Book 37: Ready to Run – Dr. Kelly Starrett

‘Ready to Run’ is a practical, modern handbook for life-long running. It’s a wonderful resource to have and this is the second time I’ve gone through it in detail.

A few weeks back I wrote a series of posts about Starrett’s 12 standards of being ready to run.

The 12 standards were:

Testing yourself against these standards will uncover any biomechanical issues that may impact on your running. For example, I uncovered a significant lack of range in my ankle dorsiflexion through these standards. This restricted range of motion was completely unknown to me before and it’s hard to know the impact this has had to date. Using the recommended ankle mobilisation I have made almost immediate improvements and it is encouraging to see how the body can change with just a little focused attention.

If you run—or want to run—I guarantee you’ll get some valuable feedback going through these standards.

In part three of the book these diagnostic standards are paired with the means to achieve them— welcome to the world of mobilisations.

This mobility work is systematically presented to deal with both the identified weaknesses (‘goats’ as Starrett calls them) and as an ongoing maintenance routine.

A lot of the mobilisations are built around deep tissue work that utilises a (medieval) toolbox of rollers, balls and ‘battle-stars’. Some of the techniques are as gnarly and uncomfortable as they sound: ‘smash’, ‘stripping’, ‘smash and floss’, ‘tack and twist’, ‘double-ball ankle smash & strip’, all go deep into your musculature grinding across fibres and fascia to restore ‘slide and glide’ and proper functioning to muscles and joints.

Alongside this work, mobility bands are recommended to deepen specific stretches.

The important thing to notice here is that in Starrett’s system, you take responsibility for this body maintenance. He insists on 10 minutes a day (‘no days off’) and this seems a reasonable investment to make in the quest for injury-free running.

‘Ready to Run’ is an empowering guide full of useful, highly practical techniques that will enable the restoration of muscular balance and natural range of motion. It’s a highly recommended book to own for anyone interested in fitness — and for runners it’s essential.

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