I got Born to Run 2 on sale on a whim and I’m glad I didn’t pay full price. This book gets judgey and inflexible; it does have some good looking recommendations for individual activities for training, and recipes for long run pre/post/mid run nutrition.
The book is a running guide book and it’s set up to follow a core group of people who run and their journeys to find a way to do so that works (naturally it’s the trainers who wrote/inspired the book’s). The other principle that the books uses for structure is the “Free Seven”: food, fitness, form, focus, footwear, fun, family. On the surface, this makes sense and in a very general way, I agree that these things do matter if you’re going to make running a big part of your life.
Here’s my problem: this is also a ‘my way or the highway’ sort of system. You must do what’s basically a glycemic cleanse for two weeks to get the food part started which means eliminating processed foods and sugars (ok, I’m with that) but also starchier natural foods like beans, sweeter citrus, whole grains, and quinoa. There are no allowances for things like being vegetarian or vegan; the recommended diet at least at first is obviously keto/paleo-based but the inflexibility of the plan contradicts statements like the goal of the cleanse is “not to ban any food or turn you into a zealot, but simplify the conversation between your brain and your belly.” This latter statement makes sense and I can see how that works, but this doesn’t work with statements like “Rule Number one for step number one. No lobbying (for hummus).” Granted, these are attributed to two different people but both end up following this (and loving it); thing is, I don’t think this would work for most people on account of being too extreme, and the example story actually doesn’t even go this far. I like most of the recipe ideas but not the plan they’re attached to.
The same problem happens with the overall training part; I like a lot of the strength and stretch exercises (although several are partner-based, making solo training people like me out of luck), but the emphasis on a very specific running style doesn’t work with the advice also given that everyone discovers their own way to run and that’s good; the former sadly is the dominant feeling, and it’s both off-putting by itself and does not work well with the “find your people” vibe that shows up later. I’d also say that if you’re going to be so strict about shoes (ideally bare-foot, if you must run in shoes, no more than 8mm drop- excluding almost all major brands) then you’d better have more science behind that assertion than you give. Just because one Indigenous group does it this way and it works, does not mean that this method works for the rest of the world so well.
I do appreciate the running with strollers and dogs sections, although neither apply to me. Really the most memorable part related to that is the example (mostly earlier in the book, but relevant here) of Batman the dog, who happens to be female.
For a guidebook that likes to pretend it’s open-minded, this one really is not, which is too bad since if you can ignore that off-putting vibe, then there’s some good bits in here.