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Born to Run – Christopher Mcdougall

March 23, 2011

I have been running pretty consistently for a long time, a long time being since I graduated college in 1996. In those years, I have gone through periods where I ran more or less mileage. I also took about a year off when I was pregnant and taking care of a newborn. But for the most part I have run on a fairly consistent basis for the last 15 years. Over those years, I have made several attempts to increase my mileage from my usual leisurely 15 – 20 miles a week. It seems like every time I have put up a good effort to increase my mileage, I have developed an injury. And it doesn’t seem to matter how slowly I try to build up my increments, the injuries always appear any time I try to run over 25 miles per week.

 Fastforwarding to the present, one of my fitness goals for 2011 was to attempt to increase my mileage yet again, with the hopes of running at least two half marathons.  And by increasing my mileage, I am talking maybe a half mile a week. I am currently running between 25 and 30 miles a week. Well, it’s not even the end of March, and I have already dealt with some pretty severe pain in my right foot. The good news is that by adding some additional foot/ankle stretches to my pre-run routine, I have dwindled the amount of pain in my foot.

 I know a couple of people who have wholeheartedly embraced the barefoot running movement. So, when I came across Chris Mcdougall’s book, Born to Run, I knew I had to read it. This book chronicles Mcdougall’s journey through a myriad of running injuries and trips to doctors shooting him up with cortisone and telling him to give up running because his body was not “made to run.” Throughout the book, he chronicles the journeys of some of the world’s best ultrarunners, including the elusive Tarahumura people in Mexico, as he traces mankind’s ability to run.

 This book was absolutely fascinating to me. I devoured the book and was left wanting more. More stories, more information, more knowledge, more, more, more. I had previously thought the whole barefoot running phenomenon was too “granola” for me. It is not something I would have ever considered in a million years. I like my cushy running shoes. But after reading this book and doing more research on my own, my mind has been opened and my views have completely changed. I am more motivated and excited to train than ever, and I can not wait to find out the results. I would strongly encourage anyone who runs, no matter how long or how far, to read this book. It is truly one of those rare life changing reads.

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