Sweating and running, that was our edge in the evolutionary arms race. Our ability to run at a consistent pace for long distances, and to regulate our temperature through sweating, played a critical role in our survival as a species.
Humans - slow, weak, and lacking natural weapons like claws and teeth - could doggedly pursue animals to exhaustion under the merciless African sun. Whether we were escaping predators, tracking down, and hunting animals. moving to a new landscape with fresh foraging, relaying a message to a neighboring village, or playing games in the form of sport, WE RAN.
Our ability to run allowed us to not only survive but also to thrive. So if someone says they are built to run, they are just connecting to a fundamental truth of our species.
Although running is no longer essential to our survival, it doesn't change the fact that our bodies are designed to do it. However, numerous studies indicate that roughly 85% of the 44 million recreational and competitive runners in the US succumb to injury, so if we are designed to run, what's all with all the injuries?
A lot of the blame can be attributed to the shoe industry, founded on bad ideas and a victim of its own success. But that isn't the root of the problems. The issue at the heart of all running-related injuries is mechanics.
Instead of moving as our bodies are intended to and working with the laws of nature, we work against them. Most of us assume that running is a natural instinct and so requires no training. As a result, athletes rarely consider that improper technique is to blame for their injuries.
People born into running cultures, such as the Tarahumara of Mexico or the high-altitude of Ethiopians or Kenyans, get a natural indoctrination. In our own culture, running plays a very small role in daily life; some people might dash across an intersection occasionally or even get on a padded treadmill at the gym, but that's about it. Running needs to be taught to the average person, even, as hard as it may be to hear, to the average runner.