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'Born to Run 2' teaches long-distance runners how to run free

Christopher McDougall is shown in an undated photo from the book "Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide."
Mahinahokukauikamoana Choy-Ellis
Penguin Random House
Christopher McDougall is shown in an undated photo from the book "Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide."

In 2009, journalist Christopher McDougall wrote his book "Born to Run" after hearing about runners from the Mexican Tarahumara — or Rarámuri — tribe competing in an American ultramarathon. McDougall then followed them back to Mexico's Copper Canyon and ran a 50 mile footrace with the Rarámuri, all while attempting to learn how they ran so far, so effortlessly.

He also wanted to understand why as a runner himself he was plagued by injuries.

Thirteen years after its publication, McDougall has joined forces with coach Eric Orton — who appears in the first book — to co-author a follow-up, "Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide."


"At the time I wrote 'Born to Run', I was writing it from the perspective of an injured ex-runner who had been sort of coached back to health by this traditional lifestyle approach. But I didn't have enough miles on the vehicle to know if it really worked. And now, 15 years later, I can look back and see, yeah, that approach really worked, and I thought it was time to share with other people," said McDougall.

The book cover of "Born to Run 2" is shown.
Courtesy of Penguin Random House
The book cover of "Born to Run 2" is shown.

Unlike the first book, the sequel takes the form of a more practical training guide. It's peppered with narratives and photography that both highlight individuals who've found purpose and joy in their running — as well as the nuts and bolts of how to master running the "run free" form.

In 2009, "Born to Run" challenged the idea that more cushioning in running shoes — and the ever-growing running gear industry — held the key to fewer injuries and better performance.

"I think a major revelation for me was something that coach Eric Orton told me at the very beginning, and to me it was a revelation but looking back it should have been so obvious. He says, if you change the behavior, you change the outcome," McDougall said. "Most of us are always looking for a patch or a fix or a product."

After he ran a 50-mile footrace in the punishing Copper Canyons of Mexico with the Rarámuri, McDougall wanted to share the group's remarkable running capabilities, often done wearing thin sandals or barefoot.


"Running is not the shoes on your feet. It's not about the watch that you're monitoring. It's all about how you are physically moving your body. You learn to move your body differently, and you will run better, and more happily and with fewer injuries," McDougall said.

But if the book inspired new runners to try to start running, or retool their form after injuries, there wasn't much in the way of practical instruction.

"After 'Born to Run' came out, a lot of people felt, OK we'll just buy a minimal shoe, and that will solve our problems. Then we'll run like ancient people. But Eric [Orton] always said, it's never about the shoes. It's about the running form. It's about how you move your body. That is the secret to running success."

To empower those inspired by the first book but not sure how to proceed, "Born to Run 2" includes training guides, recipes, shoe recommendations and step-by-step (no pun intended) instructions on running form and strength exercises.

"I think run form is kind of the big foundation. In the book, we talk about how we can really fix your run form in five minutes. And it's so easy to learn," Orton said.

The technique is this: Stand in front of a wall, listen to the song "Rock Lobster" by the B-52s, and run in place barefoot to the beat of the music.

"Just doing that simple exercise, you're going to know how to strike the ground, where to strike the ground and have perfect form in a matter of five minutes."

Orton curated a "Run Free Playlist" for the book that also includes some other music options, each around 90 beats per minute. The Ramones' "Listen to My Heart," Taylor Swift's "ME," Emmylou Harris' cover of "Born to Run" and The Beatles' "Help" are also suggested.

McDougall and Orton will hold a virtual author event with Warwick's at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022.

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'Born to Run 2': Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton

This event is in the past.
Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 4 PM
Warwick's presents: Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton, authors of "Born to Run 2" in a free, virtual event on Facebook Live.RSVP here.Buy the book here.From the bookstore:On Tuesday, December 6 at 4 p.m. PST Warwick's will host Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton as they discuss their new book, "Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide." Christopher McDougall covered wars in Rwanda and Angola as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press before writing his best-selling book "Born to Run". His fascination with the limits of human potential led to his next works, "Running with Sherman" and "Natural Born Heroes", and his Outside magazine web series, “Art of the Hero.” Eric Orton’s experiences with the Tarahumara and his study of running, human performance, strength, and conditioning have led him to the cutting edge of the sport and made him a go-to for athletes everywhere. The author of "The Cool Impossible" and former fitness director for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Orton personally trains athletes from recreational racers to elite ultramarathoners. He lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.From the best-selling author and renowned coach duo from "Born to Run," a fully illustrated, practical guide to running for everyone from amateurs to seasoned runners, about how to eat, race, and train like the world's best.Whether you're ramping up for a race or recuperating from an injury, "Born to Run 2" is a holistic program for runners of every stripe that centers on seven key themes: food, fitness, form, footwear, focus, fun, and family.The guide contains:On-the run recipes for race-ready nutritionTraining regimen to help get you in shape and achieve your running goalsCorrective drills to perfect your formHelpful shoe recommendationsAdvice about how to bring more joy into runningSuggestions for finding a running communityChristopher McDougall and Eric Orton bring all the elements together into an integrated action plan - the 90-Day Run Free training schedule - that provides everything you need to prepare for a mile-long fun run or a 100-mile ultramarathon. Full of helpful illustrations and full-color photos of the iconic first Copper Canyons race, Born to Run 2 is the perfect training companion for anyone who wants to get inspired about the sport again and learn the proven techniques to run smoother, lighter, and swifter.