Claire, the editor of Trail Running magazine was kind enough to send me a copy of Christopher McDougall’s new book, ‘Natural Born Heroes’ a few weeks back. The story is based around the adventures of several World War II heroes, working to thwart Nazi progress on the island of Crete, but that’s all I’ll say about the story. I’m not really qualified to review a piece of literature, so if you enjoy a good story, and don’t mind some simplified scientific ideas, then grab it, read it and just enjoy it.
Having said that, I’ve slowly trundled my way through it, enjoying the story unfold and even more importantly picking out the nuggets of wisdom that are hidden in the book. In true McDougall style the book meanders around a main story and repeatedly bounces backwards and forwards, giving an insight into movement efficiency and feeling that movement.
Now, the following is a real short summary of the key points McDougall brings up:
- Learn to move efficiently. As humans we evolved to move quickly over lots of different terrain and doing it using muscle power isn’t necessarily the best way of achieving an end goal. I mentioned this in an earlier post and it was nice to see some evidence based writing to back it up.
- Learn to burn fat as fuel. Fad diets aside, this makes perfect sense just based on the energy content of fat per gram.
- Train to be useful. This is probably the best bit and in short… Don’t specialise and be adaptable. Go for a training run, but throw in a climb or two along the way, pick a route where you have to climb and jump around and learn that all important lesson. Trust your instinct and let your body instictively workout what it needs to do, including feeling and hydration.
So, is the book worth a read?
The answer is yes.
Is the book a manual on how to be a heroe or preach about barefoot running, diet change or any of the above billet point?
No. It mentions them in the context of what the main characters of the book achieved and how they managed it, despite a diet and hydration plan that according to today’s thinking should have caused their death beiges they started.
I’ve finished the book, it was given to me for free and so it needs a new home and this is how it’s new home will be chosen. All you have to do is say why the book should make its way to you next by commenting here, on barefootlejog’s Facebook page or tweet @fat_man_runs with the #barefootlejog.
Best comment gets a free book 😉