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Do PaleoHackers and the general public ever try to emulate the long distance adventures of the Mexican Indians?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 03, 2011 at 1:00 AM

At the risk of opening up another firestorm about running, marathoning, & triathalons, there is Chris McDougal that presents another, more primal view of using our legs while intertwining modern man's thirst for pushing the body in bipedal locomotion. It is nicely done. I do not know of him but thought his presentation was good.

http://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_mcdougall_are_we_born_to_run.html

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(19479)

on June 03, 2011
at 06:54 PM

Mutual inclusivity rather than exclusivity wins again!

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(10502)

on June 03, 2011
at 01:37 AM

@Dexter -- you have been a Paleohacker long enough now to better form your questions. I have edited the title for length -- please make your question more clear in the body. Thanks.

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on June 03, 2011
at 02:28 PM

I read Chris' book and loved it. Since then, I've started running in Vibrams (not a fan of broken glass or I'd go full barefoot) and have increased my max mileage from 3 to 10 miles. This is while running maybe once every week or two.

However, I don't think Crossfit is necessarily mutually exclusive with the theory of a running paleolith. Sure, we may have hunted via long jogs, but that doesn't encompass the only physical activity of ancient man. Gathering fire wood, plants, and water. Digging up tubers, sharpening rocks into spearheads, axes, and other tools. Fighting with other tribes or within tribes. Swimming to set up fishing nets. Wading thru rivers to spear fish.

I think the two theories are equally valid and better together.

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(19479)

on June 03, 2011
at 06:54 PM

Mutual inclusivity rather than exclusivity wins again!

3
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(19479)

on June 03, 2011
at 12:44 PM

I read Christopher McDougal's book "Born to Run" and he makes some convincing points. For example, we are the only primates with an Achilles tendon. The lack of an Achilles makes it impossible for other apes to run long distances because they cannot "recycle" the energy of their movements like we can. Also, we are one of the few animals that sweats and we lack a dense fur coat which suggests that we are designed to thermoregulate without needing to pant.

The lack of panting, combined with our upright posture (which disconnects the mechanics of our breathing from our movement, something quadrapedal animals cannot do as their stride/gait IS the primary mechanism of breathing in and out while running) seems to indicate that we are capable of running down the grazing animals that appeared in Africa around the same time that human species appeared.

As the jungle gave way to the grassland, ungulates showed up and it also just so happens that a human being can maintain a jog just fast enough to prevent an antelope from panting (i.e. thermoregulating) forcing it to gradually overheat. Persistence hunting has been documented in various tribes and there have even been some successful modern persistence hunts where packs of human runners isolated and exhausted an antelope before going upside its head with a rock or spear.

All of this ties back into the fact that we seem designed for moderate pace jogging/running moreso than any other animal. We also run long distances "for fun" which is also bizarre in the sense that other animals typically avoid such activities favoring sprints or slow marches as they move about.

This seems to conflict with the "energetic landscape" described by DeVany and Sisson, who seem to favor the paleolithic man as a Crossfitter type rather than a runner and personally I'm not sure where I stand on the issue as both sides seem to make good points.

It's all just interesting though and makes me realize that we will probably never "figure out" what exactly we are "supposed" to do. Thus, I do what feels good and makes me happy. The other week I did a charity 100 mile bike race (The 2011 Bike for MS Citrus Tour) and had an absolute blast, felt great and will happily do it again. Also, I did it while eating only paleo foods and almost no carbs and out-performed people with better bikes and more experience (this was my first actual bike race).

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