Two million years ago, Africa: A skinny, long-limbed creature who walks on two legs, can’t sprint, and has no weapons turns away from his under-nourished friends, and runs down a much stronger antelope. Dinner. Over succeeding generations, this creature evolves into one of the best distance runners on the planet: the human being. Yet in the age of modernity, we find ourselves unable to run without more than half of us suffering injury. This book looks at the injury epidemic in running and what the barefoot running movement believes are the causes of injury. It analyzes the best-seller Born to Run, how human evolution has shaped our bodies, how modernity has warped those same bodies, and what barefoot running both got right and wrong. It concludes by giving practical advice to runners from the writer, a 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon.
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Short, but to the point.
Save time, read Born to Run again and skip this
The main problem with this book is that he misrepresents McDougall's advice in Born to Run. He Keep saying that McDougall is suggesting that we go out take off our shoes and start running barefoot. That simply is not true. In fact, McDougall was very clear that while he believes that the running method of the Tarahumara Indians is a more natural way to run, and much more likely to be injury free, to switch over to this style of running without a very deliberate, careful, and probably time-consuming effort would be foolish.
Gillespie did not present a good case against barefoot running. His science was almost nonexistent (except for anecdotal cases) and in those cases the problem was not the style of running but it was how the athletes who decided to adopt the style moved in to it too quickly. I felt the book was disconnected in that for a while it was about Born to Run, then it switched over to the sociology of running (to find fault again with McDougall's over romanticizing of the Tarahumara culture) and then spent a little bit of time explaining Gillespie's proposed methods of injury free running. Which, by the way, I would bet McDougall would agree with almost 100% since they were basically just everyday common sense ideas.
The writing style is good it - keeps your interest. The narration is excellent. Too bad the content could not keep up.
If you are considering reading this book here's my advice, if you've not yet read Born to Run, read it and skip this book. If you've already read Born to Run, read it again and skip this book - you will get nothing new.
- Hugh Bouchelle