Musing: Reading and Running

IMG_0209.JPGLast year I read Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run. Read my review here.

One valuable nugget I took from the book was that people who ran barefoot – and who were raised running barefoot – had fewer injuries than westerners running on super-cushioned shoes.

Even in my 20s when I was in the best shape of my life and ran half-marathons, I still felt pain when running. Shinsplints and knee pain attacked the most. I was slender, strong, and young. I couldn’t imagine why running was so painful sometimes.

Fast forward 15 years, three childbirths, and five pounds… and the book Born to Run.

I decided to try barefoot running shoes to help me shorten my stride and land on the balls of my feet. (I’ve since learned this is called “running forefoot.”) I picked out some cute Vibram FiveFingers. See some Vibrams here. My husband calls them my Himalayan mountain shoes. And hey, if it helps me run like the guys running 20 miles a day in the Himalayan mountains… Awesome.

Guess what? On my very first longer-than-a-mile run, NO SHIN SPLINTS. I haven’t had shin splints or lasting knee pain from running in the entire year I’ve been running “barefoot.”

I recently trained for 8 weeks for a race. Just 8 weeks. I finished the half-marathon (13.1 miles) wearing barefoot running shoes. My stride is more natural and I am pain free. I even recovered twice as quickly as my sister who has been training longer and further than I have.

I credit Christopher McDougall, Born to Run, and Vibram with my success. Thank you!

To you readers out there I say, Give Born to Run a read. Even if you’ll never run in your entire life, it’s a work of science and anthropology followed by a fantastic, inspirational story.


buy more by journalist CHRISTOPHER MCDOUGALL

Review: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

I’m not really a runner. I jog a mile here and there, but I do it because it’s healthy, not because I love it. And here I was reading a book about people who LOVE to run. They love to run so much that they run 20, 30, even 100 miles in a day.

The first half was a little boring. McDougall gave me some science and some anthropology and some history… but nothing exciting. I expected that from non-fiction, so I kept reading. And it got better.

I cried for the village that helped its runners along the mountains and canyons. I thirsted with the guy who gave away his last ounces of water to someone who needed it more. I whooped with the college girl who had so much fun running that her joy and her craft knew no bounds. I sighed in relief for the guy who finished 50 miles of cliff and canyon running in 12 hours — when only 2 years earlier he couldn’t run a mile without pain.

I said before that I don’t love running. But after reading Born to Run, I WANT to love running.

See you on the trails sometime!


Buy It Now Born To Run