These Born to Run Quotes describe the beautiful and brutal sides of running in all it’s different forms.
Trained as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, Christopher McDougall covered wars in Rwanda and Angola before writing his international bestseller, “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.”
Christopher McDougall is a 1985 graduate of Harvard University and his fascination with the limits of human potential led him to create the Outside magazine web series, “Art of the Hero.”
Born to Run Quotes
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
“Don’t fight the trail. Take what it gives you.”
“If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.”
“You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.”
“We’ve got a motto here-you’re tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.”
“The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other,…but to be with each other.”
“Ask nothing from your running, and you’ll get more than you ever imagined!”
“Perhaps all our troubles – all the violence, obesity, illness, depression, and greed we can’t overcome – began when we stopped living as Running People. Deny your nature, and it will erupt in some other, uglier way.”
“…there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love *running*. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got, being patient and forgiving and… undemanding…maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other.”
“But you can’t muscle through a five-hour run that way; you have to relax into it like easing your body into a hot bath, until it no longer resists the shock and begins to enjoy it.”
“There’s something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure. We run when we’re scared, we run when we’re ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time.”
Running and Suffering
“Suffering is humbling. It pays to know how to get your butt kicked.”
“Lisa Smith-Batchen, the amazingly sunny and pixie-tailed ultrarunner from Idaho who trained through blizzards to win a six-day race in the Sahara, talks about exhaustion as if it’s a playful pet. ‘I love the Beast,’ she says. ‘I actually look forward to the Beast showing up, because every time he does, I handle him better. I get him more under control.’
Once the Beast arrives, Lisa knows what she has to deal with and can get down to work. And isn’t that the reason she’s running through the desert in the first place-to put her training to work? To have a friendly little tussle with the Beast and show it who’s boss?
You can’t hate the Beast and expect to beat it; the only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it.”
Running and Evolution
“If you don’t think you were born to run you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are.”
“Only recently have we come up with the technology to turn lazing around into a way of life. We’ve taken our sinewy, durable, hunter-gatherer bodies and plunked them into an artificial world of leisure.”
“Shoes block pain, not impact! Pain teaches us to run comfortably! From the moment you start going barefoot, you will change the way you run.”
Running and Tribes
“The Hopis consider running a form of prayer; they offer every step as a sacrifice to a loved one, and in return ask the Great Spirit to match their strength with some of his own.”
“That was the real secret of the Tarahumara: they’d never forgotten what it felt like to love running. They remembered that running was mankind’s first fine art, our original act of inspired creation.
Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain. And when our ancestors finally did make their first cave paintings, what were the first designs? A downward slash, lightning bolts through the bottom and middle–behold, the Running Man.
Distance running was revered because it was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn’t live to love anything else. And like everyhing else we ove–everything we sentimentally call our ‘passions’ and ‘desires’ it’s really an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run. We’re all Running People, as the Tarahumara have always known.”
“The Tarahumara would party like this all night, then rouse themselves the next morning to face off in a running race that could last not two miles, not two hours, but two full days. According to the Mexican historian Francisco Almada, a Tarahumara champion once ran 435 miles, the equivalent of setting out for a jog in New York City and not stopping till you were closing in on Detroit.”
“Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it efforthless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long, that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one – you get those three, and you’ll be fast.”
“Nearly all runners do their slow runs too fast, and their fast runs too slow.” Ken Mierke says. “So they’re just training their bodies to burn sugar, which is the last thing a distance runner wants. You’ve got enough fat stored to run to California, so the more you train your body to burn fat instead of sugar, the longer your limited sugar tank is going to last.”
-The way to activate your fat-burning furnace is by staying below your aerobic threshold–your hard-breathing point–during your endurance runs.”
“You’ll automatically lock into perfect form–you’ll be up on your forefeet, with your back erect, head steady, arms high, elbows driving, and feet touching down quickly on the forefoot and kicking back toward your butt.”
You can’t run uphill powerfully with poor biomechanics,” Eric explained.”
“Relax enough, and your body becomes so familiar with the cradle-rocking rhythm that you almost forget you’re moving. And once you break through to that soft, half-levitating flow, that’s when the moonlight and champagne show up: “You have to be in tune with your body, and know when you can push it and when to back off,” Ann would explain.
You have to listen closely to the sound of your own breathing; be aware of how much sweat is beading on your back; make sure to treat yourself to cool water and a salty snack and ask yourself, honestly and often, exactly how you feel.
What could be more sensual than paying exquisite attention to your own body? Sensual counted as romantic, right?”
Born to Run Quotes: The Book
Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.
Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it.
Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence.
With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.
With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons.
Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
“Just move your legs. Because if you don’t think you were born to run, you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are.”