“Eat and Run” by Scott Jurek (Book Review)

Sept. 23, 2013: I have now read “Eat and Run” more times than I am willing to admit. Each time I get something new out of the book and simply cannot recommend it enough! 

Recently I read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall which follows a cast of American ultrarunners as they travel to the Copper Canyons to race against (and learn about) the Tarahumara Indians.

The Tarahumara are tribe of super-runners who can go for days without rest while maintaining perfect form and serene happiness.

One of the American ultrarunners in the book is Scott Jurek who has competed in and won many ultra races while setting American and world records. If anyone could beat the Tarahumara in an ultra race, it was believed that Scott was the one who could do it.

Scott Jurek racing against the Tarahumara

Scott racing against the Tarahumara. Image courtesy of Chris Mcdougall.

After reading “Born to Run” I wanted to learn more about Scott so I immediately downloaded his book called Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon GreatnessI zipped through the pages of Scott’s book in two nights!

“Eat and Run” Review:

The book starts out by documenting how Scott got into running and who helped him along the way. It then goes on to detail out many of his most famous ultramarathons in great detail.

While I’m far from an ultrarunner (my longest distance so far is only 5 miles) this book was ridiculously inspiring. I love how Scott goes into depth on how he carries on in races (and in some case wins them while setting new records) all while thinking he might not be able to make it another step.

Scott Jurek

Scott Jurek. Image courtesty of Scott Jurek’s Facebook Page.

On Thursday when I went out on my little thirty minute run around the neighborhood I couldn’t help but think of Scott running a full ultramarathon with a sprained ankle. If he could that, couldn’t I just carry on for one more mile? Or what about when Scott ran through Death Valley’s 130 degree weather to set a new record? Is my 90 degree weather really that bad?

Here are just a few of my favorite excerpts from “Eat and Run”:

  • Next time you’re running, count the times your right foot strikes the ground in 20 seconds. Multiply by three and you’ll have your stride per minute. Speed up until you’re running at 85 to 90 strides per minute. Short, light, quick steps will minimize impact force and keep you running longer, safer.
  • Run for 20 minutes and you’ll feel better. Run another 20 and you might tire. Add on 3 hours and you’ll hurt but keep going and you’ll see — and hear and smell and taste — the world with vividness that will make your former life pale.
  • The true ultrarunner must  endure sleep deprivation and complete muscle fatigue. Only then can he or she ‘find energy after the fuel is gone.’
  • People always ask me what I think about when running so far for so many hours. Random thinking is the enemy of the ultramarathoner. Thinking is best used for the primitive essentials: when I ate last, the distance to the next aid station, the location of the competition, my pace. Other than these considerations, the key is to become immersed in the present moment where nothing else matters.
  • You can trail, and despair, and screw up, and despair more, and there’s almost always another chance. Salvation is always within reach.
  • There’s so much more I could include on this list – I highlighted so many different areas of “Eat and Run” in my Kindle.

Whether you’re a beginning runner, marathoner or ultrarunner, buying “Eat and Run” will be one of the best $10 you’ll spend. The book can really be summed up in three words: inspirational, motivational and educational.

Scott ends each chapter with a lesson and/or a favorite recipe which is a really nice touch.

I cannot recommend “Eat and Run” enough!

I’m now reading “Running with the Kenyans” and will post a review when I’m done!

What are your favorite books about running? Leave me a comment so I can check them out!