Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally
by Kelly Starrett with T.J. Murphy
I thought I was in decent shape having qualified for the Boston Marathon just six weeks ago. Dr. Kelly Starrett shattered that illusion pretty quickly. It turns out I’m kind of a wreck. That hip/groin thing that ‘mostly hurts when I run’, that nagging knot in my right calf, and the pain on the top of my foot are all indicators of underlying problems that could end my running career before I even make it to Boston in 2016.
Dr. Starrett’s movement and mobility philosophy is founded on two guiding principles.
- All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.
- If you feel pain during or after moving, then what you were doing was not functional movement.
As athletes, we are willing to throw all kinds of money at cures. We hire experts, we visit doctors, we buy gear and equipment, we ingest pills, we’ll stop at almost nothing to feel healthy again and return to the sport we love. Dr. Starrett believes that in most cases, we’re wasting our money.
In Ready to Run, Starrett introduces 12 standards that every healthy athlete should be able to meet. The standards make up a simple 12-part test to determine where your weak spots are. Weak spots lead to overcompensation, which leads to injury. I’ll admit that I had trouble meeting most of these standards. Not good.
The standards range from the difficult (squats, ankle range of motion) to the easy (hydration, flat shoes). It will require patience and perseverance to conquer all of them. Each standard should be routinely measured and assessed until satisfied.
The next section of the book deals with mobility work. Mobility work (not stretching) is used to specifically target those areas where you had trouble meeting a standard. They will unglue areas of restriction and compromised tissue and help you regain full mobility.
These mobility exercises are not for the faint of heart. As Dr. Starrett says in the video above, you’ll have to put on your big boy, or big girl pants for five minutes. You’ll learn fun new terms like smashing and flossing while gnashing your teeth.
In Chapter 18, you’ll find out how to attack some of the more common injuries like plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome, and shin splints. With regular standards testing and mobility work, runners will enjoy running faster and further with less pain and injury.