2 min read

how to run without injury pt. 1

how to run without injury pt. 1
Photo by Alora Griffiths / Unsplash

Most casual runners quit running eventually.

They might run a lot for a year or two. But they stop after getting pain in their hips, their shins, their knees. They run less seriously, or stop running entirely.

Why is this?

Weren't we born to run?

Can we learn to run without injury, even as we age or run longer distances?

Kelly Starrett is a top fitness coach who tells us there is a way.

He writes that your body is designed to last you 110 years, though you can shred through it in 20 if you try hard enough.

Starrett shares 12 standards to assess how ready we are to run:

  1. Neutral feet
  2. Flat shoes
  3. A supple thoracic spine
  4. An efficient squatting technique
  5. Hip flexion
  6. Hip extension
  7. Ankle range of motion
  8. Warming up and cooling down
  9. Compression
  10. No hotspots
  11. Hydration
  12. Jumping and landing

These standards tell us how ready we are to be the best runner we can be, and help decrease our chances of wear, tear and injury.

In this article, I'll share how to assess where you are with these standards. In the next article on Thursday, I'll share how to improve and meet these standards.

Creds to the book Ready to Run.

how to assess the standards

  1. Neutral feet - can you maintain parallel feet while running?
  2. Flat shoes - do you run in shoes with no difference in the heel height and forefoot height (e.g. barefoot or minimalist shoes)? can you run in them comfortably?
  3. A supple thoracic spine - do you have a pliant, properly organized middle back (neutral spine, externally rotate shoulders, brace & create neutral midline stability)? do you make sure to not have a rounded upper back or your head jutting out in front of your spine when you run?
  4. Efficient squatting technique - can you do ten good, clean air squats (no inward knee collapse, no duck feet, etc)? can you do 10 good air squats in 8 consecutive periods of 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest after each period (Tabata protocol)?
  5. Hip flexion - can you stand on your left leg and raise your right hip 120 degrees, and hold that for 30 seconds? same with right leg and left hip?
  6. Hip extension - do you have enough range of motion in the front of your hips such that you can press your hips into full extension? aka ankle touching butt
  7. Ankle range of motion - are you able to get into the pistol position of a pistol squat and are you able to kneel with both feet in full dorsiflexion (Japanese seiza)?
  8. Warming up and cooling down - do you warm up and cool down?
  9. Compression socks - do you wear compression socks for some time each day?
  10. No hotspots - do you have any hot or sketchy tissues or joints? you fail this standard if you do (if it feels sketchy, it is sketchy)
  11. Hydration - do you drink 2-3 liters of water every day and when you don't have water with food, do you add electrolytes (e.g. a pinch of iodized table salt)
  12. Jumping and landing - can you jump and land on a box with good mechanics (similar to squatting technique)? also, can you perform 30 single leg jump rope hops with your left foot? as well as with your right foot?

Stay tuned for the Thursday article on how to actually achieve these standards!

I'll also update this article to clarify the standards further then