Whether you have read it or not, chances are that you have at least heard about Born to Run, Christopher McDougall’s first book which remains the No. 1 running title of all time (according to his website). The book initiated the revolution of Barefoot running (but also its backlashes such as the class action lawsuit against Vibram). I read that book –maybe I’ll have it as book of the month someday– as I was first starting to get into running. I really liked the story and the concept of natural running, even if some of the scientific discussions sometimes rubbed my desire for a more thorough research approach to validating hypothesis scientific self the wrong way ;-). I did get onto the Vibram train, and loved the minimalist running feel, completing several road half marathons in Vibram and several road Marathons in New Balance’s Minimus racing flats (which have long been discontinued). I have since read and loved Running with Sherman (and you should read Maggie’s highlight) and was really intrigued to hear about the “sequel” of Born to Run 2.
This is not exactly a sequel and, first of all, not a novel like Christopher McDougall’s previous books. It reads more like a training guide (duh it’s in the subtitle!!) with strong opinions and advice about running form, nutrition, shoes as well as a training plan. One of the highlights was on keeping running feeling playful and joyful, which I couldn’t agree more with.
I found the “movement snacks” to be useful suggestions for people to include drills and improve running form or cadence, while making it fun.
The section on nutrition had me a bit more skeptical, especially with all the research on the importance of carbohydrates for endurance performance, in particular for women as discussed by Dr. Stacy Sims and the risk to have the foods from the “two week test” be generalized into “good” and “bad” food.
The section on shoes is quite moderate. It provides a strong endorsement for Altra because of their wide toe box and zero-drop but also suggests different options depending on people’s running terrain and experience.
If you’ve enjoyed Born To Run, you’ll happily hear back from the different characters and have lots of reminders about the story. And if you haven’t read it, maybe that will be the last push you needed to go pick up that book! As expected with the sequel of a best seller, the publication of the book has drawn a fair amount of attention and you can find other book discussions in Trail Runner Mag or UltraSignupNews.