Derek Sivers
Born to Run - by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run - by Christopher McDougall

ISBN: 0307266303
Date read: 2009-06-21
How strongly I recommend it: 3/10
(See my list of 360+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Gripping story of a man who was trying to find out why his feet hurt while running. This led him to the story of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, the greatest distance runners in the world. If you like running, you’ll love this book! My favorite quote: “No wonder your feet are so sensitive. They’re self-correcting devices. Covering your feet with cushioned shoes is like turning off your smoke alarms.”

my notes

Iskiate is otherwise known as chia fresca - “chilly chia.” It’s brewed up by dissolving chia seeds in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime. In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone. As tiny as those seeds are, they’re superpacked with omega-3S, omega-6S, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants.

Back when you were a kid and you had to be yelled at to slow down? Every game you played, you played at top speed, sprinting like crazy as you kicked cans, freed all, and attacked jungle outposts in your neighbors’ backyards. Half the fun of doing anything was doing it at record pace, making it probably the last time in your life you’d ever be hassled for going too fast.

You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.

“Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry,” Mark Twain used to say. Zatopek found a way to run so that when he won, even other teams were delighted.

The most advanced weapon in the ultrarunner’s arsenal: instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well, you’re not afraid of it anymore.

The only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it.

No wonder your feet are so sensitive. They’re self-correcting devices. Covering your feet with cushioned shoes is like turning off your smoke alarms.

Runners who stretched were 33 percent more likely to get hurt.

Your legs and feet instinctively come down hard when they sense something squishy underfoot. When you run in cushioned shoes, your feet are pushing through the soles in search of a hard, stable platform.

The best injury-prevention advice he’s ever heard came from a coach who advocated “running barefoot on dewy grass three times a week.”

Next time your feet are sore, walk on slippery stones in a cold creek. Unbelievable!

Clipped a small electric metronome to his T-shirt. “What’s this for?” “Set it for one hundred eighty beats a minute, then run to the beat.”

“You ever see one of those barefoot guys in a 10K race?” “Yeah. It’s like they’re running on hot coals.”

Imagine your kid is running into the street and you have to sprint after her in bare feet. You’ll automatically lock into perfect form - you’ll be up on your forefeet, with your back erect, head steady, arms high, elbows driving, and feet touching down quickly on the forefoot and kicking back toward your butt.

Eric also had me get a heart-rate monitor so I could correct the second-most common mistake of the running class - pace. Most of us are just as clueless about speed as we are about form. “Nearly all runners do their slow runs too fast, and their fast runs too slow,” Ken Mierke says. “So they’re just training their bodies to burn sugar, which is the last thing a distance runner wants. You’ve got enough fat stored to run to California, so the more you train your body to burn fat instead of sugar, the longer your limited sugar tank is going to last.” The way to activate your fat-burning furnace is by staying below your aerobic threshold - your hard-breathing point - during your endurance runs.

Tip for managing heart rate and pace: “Only go as fast as you can while holding a conversation.”

Because it’s a low-fat, whole-grain food, pinole can slash your risk of diabetes and a host of digestive-system cancers - in fact, of all cancers. According to Dr. Robert Weinberg, a professor of cancer research at MIT and discoverer of the first tumor-suppressor gene, one in every seven cancer deaths is caused by excess body fat. The math is stark: cut the fat, and cut your cancer risk.

Pinole isn’t as hard to get as you think. sells it online, along with heritage seeds in case you want to grow your own corn and whiz up some homemade pinole in a coffee grinder.

“Grow some wild geranium,” he suggested. “Or buy the extract online.” Geranium niveum is the Tarahumara wonder drug; according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it’s as effective as red wine at neutralizing disease-causing free radicals. As one writer put it, wild geranium is “anti-everything - anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant.”

Under her Tarahumara-style eating plan, lunch and dinner were built around fruit, beans, yams, whole grains, and vegetables, and breakfast was often salad. “You get leafy greens in your body first thing in the morning and you’ll lose a lot of weight,” she urged me. Because a monster salad is loaded with nutrient-rich carbs and low in fat, I could stuff myself and not feel hungry - or queasy - when it came time to work out.

“Your body needs to be shocked to become resilient,” Eric explained. Follow the same daily routine, and your musculoskeletal system quickly figures out how to adapt and go on autopilot. But surprise it with new challenges - leap over a creek, commando-crawl under a log, sprint till your lungs are bursting - and scores of nerves and ancillary muscles are suddenly electrified into action.

Instead of stretching before a run, I got right to work. Lunges, pushups, jump squats, crunches; Eric had me powering through a half hour of raw strength drills every other day, with nearly all of them on a fitness ball to sharpen my balance and fire those supportive ancillary muscles.

Early humans had separated themselves from all creation by taking their knuckles off the ground and standing up. It was to breathe! To open their throats, swell out their chests, and suck in air better than any other creature on the planet.

Women have really been underrated. They’ve been evolutionarily shortchanged. We perpetuate this notion that they were sitting around waiting for the men to come back with food, but there’s no reason why women couldn’t be part of the hunting party.

If it feels like work, you’re working too hard.