To be ‘Ready to Run’ we need an honest assessment of our health and mobility. We’ve already looked at the first 6 standards:
- Neutral feet
- Flat shoes
- A supple thoracic spine
- An efficient squatting technique
- Hip flexion
- Hip extension
Today it’s on to the ankles and then the all important warming-up & cooling down:
Standard 7: Ankle Range of Motion
There’s no mystery as to why our ankles need special attention but this turns out to be tough. Kelly Starret says meeting this standard may take some work and patience and so it is — with me at least.
Test #1 checks ‘plantar flexion’.
- Get into a kneeling position with your feet tucked under your legs.
- Both feet must be straight
- That’s it.
This first test was no problem for me but the second, which tests flexibility in the reverse direction, is much more of a challenge.
Test #2 focuses on ‘dorsiflexion’ and requires getting into the ‘pistol position’ — which is a full-flexion single leg squat.
- Stand with your feet together
- Drive you knees outward and go down into a squat
- Keep your heels on the floor
- Extend one leg into the pistol position (straight)
- Switch legs
You might find (like me) that you don’t have enough range through the ankle to get into this position. I can squat with a wide stance easily enough but having the feet together requires much more ‘dorseflexion’ than I currently have.
I assumed that everyone would find this standard difficult but Gold Coast resident and fitness enthusiast, Muky, gracefully got into perfect position without any effort whatsoever. She then went on to encourage me with such helpful comments as: “What, you can’t do this? What’s so hard about it? You really can’t do it? What’s wrong with your legs?” etc etc. Never mind, we all have our own challenges to deal with…onward!
Standard 8: Warming up or Cooling down
This standard requires little explanation. You need to warm up and cool down every single time you run. This is something that I need to remember. I have always been a fan of the ‘first mile is the warmup’ school.
The more intense the expected exercise the longer the warm up/cool down
Starett recommends jump rope as a suitable warm up for running as it wakes up the foot strike and heats up the soft tissue in the lower body but any light dynamic movement that activates the body would be fine.