Running Analysis

After two months without running, I worked my way up to 100 percent of my body weight on the anti-gravity treadmill, which meant I finally got to hit the real treadmill for a run analysis at physical therapy last week. It’s eye-opening when you can actually see how you run from different angles in slow motion. It’s also amazing what your body will start doing to compensate for pain and injuries.

We first looked at the angle of my knee bend on impact, which should be around 30 percent but was 16 percent on my right side and 13 on my left. I was almost running straight-legged on the left side forcing all of the impact on my hip with each foot fall. This also means I land pretty hard on my feet instead of softly adding to the impact my hip flexors are forced to absorb. I have a tendency to bound up with each stride as well wasting energy that could be put into moving forward.

My feet land slightly in front of my body rather than underneath, but I’m pretty close on this and should see improvement as I continue to work on strengthening and using my glutes and hamstrings rather than relying on just my hip flexors as I go through my stride.

I’ve always been a neutral runner meaning my feet land flat rather than on the inside or the outside of the shoe. This is still the case on my right side. One of the few positives I have going for me right now is that I do a good job of landing neutral on my midfoot on my right foot. I’m babying my left leg however though since I spent so much time trying to avoid feeling pain on that side, so I’m hitting a bit on my toes on the outside of my foot. My big toe almost never touches the treadmill (even when they had me try it out barefoot), so I’m not getting much of a push off at the end of my stride and I’m stressing muscles I don’t need to be.

I’ve been continuing with my flexibility and strength stretches and exercises, and have now been able to add 20 minutes of run/walk intervals each day to work on my form. I went back to PT yesterday for another video analysis and still have a bit of work to do, but am excited about getting to run again – even if just for short intervals – and look forward to getting stronger and fixing my form.

If you’re a runner and have never had a run analysis done I’d highly recommend it – even if you’re not injured. Getting that visual feedback is really important and  you might see yourself doing things differently than you thought you were. I know they say if it’s not broke, don’t fix it – but if you could find ways to make yourself a more efficient runner, it certainly seems worth it.

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Natural Running

Last weekend I went to a running seminar and clinic put on by Newton Running at Pacers in Arlington. The Arlington store is my favorite one – mostly because it’s within walking distance of my place! It started out with a presentation on natural running, going over proper running form to make you as fast and efficient a runner as possible.They talked about balance and relaxation as the keys to running.

They also hammered home the importance of landing under your center of mass. While they noted that the most efficient running form of running has you landing on your midfoot/forefoot before your heel settles, I liked that they showed this might not be best for you if you’re still reaching your leg out in front of you. I’m usually a heel striker and have been working on converting, but if I reach my leg out then landing on my forefoot puts me another half a foot away from the center of my body than if I kept landing on my heel. It’s one more thing to try and think about while running of course, but I feel like I have a much better understanding of how I should be trying to make adjustments. I hope I can get to the point of landing on my midfoot first, but for now my main focus is going to be landing under the center of my body.

Check out Newton’s 10 Laws of Natural Running.

 

Naturally, they were there to promote their shoes as well, but that was the fun part. We got to try on their different shoes and take them out for a test drive. We were paired off with different Newton running coaches and went through a series of drills to the amusement of onlookers walking by the Clarendon Metro as we worked on our running form. It was pretty cool and I have to admit I really liked the shoes. I might have to try them out when I go for my next pair – which will be soon as I plan on retiring one of my current pairs of sneaks after the Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday.