Ready to Run
Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally
Author: Dr. Kelly Starrett with T.J. Murphy
Where to get: Amazon
Who should read: Runners. Athletes. Anyone who is serious about any form of athletics or movement and wants to get the most out of their body and prevent injuries. Those who want to be running well into their 70s, 80s, or even beyond, and don’t want their bodies to wear out prematurely. Sports medicine practitioners who want to learn more about mobility and how they can help their patients to be healthier and perform better.
Who shouldn’t read: The sedentary individual (they have more basic issues to address first before working on unsticking their heel cords). The person who would rather go to a sports medicine specialist 2-3x/week for life than do the work on their own. This book is not for everyone. The methods in it require a commitment to one’s own body. Many of the techniques and methods in it are not the most comfortable, and some are outright painful. Without a commitment to doing what needs to be done, and doing it every day, you won’t get the benefits of this book.
Overall idea: Running shouldn’t hurt. We are a species that is designed to be able to run long distances every single day without pain or breakdowns in our bodies. Very few of us, even elite runners, can do this. The body is adaptable, but everybody has breaking points. To avoid pain, and ultimately to keep from falling apart, we need to prepare our bodies to be able to run correctly. And then each day, we need to do maintenance care on our bodies to keep our bodies moving well.
If you’ve spent any time around the running community, you will understand that running through pain and injuries is a major part of the game. Maybe you’re a runner yourself and have experienced it first-hand. Or maybe you’re a sports medicine practitioner and have dealt with trying to help these athletes. Either way, for most runners, it’s oftentimes not about if anything’s hurting, but what is hurting.
The mental toughness to endure pain and suffering is certainly commendable, although sometimes it can turn pathological. Sometimes finishing the race or setting a PR gets in the way of our health and what’s best for our bodies. Does it really have to be this way? Do we really have to choose performance or health? Is that just the nature of the beast, or is there a better way of doing things?
The human body is designed to run for long periods of time, pain-free, every single day. So why do we modern humans struggle with pain and injury even during short runs? The answer is improper biomechanics and unhealthy tissues. Our daily lives, beginning in grade school and continuing the rest of our lives, usually involves sitting in a chair for most of the day. Whether it’s a chair at work, or a seat on our means of transportation (car/bus/train/plane), or the La-Z-boy at home, we are constantly in a flexed position. This shortens our tissues, makes us move around like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, and ensures not only that we aren’t able to perform at our best, but also that we end up wearing out our bodies in the process.
Dr. Kelly Starrett’s Ready to Run is the answer to this issue. While he certainly can’t take you out of the office and change your entire daily lifestyle, he does give you the tools to combat some of these issues, keep your body out of pain, and be able to perform at your best. This book isn’t designed to teach you how to run correctly, but instead, to prepare your body to even be able to run correctly, and then what you need to do to maintain it.
But as someone who’s spent a decade studying and practicing this stuff, I can tell you that it’s not a simple subject to approach or teach to others. But somehow, as he’s so good at doing, Kelly Starrett manages to break through the complexity of human physiology and biomechanics to deliver a program and a set of steps that can be performed by anyone.
Starrett breaks being “ready to run” down into 12 steps, or “standards”. Essentially the more of these standards that you can pass, the more likely you are to be able to run pain-free and without creating injuries. And if you are able to eventually pass all 12 standards, you not only will be protecting your body from wearing out and decreasing pain and injuries, but you most likely will also increase your performance levels as well.
The 12 standards presented all aim to address one or more of the following categories: lifestyle errors, mobility problems, positional problems, or movement problems. Starrett looks at everything from hip extension, to being able to jump and land correctly, to using correct postures in your daily life, to staying hydrated.
What makes Ready to Run such a valuable resource is not only the identification of these standards, but the fact that there are step-by-step directions of how to assess where you’re currently at, and then what you need to do to achieve each of these standards. There is even a 28-day program that gives you day-by-day instructions on what to do and how to do it.
It can be really tough to teach this information to people through a written format because so much of it is learned best visually. Starrett does a great job of including hundreds of photos to help you to know whether or not you’re doing things correctly and what you should be looking for.
Ready to Run is not only a blueprint for how to create an efficient running machine, it’s also a manual for being able to effectively perform maintenance on yourself. Although it doesn’t address every joint or region of the body, you can take the principles and the techniques in this book and apply them to any area of the body and your own personal problem areas.
Whether you’re a hardcore runner, a weekend warrior, an athlete in a sport that involves running, a sports medicine practitioner, or anybody who’s interested in learning more about the body and how it should work, you won’t be disappointed with this book. There’s a reason why we read and watch everything that Kelly Starrett puts out, and Ready to Run is another great example of it. If you’re interested in getting the book, click on the link at the top or the book picture above.
As always, we love to hear from you guys. Let us know what your thoughts are on Ready to Run, or if you have any suggestions for other books that you think that we should check out!
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