Born to Run – Bean Sprouts Book Club – December

Bean Sprouts Book Club

The Bean Sprouts book club is by the people, for the people. We are a collective of outdoor minded, adventure ready runners. Every two months, we will select, read and discuss a book that relates to running, fitness and/or wellness. At the Bean Sprouts book club, there are no right or wrong answers, just budding seeds of hope and inspiration!


Date/Time: 5:00 PM PST (8:00 PM EST), December 20th, 2020
Book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Zoom: Link / Password: 023159

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

“An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?

Isolated by Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.” -Amazon

Seven Bean Sprouts voted to read Born to Run in December. Should be a fun time. Published in 2009, Born to Run will be fascinating to read 11 years later. Born to Run has a major motivational appeal – many runners attribute it to inspiring them to run ultras, and the book also made concepts like barefoot running mainstream.

Discussion Questions

Please post any discussion question suggestions in the comments!

  1. Born to Run is McDougall’s journey to become a healthier and faster athlete. What practices and philosophies does he promote?
  2. Did you find any significant faults or weaknesses in McDougall’s arguments and assertions?
  3. Have you attempted to change your running form or barefoot running? If so, why? What was the process and outcome?
  4. Easy, light, smooth, fast is a mantra repeated in this book. What mantras do you use in running?
  5. On page 253, McDougall compares different mental approaches to racing, asserting that runners who are selfless and think of others are better runners than those who try to disassociate running with music or other thoughts. Do you agree?
  6. This book came out 11 years ago. How has the running world and community responded to this book? What holds up? Does anything seem outdated?
  7. What are your reflections on the 30 for 30 documentary, The Infinite Race?
  8. What insights about the Tarahumara did you gain from the documentary? How does their depiction differ in the book compared to the documentary?

Future Exploration

Future Books

Please leave any future book suggestions in the comments! Under consideration:

Past Books

  • Oct. 2020: Breath by James Nestor

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. JP

    How Can/should the topics of the book change what I do as a runner on a daily basis? Footwear? Training style? Workout types?

    How has footwear changed since the publishing of the book? Immediate aftermath? Current trends?

  2. Garrett

    A potential follow-on to Born to Run could be Running with the Kenyans. It looks at more of the holistic cultural factors contributing to Kenyan running dominance rather than just a few single variables like evolutionary theories or barefoot running.

  3. Brandon Chase

    – How many people mentioned in the book were familiar to you the first time you read it (if you did so when it first came out)? And now?

    – Am I the only one who thought for the longest time that Caballo Blanco and Barefoot Ted were the same person (until re-reading)?

    – Are Vibram 5 Fingers finally dead or just getting started?

    – Did you know that Caballo Blanco died just a couple of years after the book came out while on a run?

    – Has anyone participated in or thought of running the Ultra Trail Caballo Blanco?

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