A couple of months ago, DPMR member Kari Brandt was giving away a few running related books. I hadn’t read any of them and thought that they would be great books to have as part of the book of the month series. I will also happily pass them along afterwards! So for this month, I read Scott Jurek’s Eat & Run. I had really enjoyed reading North a few years ago and I had put Eat & Run on my to-read lists. For some reason, I was worried of not enjoying Eat & Run as much, kind of not wanting to watch the sequel of a movie (even though that one came first!), but I am very glad I finally started it, and it didn’t take long for me to devour it.
I tend to really enjoy memoirs as I find them inspiring and motivating. They also have a lot of learnings that I can transcribe to my personal life, even when the author feels like they live a quite different life than I do. I think of them in my own runs and pull a bit of strength from them. This was definitely the case for this book, and several of the quotes still resonate on my mind.
Learning about Scott Jurek’s childhood was mind opening. Sometimes I wonder if you need to have grown up with trauma or hardship to become a champion, which was a question that Adharanand Finn also brought up in The rise of the ultra runners.
Out of Scott Jurek’s childhood, came a quote from his father, “Sometimes you just do things“, which he has used to keep going when things get tough and everything else tells you to stop. I assume the simplicity is useful as it prevents you to ponder on the “why” which can sometimes be hard to find. The quote comes back throughout the book at some critical moments when he had to push through hard patches (that most of us would just consider insurmountable). The power of will that is described in this book is incredible. I had that feeling reading North, actually a mixed feeling of being unsure if it was awesome or crazy.
As the title suggests, the book has an important focus on nutrition. In particular, Scott Jurek describes the evolution of his relationship with food over the years as he became vegetarian, then vegan and experienced with eating (mostly) raw. He connects that with the evolution of his fitness and ability to recover. He also shows how he has been able to get all nutrients to feed his demanding training regiment and provides easy to follow vegan recipes (though the list of spices and ingredients can be intimidating).
He also sprinkles some bits of advice on training theory. I found these to connect less seamlessly with the flow of the book, though I still found the content to be interesting.