Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally, by Kelly Starrett, originally published in 2014.
I know that Jenny is eagerly anticipating my review of this book, so I’m going to do that and then do her one better. I could have skipped the book and got a lot of what I learned from the book right here.
When I was preparing this review I wanted to share the relevant and worthwhile information I gleaned, and so went looking to see if Starrett’s 12 standards for being ready to run were somewhere on the web, and there they were. You can get almost everything you need to know right there and skip the book.
All that said, I did enjoy the book a great deal. It was written in an engaging conversational tone that made it a quick read, which is good for these types of books. Starrett, a CrossFit gym owner, seems to be a guy who knows how to cut to the chase. Again, a good characteristic for a book written specifically for those of us interested in running without injury minus the fluff. In fact, the suggestions and standards offered in Ready to Run are suitable for improved motion and exercise in general, not just running.
Starrett starts out his book by debunking the myth that running is a terrible form of exercise which wrecks our knees and joints. On the contrary, he argues that evolution created us in such a way that running should come naturally to us, an activity that we should be able to perform with vigor most of our lives. After all, our ancient forbears ability to run and run well was often the difference between life and death.
Leaving aside any theological differences I may have had with his presentation of this argument, I think he has a point when he asserts that years of sitting (at desks, in cars, and on couches) from age 5 onward changes what our bodies conform to and what they are able to perform. Years of studying the mechanics of human motion led Starrett to believe that if we are conscious in our efforts to develop his 12 standards, we should be able to enjoy running with very little fear of injury.
One of the bones of contention I had with him was his recommendation of electrolyte tablets such as Nuun as a way to keep our hydration levels up. I have it on good authority that such supplements are truly wonder working, but for those of us on a budget, they are a non starter. I was hit with sticker shock before I left the vitamin store, without the hydration tablets. Just have to work harder to get in my 80 ounces a day.
The other thing that was extremely helpful to me as a novice runner who doesn’t ever intend to run any more than 4 miles as a matter of course, was the idea of running in flat shoes. Almost all running shoes have some degree of arch support which slightly elevates the heel above the rest of the foot, which is not natural.
Overall, I liked the book and learned a lot from it. You however, can learn just as much from following the link to Starrett’s 12 standards for running.