crux of the problem is the western culture/lifestyle & diet... a lifestyle that supports laziness, fatness & greed via fast transport, fast food & fast money is certainly not conducive to producing a nation of runners. I don't believe any race of people can be acclaimed as the best runners in the world. It is the lifestyle that is most conducive to running that will produce the best runners... & a lot of them i.e. Kenya & Ethiopia. Australia could produce more Mottram's if our culture didn't have the above mentioned western traits as well as the array of other sports (games) which Kenyans & Ethiopians do not have to detract from the running pool.

There seems to be an evolution component in the book...

View Postslowmo, on Sep 2 2009, 06:29 PM, said:

... tangential forays into evolution and anthropology, and underneath it all, a wonderful evocation of the culture of running.
It does also seem tangential to me to have evolution & anthropology in a running book. Why have it? (I suppose I need to read the book). Unless it's there for...

View PostDavo, on Sep 30 2009, 09:27 PM, said:

... with some interesting snippets and theories about how we all evolved to be runners.

View PostGreg_Waite, on Oct 2 2009, 08:27 AM, said:

... many propositions packed into this book, its hard to take it all in on the first read. 1. the evolution of homo sapiens to higher thinking was built on a few million years base training as an ultra runner tracking game, not handskills and weaponry
mmm... I see (I think). What unscientific conjecture (was this action observed, analysed & recorded by someone a "few million years" ago?). I don't want to turn this thread into a debate about evolution (there is another thread for that). However, to balance the view, there is a more sound, logical & scientific valid explanation as to how & why we run (not to mention more uplifting). This alternative view does not allow room for the random acquisition of the gradual changes to bone lengths, shape, joint contours & ligament/tendon/muscle shape, size & positioning which are all needed to be conducive for efficient bipedal running... even considering our so called 'closest' primate relative.

I have comfort knowing that the biomechanics/physiology involved to allow me to run was purposely designed to move us bipedally (lower limb biomechanics) & erect (spine physiology). The more one knows of the intricacies involved in this process, the less likely one can logically conclude that running was a component of an evolutionary pathway of Homo Sapiens, off some primate branch millions of years ago. A deeper essence can then be appreciated on the act & nature of running knowing that not only are we "born to run" but we were also purposely Created to do so.

Maybe the author was wanting to justify his (our) evolutionary hierarchy as a distance (ultra) runner... much like as during the popularization of this 'theory' (belief/faith) was edifying the social class orientated society of the British Victorian era during the mid to late 1800ís.

View PostMrUniqueName, on Oct 14 2009, 11:26 AM, said:

After reading this book though, I started telling my mother-in-law about the theory that we evolved thanks to our ability to run down animals for food. Being a strict vegetarian and into Taoism, no sooner had I mentioned something about us hunting animals that she very quickly began arguing with me that it's all rubbish! We can both be very stubborn sometimes and so came extremely close to getting into a full-blown argument over this issue. Eventually I told her that we would have to agree to disagree
That was brave... sounded like an entertaining discussion. You can put your mother-in-law's mind at ease... early humans were actually vegetarian - in fact vegan.  Running was a means to get from place to place at a faster rate Ė unlike today (Iím sure that early humans also enjoyed the exhilaration from it as well).

View PostMrUniqueName, on Oct 14 2009, 11:26 AM, said:

... but I think she now believes the book is evil as it promotes hunting and meat-eating!
I would like to think the book should be promoting quite the contrary. I remember a study done revealing that the vegetarian/vegan (more so vegan) diet was more conducive for better endurance performance.

View PostEverReadyBunny, on Sep 25 2009, 10:03 PM, said:

I have always believed we were meant to run so to see people trying to find the empirical evidence to support this was interesting.
Yes, us humans do like to complicate things don't we? This conquest for the search of knowledge & understanding sets us way apart from other life forms... but it can be like a two edge sword. Dare I say, as Nike puts it... just do it!

Another important note when it comes to  being "born to run" is the development of the neural pathways for running from a young age... starting  running as a  young child, preferably in minimist type footwear combined with barefoot training. This helps develop efficient style/biomechanics which improves metabolic efficiency & reduces the chance of repetitive (overuse) type injuries.  Hence why Kenya & Ethiopia has such a large pool of great distance runners. Their environment/lifestyle combined with in most cases the higher altitude is great for developing strong efficient runners with a great aerobic base.

View PostBostonCalling, on Oct 2 2009, 04:36 PM, said:

Reminds me to stop, think, and enjoy my running and not get caught up in results driven sessions.
Interesting point - something I need to think about myself. Beating one's self up for not doing a PB for a course can really kill the enjoyment & the essence of the activity. Besides, it is probably detrimental for progressive performance anyway.

Anyway, itís all quite interesting & certainly something worth pondering over.

#49 MrUniqueName

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 01:41 PM

View PostBEN-HUR, on Oct 16 2009, 01:25 PM, said:

I would like to think the book should be promoting quite the contrary. I remember a study done revealing that the vegetarian/vegan (more so vegan) diet was more conducive for better endurance performance.

I read somewhere (maybe in Born to Run even?) that Scott Jurek is vegan... that's enough to convince me that it's good for endurance!

Having said that, I'm still an omnivore...  :)

Dave

#50 Eagle

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 02:00 PM

I finished the book a few weeks ago and found it a good book. I was not sure what I was expecting afther reading this thread before reading  the book. Like a lot of things in life the same things means diferent things to different people.

I dream for the day that I feel I can run endlessly without an effort - the nivarna they allude to on the book. I'll take a finish in GNW under the cut off and I don't care how I feel.

Edited by Eagle, 16 October 2009 - 02:01 PM.