Born to Run 2

Title: Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide

Author: Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton

Completed: April 2023 (Full list of books)

Overview: This is the training guide I wish I had back in 2010 or whenever I really started getting into longer runs. I was living in Boise and started running a little farther into the foothills. After about a year, I had some minor knee and ankle issues so I looked for potential solutions. I started shortening my stride, landing on my forefoot, and increasing my cadence. This last one I accomplished by running through the foothills with a metronome app tick-tick-ticking in my pocket. I’m sure it annoyed everyone around me but it worked. This book would have saved me so much time researching and experimenting.

At this stage in my running, it is less useful. There is still a lot of good information in it and I will try some of the strengthening exercises, but now, I’m just running for fun. My form is good enough that (so far) I’ve been avoiding injuries. I’m running in shoes that are barely shoes. So I feel I’m running the way they recommend.

There were many fewer anecdotes about racers in this book than the first Born to Run. If you’re looking for more stories about wild people running amazing races on the edge of total disaster, the first book is the one for you. If you’re looking to get over an injury or improve your form, this is the book. They even offer a free training guide that connects with a phone app to help you learn. Finally, although I agree with most of the advise in the book, I’m not an expert in biomechanics. These things seem to have worked for me… but a lot of it sounds cult-y or like some late night infomercial. Probably worth a read for most runners and definitely worth it if you’re looking to change your running form.


  • Your running should feel Easy, Light, Smooth and, on fast days, Fast. If it doesn’t, you need to look under the hood.
  • That’s the bitter irony: endurance gave our brain the food it needed to create extraordinary technology, but now that technology is undermining our endurance.
  • To reboot your running and follow in Caballo Blanco’s footsteps, you just need to focus on these three goals: Flatten your Footwear. Quicken your Cadence. Find a Friend.
  • studies have shown that runners who bought shoes based on gait analysis are up to five times more likely to suffer an injury.
  • As beginners we go slow, thinking we’ll get faster as we get better. But that’s doing it backward: first, we need to develop raw speed, and that will give us the strength and skill to run longer.
  • Callie is Choctaw, and she remembered that her people looked at running as a prayer, not a punishment.
  • You’re always told to train your abdominal core but never your foot core, which is probably even more important.
  • she noticed that her legs hurt more on downhills than ups. That’s when it hit her: What if she treated the entire planet like a hill? Get up on her forefoot,
  • If you want to determine the top speed a runner can move and still have plenty of air, make them sing. To calibrate the next faster gear, increase the pace until they can barely talk. Ramp it up again, so they can only bark out a few words at a time.
  • Running fast can help autocorrect your biomechanics, he explained, while slow leads to sloppy.
  • study after study had shown that running shoes did nothing to prevent injuries or improve running performance. One withering report found that the more you paid for your shoes, the more likely you were to get injured. Nike’s own top scientist discovered that all the extra cushioning they were sticking in their shoes actually increased impact shock instead of reducing it.
  • Dr. Benno Nigg is co-director of the University of Calgary’s prestigious Human Performance Lab. Back in 1985, he floated the notion that maybe it was harmful for the foot to roll inward on landing, or pronate. Big Sneaks seized on the idea and flooded stores with Stability shoes. But in 2005, Benno recanted, calling the anti-pronation theory “completely wrong thinking” that led to “blunders in sport-shoe
  • four key features of natural footwear: 1) Wide toe box: no pinch on either side of your foot 2) Ample length: 1.5 inches of space past your longest toe 3) Low heel (or “Drop,” or “Heel-to-toe offset”) 4) Minimal cushioning (or “Stack Height”)
  • The Three-Day Rule was Chris’s yardstick: continuing to run when you know you won’t be able to walk for seventy-two hours means it’s time to question why you’re running in the first place. If it’s because you’ve got something to prove, then it’s only a matter of time before you get injured for real or quit for good.
  • Nothing makes a long run easier than breaking it into a bunch of mini-destinations.
  • Movement Snacks! Besides the selection we’ve included, Julie and Jared have plenty more movement snacks on their website. If you’re ever feeling a little blah and not in the mood for a run, grab a few friends and work through a Movement Snack selection.
  • By making them a team, it took just twelve days to transform guys who’d never do a workout into guys who’d never miss one.
  • the biomechanics: running with a jog stroller is a self-correcting running-form instructor, because it rewards a straight back, squared hips, steady cadence and short, consistent stride. Pushing (or pulling) a stroller teaches you to pitter-pat your feet and lead with your core.
  • Big events are dwindling, and smaller, local groups are on the rise. “The height of racing was ten years ago. People are now finding a greater sense of community and connection from running together, rather than racing,”
  • The No. 1 reason people join a group and consistently show up, it found, is “self-categorization”—seeing faces that look like yours.
  • Turn Out for Other Clubs: “We do Unity runs all over town,” Virginia says. “We’re running best-friends with Black Men Run, Black Girls Run, all kinds of different groups and causes.
  • Cesar handed the leashes to my daughter Sophie, who’s never owned a dog. He gave her a few pointers (head up, arms relaxed, stay in front, walk with purpose), and we began climbing a steep dirt trail. The dogs followed quietly until Sophie glanced back and pulled the leashes a little tauter. Immediately, the dogs began scattering.
  • Tightness is not a flexibility issue! “So many runners try to address tightness with stretching and yoga, but it’s really a tug and pull from muscle imbalances,” Eric says. “Stretching won’t help. But form and strength will change everything.”
  • You DO NOT want to foam roll or stretch the ITB. The ITB is a very thick fibrous band that can’t be stretched very well. Rolling just keeps it irritated.
This entry was posted in Lit Review, Running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Born to Run 2

  1. Marvin Freeman says:

    Thanks for the notes! Made this post very interesting and useful.


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