30 Good Things Before 30: #28 – Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

So it just struck me tonight how close I’m getting to the end of my 30 Good Things Before 30 challenge!

It also struck me how amiss I’ve been to not include any books so far!

It’s a great disservice to my roots. I come from a family of voracious readers. For pretty much my entire life, the go-to gift for every one of us on every occasion was a book. (Birthday next month? Get a book. Christmas? Pick up a couple of books. Mother’s Day? Jodi Picoult book!)

Lately though, I’ve been slacking on the reading front. My daily blogging means I’m spending more time online. Tack on my marathon training miles and that means I’m also spending way more nights tumbling into bed exhausted, eyelids too heavy to get through a couple of pages.

If we’re being totally honest, I just haven’t made reading a priority.

I was reminded that I ought to be, however, by a couple of bloggers: specifically, Slacker Runner’s mid-year check-in and 30-good-things-before-30a recommendation of the book The Girl on the Train over here.

So while I work on tracking down a copy of The Girl on the Train, let me use one of my few remaining days of this challenge to correct my oversight and present #28 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

If you’re a runner and you like to read and you haven’t yet read Born to Run, stop what you’re doing immediately and fix that!

Technically, the book is an ethnography, which focuses on the reclusive Tarahumara tribe. Reading it though is like spending a few hours at a pub with a group of rowdy ultramarthoners intent on regaling you with their adventures.

Born to Run

Born to Run

The book came out in 2009 and was kind of a game-changer for the running world. Specifically, it’s credited with playing a significant role in launching the minimalist shoe movement. Author Christopher McDougall focuses on the Tarahumara’s ability to run extreme distances in flimsy sandals without any of the injuries that plague the rest of us typical runners.

I know it’s falling out of fashion but I’m a supporter of the minimalist shoe movement. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me so I find the theory McDougall talks about really interesting.

But even if you’re not all that interested in the technical aspects and think miminalist shoes are a crock, Born to Run is still worth reading just for the cast of characters it brings together.

For me, it was totally eye-opening. I always thought of ultramarthoners as disciplined, serious athletes. Some of them are. Some of them are like Jenn Shelton — a little wild, a little crazy, a little bit apt to drink like a teamster while preparing for a 50-mile race in Mexico’s Copper Canyons and end up lost, hungover, and hydrating from a mud puddle.

True story. You can read about it in Born to Run.

What are you reading? Anything good? Recommendations welcome in the comments!

How do you feel about minimalist shoes?

7 thoughts on “30 Good Things Before 30: #28 – Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

  1. dgobs says:

    Thanks for the shout-out! 🙂 Born to Run has been on the periphery of my to-read list for a while, but now it’s officially on. It sounds fascinating! My favorite running book at the moment is probably “Running Like a Girl” by Alexandra Heminsley – part memoir, part beginner’s guide, with lots of humor thrown in!

  2. runsonsyrup says:

    I read Born to Run a couple years ago. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would (I’m super picky about authors’ writing styles) but I found the stories fascinating. I’m now reading Unbroken, which is amazing. I’ll probably see the movie when I’m done with the book.
    Brooks Pureflows are about as minimalist as I get. I’m a natural heavy heel striker and anything less cushioned sets me up for major heel pain. To each their own, though 🙂

    • mostlyhealthyliving says:

      I definitely want to read Unbroken. I really wanted to see the movie when it came out but held off because I am a stickler for reading the book first. Maybe my desire to watch the movie will motivate me to get reading!

      I totally get that minimalist shoes aren’t for everyone. They suit me and my feet and have really reduced the aches and pains I used to get in more traditional shoes. But I would never say they’re the solution to every runnng woe. You’ve definitely got to work with the stride and the feet that you got to find what works. On the plus side, that can mean more shoe shopping! #guiltypleasure

  3. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    That is my issue as well. I spend time reading and responding to blogs now, and something had to give and it turned out to be reading. I try to tell myself that at least I am conversing with people even if it’s online. I’ve never read Born to Run, I know I should as a runner but I just have a hard time getting through memoirs or true story books. I’ve never run in minimalist shoes but I know I dislike the really cushiony shoes. Thanks for the mention!

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