Book Review: Ready to Run by Kelly Starrett and T.J. Murphy

Book Review: Ready to Run by Kelly Starrett and T.J. MurphyPhysical therapist, CrossFit coach and best-selling author Dr. Kelly Starrett partners with longtime endurance magazine editor T.J. Murphy to address the problems of runners across all sports in Ready to Run. Given that 80% of runners injure themselves each year, a new perspective on the capacities required for the movement is long overdue. Starrett wisely avoids dispensing too much advice on running technique, instead offering a few tips and a list of resources for runners to consult on this subject. Instead, he stays in his wheelhouse, a thorough understanding of human movement and the dysfunctional patterns therein. One of the leading advocates of bringing the techniques of therapists and masseuses to the masses, Starrett offers a litany of mobilizations to improve runners’ basic positions and avoid injury. His focus on elementary standards of movement and how and why to achieve them, combined with his very approachable writing and speaking style is unparalleled in the industry. More than anything, Starrett stresses personal responsibility. He offers readers the tools to stay healthy; it is up to them to take his advice to heart and make changes in their movement patterns. The sole negative is that a few movement standards appear a bit vague by comparison to others. For example, Starrett’s test for thoracic spine mobility is whether or not you can stand up straight, without hunched shoulders. But how straight is straight enough, and at what point does your thoracic spine reverse its natural curvature? And for his warming up and cooling down standard, he offers a few bullet points of exercises and mobilizations for each, which pale in comparison to his detailed one week and one-month sample mobility programs and over forty illustrated pages of specific techniques. Those concerns aside, this book offers an extremely valuable and refreshing alternative to the established medical and footwear industry, whose knee-jerk response to injuries is to stop running or buy new shoes. Starrett can help you repair your body and your running, if you are willing to accept the responsibility to do so.

4/5 Stars

For more reviews of books on physical fitness, sports, philosophy and society, check out The KineSophy Library.