Are You Ready to Run? Part I

I am a 21st-Century runner. I don’t run every day. Or even every other day. I deadlift and back squat over 1.5 times my body weight. At 6’2″ and 205 lbs., you’re not going to mistake me for a marathon runner. I  run when playing sports. Or when I’m trying to get off a mountain as fast as possible. Or when I’m trying to keep one of my kids from running into traffic. The ability to run comes in handy in a variety of circumstances. 

Running is a high-level skill, on par with sports such as Olympic Lifting or Swimming. Acquiring skill takes practice. The lack of skill acquisition as it relates to running has caused nothing short of an epidemic of running-related injuries. The running injury stats highlight the widespread lack of skill as it relates to the sport:

  • There are approximately 30 million regular runners in the US.
  • There are over 1,100 marathons held each year in the US.
  • 90% of marathon runners sustain an injury during training.
  • Each year, 80% of runners sustain an injury that forces them to stop running.
  • There is an inverse relationship between the cost of a running shoe (the US running shoe industry rakes in about $4 billion a year, by the way) and the likelihood of a runner getting injured. In other words, the more expensive your running shoe, the more likely you are to get hurt.

What the heck is going on? We’re riding a ridiculous wave of exponential growth in our knowledge of the human body and how it best performs, but only 20% of those 30 million runners can avoid injury every year?

The problem goes back to our conversation about skill.

Consider this analogy: if the control arm connected to one of the wheels on your car was coming loose, you wouldn’t ask your auto mechanic to put a new bumper on your car. Yet this is how we often times think we’ll fix the pain we have with running-buying a better (read: more expensive) shoe. The fundamental problem with relying on shoes to allow you to run is that it’s actually what stands inside and on top of your shoes that makes the difference.

No one taught us how to run correctly in school. What should have been treated with the same care and concern as teaching a kid to lift weights with good form has been relegated to the misguided idea that kids will just figure it out “naturally”.

“Ready to Run” is a book and system written and developed by Mobility WOD founder Dr. Kelly Starrett. As an MWOD Practitioner, I’m going to walk you through “The Standards”, our 12-point systems check to make sure you’ve got the physical practice and lifestyle pieces dialed-in to withstand the rigors of running for a lifetime.

There are a few key principles I want you to keep in mind as we embark on this journey together to make you a better, more resilient runner.

  1. It’s a about performance, not just injury prevention. The standards we apply to your physical and lifestyle practices as it relates to your running are mutually accommodating. Good running skill is a form of injury prevention and good maintenance work before and after your runs and on your days off allows you to be your best running self.
  2. We are changing your task-completion mindset. Running isn’t a job to get done. I want you to hold the quality of your running to a higher standard.
  3. It’s your responsibility to do routine body maintenance.
  4. 10 minutes per-day. No days off. It doesn’t take a heroic effort to make a change. It does take a consistent effort.
  5. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your performance and the signals your body is sending you is a learning process that never ends. Embrace the challenge.
  6. Mobility (that’s joint and soft tissue work, plus motor control-moving your body the right way) replaces your old stretching routine.

Over the next several posts, both here on the blog, and on our vlog companion-the Restore/Thrive YouTube Channel, we’ll give you the run down on everything you need to be a 21st Century Runner-fast, efficient, and resilient.

If  you are or you know someone who is a dedicated and often-injured runner or athlete involved in a running-dependent sport, help yourself and your friends out by sending them the link to our site.

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