Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: Ready To Run by Kelly Starrett

A couple of months ago, I discovered a new author by the name of Kelly Starrett. He had written a book a little over a year ago called Becoming A Supple Leopard and had earned a solid reputation in the fitness, crossfit, and athletic performance world through the book and his trainings on mobility. I discovered Dr. Starrett's books through a blog I found called The Art Of Manliness when looking up exercises to counteract the damage of sitting.

This post isn't about either Supple Leopards or The Art of Manliness, but I highly recommend you check out both. I'll probably end of writing about each at some later point, but for now I want to focus  on Ready To Run.

This book is an incredibly helpful text for runners at all levels. Here's a brief outline of why.

1) Starrett identifies some great strengths of runners (task completion, discipline, goal oriented lifestyle).

2) Starrett also identifies some great challenges for runners (poor mechanics, willingness to push through pain, and subsequent tendency toward running related injuries).

3) The book is divided into 12 performance standards that will help runners at all levels improve their performance and significantly reduce their risk of injury.

4) The author shares an array of mobility exercises that can restore function and range of motion to muscles used most while running.

Here's the basic facts. If you are a runner, chances are you have encountered injuries (plantar fascia, achilles tendon, knee and hip pain, etc.). Most of us, when we get injured, we don't take time to rehabilitate or correct what got us injured in the first place. Instead, we tend to run until we hurt ourselves worse, or, when forced by the degree of our injuries, we take time out, and aggressively work to get back on the road. What we fail to do is consistently discipline ourselves to working on mobility, strength, and addressing root causes of our injuries.

What Kelly does in his book is pretty straightforward. He equips runners with an array of tools to address alignment, mobility, and strength issues, and charts a path forward for runners to move toward running injury free. What I love most about his philosophy is that rather than recommending a quick fix (via shoes or orthotics) he encourages runners to address the underlying weaknesses and mobility issues that lead to injury in the first place. I've actually recommended it to a few folks this summer who were planning to run the 40th Marine Corps Marathon for Nuru, but injury has sidelined them and they are now planning to run the Marine Corps 10K instead.

If you love to run, I highly recommend Kelly's book. If you are currently an injured runner, or have been injured in the past, I recommend it even more highly. Why not start charting your path toward becoming a stronger runner on a firm foundation by working to increase your functional strength and range of motion as you recover?

The hardest part isn't buying or reading his book though. The hardest part is developing the discipline  to apply the strategies listed in the book to become a better runner. From mobility exercises to warm-ups and cool-downs, these tools take time to implement, but they are well worth it. Over the last couple of months I have noticed an improved foundation to my running by taking time to implement a mobility routine into my day.

May you also read, implement, and become more fully Ready To Run.

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