Sunday, 14 October 2012

Eat and Run, Scott Jurek

I've finally got around to reviewing Eat and Run by Scott Jurek. It's taken me an age to read and I'm not sure why because it's excellent. The trouble is I've had too much else to read at the same time (magazine subscriptions, blogs etc.)

Scott Jurek is an Ultrarunning legend and also a strict vegan which I am not. With this being the case, I was a little apprehensive starting the book and that I would be bombarded with recipes and a biased view of the vegetarian diet...but fear not, the book is an autobiography with more stories than recipes and while Scott presents his case for a vegetarian diet, he does not ram this down the readers throat.

In fact in the beginning there was nothing Scott loved more than a burger and even in the early stages of his crossover to the vegan diet still used to have the odd Chicken sandwich from McDonald's. The reasons behind Scott's change to a vegan diet are purely down to how he performed so much better on the diet rather than ethical reasons. He is very passionate about the subject though and does inspire the reader to consider some of the benefits of the diet.

The book is full of memoirs from Scott's many racing achievements from winning classic Ultra races such as the 100 mile Western States, the 131 mile Badwater and the 152 mile Spartathlon. The accounts are well written and you feel like you're running with Scott as he recites the pain and hallucinations he encounters on these races...Actually it didn't feel like I was running with Scott because most the time I was reading this from my snug bed and not going through the horrendous conditions that Scott endures.

The race memoirs are truly inspirational as also is the chronicles from his difficult childhood with a mother crippled by multiple sclerosis and a strict father. Clearly a reason Scott uses his running as escapism (Well don't we all!)

At the end of each chapter you either get a recipe or a nugget of Scott's training tips. The training tips are great, the recipes, a little fussy. As I said earlier I am not a vegetarian. I totally respect other peoples reasons and views on the subject but at this stage of my life, I will not and have no reason to give up meat.

I am a firm believer in the food chain and the benefits from eating meat, but that's not to say Scott's book does not give food for thought (forgive the pun!). Along with this book, I've recently listened to the latest Talk Ultra podcast (number 19) where there is an interview with Sports scientist Barry Murray who talks about the 'Caveman diet' or Paleo diet as it is also known. I've also attended a talk with a Premiership sports nutritionist who is also an advocate of this diet.
I'm really interested in nutrition and the Paleo diet is something that strongly appeals to me. This basically consists of eating as our ancestors did: meat, vegetables, nuts and fruit. No grains or pasta just as nature intended and not a Lucozade sport in sight!!!
I've read quite a few running books and this is right up there with my favourites. Don't worry if you are not a vegan or ultrarunner; two things that I am not, this book is inspirational and well worth a read.

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