“It was the way we thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn’t live to love anything else.” – Christopher McDougall, Born to Run
In case you’re still not convinced that your body was made to run, think of your ancestors and how they lived and survived. You were born to run.
Keep these things in mind that Dr. Kelly Starrett states about your body:
- You have springs: your hips, knees, ankles, and feet work together with your muscles and connective tissues to use gravity and elastic energy so efficiently that running is only about 30-50% more costly than walking in the endurance-speed range. You have stable, springy arches. The human arch, with its energy-returning spring action, helps reduce the energy cost of running by up to 17%.
- You have super elastic achilles tendons: it is approx. 6 inches long. They store and release great amounts of mechanical energy.
- You have a powerful butt: these are the largest muscles in your body. Some of you don’t engage them at all, leaving out an essential movement asset. These muscles contribute to your overall stability, making sure you don’t do a faceplant every step.
- You have ear canals like spacecraft guidance computers: the ear canals transit signals to your musculoskeletal system to correct for the constant flow of tiny imbalances incurred in a bipedal organism on the move.
To begin, you need to commit to at least 10 minutes a day, every day. It’s a process that doesn’t end. New issues will come up. Solving your current issues does not guarantee that others won’t emerge. They almost certainly will. You perform routine maintenance on your car, and your body is the same. As long as it’s functioning, it needs to be maintained.
Take static, end-range muscle stretching out of your routine for now. Mobilizations will replace stretching. Mobilization simply refers to the positions you take your joints through, whether that’s using a band to push it back into its proper place in the joint capsule/socket, or a deep position that challenges the joint to open up or shift into the desired position. You don’t need to do a 2 minute quad stretch to prepare for your run. Instead, focus on improving your range of motion. It’s important to make your warm-up routine relative to the work you are about to perform. Doing the same warm-up routine for every workout doesn’t make sense. There can be similarities, but make sure your mobilizations are addressing what you’re doing that day whether that’s running or something else.
According to Starrett, there are 12 standards that you will use to complete a thorough assessment of your state of running readiness. These are:
- Neutral feet
- flat shoes
- a supple thoracic spine
- an efficient squatting technique
- hip flexion
- ankle range of motion
- warming up and cooling down
- no hotspots
- jumping and landing
Achieving and maintaining these 12 standards produces the following results:
- Healthy and hydrated tissues. Surfaces between your tissues will slide and glide rather than stick like velcro.
- Joints will be in their proper positions.
- Normal range of motion will be restored. Ankles, knees, and hips will move the way they were designed to.
- Essential mechanics and motor control will be in line, so you are not chewing up cartilage and connective tissues.
- Hip function will be optimal, resulting in more power as you run/exercise.
Note: Please see Intro to Running Series and Running Series #1 for more information on Dr. Kelly Starrett and to get the most out of the entire Running Series posts.
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