Standard #1 – Neutral Feet

In his book Ready to Run, Kelly Starrett introduces 12 standards that I will use to complete a thorough assessment on my state of readiness to run. There is a comprehensive explanation about all of the standards, with each chapter containing a key question, a key motivation for reaching the standard, a briefing and a segment named ‘runner to runner’, which outlines co-author TJ Murphy’s own personal experiences as an endurance athlete. My aim is not to rehash each chapter, but to test myself against each standard and see how I measure up. I will also include a section outlining key tips/bits of advice I got from reading the chapter.

The first standard is neutral feet, so here goes…

Q: Are your feet habitually in a neutral position? 

“A neutral foot position simply means that when you’re standing, walking, or running, your feet are straight. They aren’t pigeon-toed in or splayed out like duck’s feet. They’re straight.” (Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally)

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After reading this chapter I have consciously been looking down at my feet often throughout the day in all states of movement and checking to to see if my feet are aligned. I am happy to say that I have done ok on this standard and reckon my feet are aligned about 85-90% of the time. When they are not, I make sure I align them, and go through Kelly’s bracing sequence, which works well in getting me back into proper position.

Key motivation

“By maintaining your feet in a neutral position while standing, walking, and running, you’re setting a stage for efficient movement, defined as the way your body was engineered to move. And when you move your body in the way it was intended to move, you reduce the stresses that lead to injuries and worn-out joints.” (Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally)

Other tips I got from the chapter

  • Modern living practices, such as long periods of sitting, hunched over looking at smart phones and computers are debilitating practices that work together to weaken your feet and collapse your arches.
  • Going out and spending big money on overbuilt running shoes designed to restrict natural foot motion only serves to deepen the issues people have with their feet.
  • Flip-flops and high-heeled shoes create artificial stiffness in the ankle. (I have not worn flip-flops since!)