Born to Run: Could Running Shoes Be Causing Injuries?

Born to Run is an epic true story of Christopher McDougall’s journey deep into the dangerous Copper Canyon of Chihuahua in Mexico where he finds a mystical tribe of men called the Tarahumara. Also known as the Raramuri – translated as “The Running Men” – the tribe are known for their incredible running endurance. These people have the ability to cover more than 200 miles over two days as they travel from settlement to settlement.

In this captivating story, McDougall meets Caballo Blanco aka Micah True, a man with a mysterious past who lives alongside the Tarahumara. It’s Caballo’s dream to put on an epic race in the Copper Canyon, pitting the world’s greatest ultrarunners against the Tarahumara on their home turf.

It’s an exhilarating and sometimes hilarious read that combines travel writing with sport science.

McDougall’s adventure actually began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? Statistics show that the runners in the world today are almost certain to injure themselves on an annual basis. Has it always been this way? If not, why not? And how do the Tarahumara manage to run so much without getting injured? Are humans born to run?

Born to Run explains that the human body has anatomical features present in running animals like Achilles tendons, large gluteal muscles, and foot arches.

Along with the Tarahumara, tribes in Africa are known to partake in what’s termed as persistence hunting. They literally chase an animal for hours on end until the animal eventually collapses from heat exhaustion. And they do all this without the use of modern footwear, wearing basic homemade sandals.

McDougall explains that the mass promotion of jogging in the 1970s by Nike and their subsequent sales in cushioned running shoes led runners to adapt their running technique by landing on their bony heel instead of their thick pad of midfoot fat. With scientists arguing that the heel is meant only for standing and not running, it could be that the shock of repetitive heel-striking is the reason for most modern-day running injuries.

A long time ago after multiple running injuries, I decided that running wasn’t fun enough to get injured for. With the current popularity of minimalist/barefoot shoes, it could be worth investing in a pair and giving it another go. Especially if we are in fact born to run.

Power Hour: The Importance of the First 60 Minutes Everyday

Power Hour is a book by Adrienne Herbert, a modern fitness ambassador who also hosts the weekly Power Hour podcast. From her writing it seems that she is a highly motivated, organized and productive individual. In her book she writes that the birth of the “Power Hour” was in 2017 when she accepted an invitation to run a marathon for the first time after already having a packed schedule of other commitments. The only way she could find the time to train was to wake up earlier and to go on training runs as soon as she woke up.

Herbert explains that it doesn’t make a huge difference whether the power hour is before the crack of dawn or towards the end of the morning, as long as it’s the first hour upon waking. This is the hour that should be assigned a task that will propel us forward in some way. It could be doing a work out, journaling, or writing the book we’ve always wanted to. It could even be a combination of things.

Although the book is very basic in terms of the level of its ideas, it is very effective in getting the reader to think about whether their current habits are working for or against them, and how to change them if they need changing. There’s actionable exercises in the book to reconsider purpose and to dream up goals.

If you knew this was your last year what would you start doing right now?

It asks thoughtful daily questions like “Who would love to hear from me today?” and “How can I have more fun today?” It also invites us to define our goals, and then think of potential blockers in the path towards them.

The beauty of the power hour is that the new habit we choose is anchored to a task that we do every single day – waking up. What’s more, we end up finishing a task that is important to our wellness and long-term future before we have even considered breakfast! Doing something that we know is good for us so early sets us up perfectly to make good choices for the rest of the day.

Sometimes a book like this is the perfect medicine when we find ourselves snoozing the alarm everyday because of the lack of motivation and clarity in which direction to go in life.