As a commuter that spends 2+ hours per day in my vehicle, I have 3 daily listening choices: podcasts, music, or audiobooks. I have been able to listen to over 50 audiobooks in my time as a commuter, but it was only recently that I discovered my favorite book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. This book spoke directly into the core of what running should be and how every runner should perceive the sport. If you have yet to read or listen, drop everything else and pick it up today! Here are some of the key takeaways from the book.
1. "Eat like a poor person"
I'm not talking about the quick and cheap McBiscuit meal when you're running late to work, and I mean no offense by this quote. A lot of 3rd world countries don't have the option to fill their diets with processed foods and copious amounts sugar like we do here in America. They survive off of local farmer's markets and can eat only what the local fields have produced. If you began to fill your diet with organic and local meals, your potential as an athlete will skyrocket.
2. "You don't stop running because you grow old, you grow old because you stop running"
We as humans have the ability to endure long distances far greater than any other species that walks the Earth. In fact, most runners hit their peak at 27 and begin to decline slowly after that. By the age of 64, they you will have declined enough to equally compete with your 18 year old self. No other endurance or physical sport gives you this opportunity!
3. Running easy + light + smooth = running fast
This was a major theme in the book for the instinctive trail runners that don't follow the industry hoopla. The ancient tribes and world's best runners have both found this to be true. When you slow your breath and begin to focus your presence on moving swiftly across the curved plane of the Earth, you will almost questionably witness the pace on your Garmin watch increase dramatically.
4. Thank you for the injuries, Mr. Shoe.
For thousands of years, we have effortlessly avoided foot and ankle injuries. It's a common example of "survival of the fittest." Those who were injured didn't eat nearly as well as those who didn't get injured. Now we are here, and the main difference between their foot and your foot is the running shoe. When you land on your bare-foot, you automatically correct your footing and posture to adapt to long distances. When wearing a shoe, your feet do not sense the need to correct it's position due to the high levels of comfort. I 100% do not recommend jumping right into barefoot running, because your current foot muscles are accustomed to wearing a shoe now. Ever since your first steps as a baby, you have been wearing shoes. So take this spark-note with a grain of salt!
5. "If you don't believe you were born to run, not only are you denying history, but you are denying yourself."
This quote is the reason I enjoyed the book so much. It displayed several stories of human potential and greatness. These stories were always touching on the underlying theme of "tapping into our roots as the species that conquered all through our main feature: running."
It is difficult to fully cover every topic in this book, so I definitely recommend picking up a copy and diving deep into why you were born to run!