"Ready to Run" (Book Review)
When it comes to preventative care, the disparity between what people need and what they have access to is unfortunate, and all-too-often physical therapy falls into that gap. Working with a physical therapist is frequently more expensive than most people can afford and often not covered by insurance.
Kelly Starrett’s new book, Ready to Run, goes a long way in bridging the gap. Many running injuries could be resolved by spending a little time on basic maintenance, but that information was hard to find until this book was released.
Kelly Starrett is a physical therapist who runs mobilityWOD and owns San Francisco CrossFit. He is an experienced coach who focuses on prehabilitation for athletes. His co-author, T.J. Murphy, is an athlete and a highly experienced writer, especially in the field of endurance sports. The bulk of his experience is in journalism, but he has made a few forays into writing books as well. His writing prowess shows in this book.
"I found 'Ready to Run' to be well-rounded and comprehensive, with highly detailed and important information delivered in a well-produced final package."
The book begins by discussing a typical runner's mentality and the problems that arise when dysfunction is present. The introductory chapters discuss physiology and the concept that humans are "born to run."
What You Will Learn
After the first few chapters comes the bulk of the book, which outlines what Starrett calls the “twelve standards.” Each of these standards has a chapter unto itself, and the chapters are put in a specific order to help you prepare your body for running. But I would contend that many of these standards will help keep you healthy for any activity.
These chapters cover topics like how to stand, what to wear, how to move, and what to drink to run safely and efficiently. Each chapter details the things that will help you get the most out of running, and what you need to know to stay injury-free.
After his summary of the twelve standards, Starrett discusses the specifics of mobility work. This section details various exercises, most of which are myofascial release techniques. Although you can find this information in other sources, it’s covered in a way you may not expect. Most notably, there’s not much discussion of foam rolling.
"Starrett gives his advice for dealing with shin splints, IT band syndrome, and a couple other typical issues."
The final section deals primarily with injuries. While the bulk of the book works to prevent these entirely, there is discussion of common problems. Starrett gives his advice for dealing with shin splints, IT band syndrome, and a couple other typical issues. Finally, he discusses how to get the most out of your visits to the physical therapist.
What (Not) to Expect
I found Ready to Run to be well-rounded and comprehensive, with highly detailed and important information delivered in a well-produced final package. The photos look great and the book flows well, making it an easy read for all levels.
Many people may expect the book to have running programs included, so keep in mind it does not. This is why I noted the book may not meet readers' expectations in the “cons” section at the start of this review. Ready to Run isn't about running - it's about preparing your body to be healthy enough to run. This is not necessarily a downside, unless you purchase it and don’t get what you’re looking for.
"Running is an amazing, natural, and healthy activity, as long as your body isn’t crippled from the various abuses you put it through on a daily basis. If your body is capable of the healthy and natural movements taught in this book, form and performance will follow."
But although you won't find training plans, you will receive something even more important. Running is an amazing, natural, and healthy activity, as long as your body isn’t crippled from the various abuses you put it through on a daily basis. If your body is capable of the healthy and natural movements taught in this book, form and performance will follow.
I have already recommended this book to several runners and physical therapists I know, and I’ll recommend it to you as well. Ready to Run will help you remain healthy and capable enough to continue being an athlete for as long as you want.
"Ready to Run" is available for $18.62 at Amazon.com.