Friday, December 21, 2012

Born To Run…

Yes, Bruce Springsteen was as well, but I’m actually talking about YOU.

Yes, YOU.

The person who says “I can’t run a mile without getting winded.”

Turns out, that’s exactly what you were originally built to do…and more.

This is just part of what I learned in a fantastic book called Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

I re-discovered a love and appreciation for running as I began my Tough Mudder training. I had run in high school and then, in my mid-20’s, developed shin splints and never really got back into it.

With training required, I had to rededicate myself, but went with the barefoot style via Merrell and they worked wonders for me. See the shoes here

As I ran more and more, I found that I started to appreciate it, the energy that came from it, and my friend Yak suggested the book to me.

It made me feel better about my speed (or lack thereof..I do about 8.5 minute miles) and proud of my endurance—which I have a fair amount of.

It introduced me to the idea that running was, in fact, the competitive advantage that humans originally had over both animals and Neanderthals.

Not because of speed, but because we are the only ones who can release heat (via sweat) while we are running and breathe simultaneously. Essentially what this means is that we can outrun a deer or an antelope…not by speed, but by dogged pursuit, because eventually, they will just have to give up because they overheat.

It’s called persistence hunting and the idea was fascinating.

The book is based upon a tribe of Mexican Indians known as the Tarahumara who can run obscene distances in extreme heat and uses them as the basis for what Man originally was supposed to be. Our modern lifestyle has destroyed much of that and because we don’t run, many of the diseases with which we are now familiar, exist in abundance.

AS the book says, “we don’t stop running because we get old, we get old because we stop running.”

If you are a runner, you must read this book. Odds are, you have.

If you want to get healthy, read this book.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

It’s inspiring, well-written, and entertaining…and it may just improve your life.

And my favorite quote about the Tarahumara:

“The Tarahumara aren’t great runners…they’re great athletes, and those two things are very different.”

Runners are assembly-line workers; they become good at one thing-moving straight ahead at a steady speed-and repeat that motion until overuse fritzes out the machinery.

Athletes are Tarzans. Tarzan swims and wrestles and jumps and swings on vines. He’s strong and explosive. You never know what Tarzan will do next, which is why he never gets hurt.

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

(Not withstanding that Tarzan is fake, of course. And now you know why I dig the Tough Mudder. Still a good point.)

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