03-12-2015

Why You Should Get A Gait Analysis

Recently, I talked a little about my running form and asked for your thoughts on the importance of sneakers. I’ve been doing more research and actually listened to a very interesting podcast hosted by blogger and elite runner Tina Muir. Check it out here.

But from what I’ve read, when it comes to running, there are many important factors besides pronation, which is usually what they look at in running stores. Just because you over pronate or don’t, doesn’t mean you must wear a certain type of shoe (like stability). The more important thing is to find shoes that are comfortable for you. Which I do think is true because any time I have tried wearing stability shoes it just doesn’t feel right. Here are two points discussed in the podcast:

  • If Haile Gebrselassie walked into a running store, he would likely be put in motion control shoes, but he wears neutral shoes; things are not always as they seem.
  • How heel striking does not lead to a greater risk of injury; In one study, over 90% of elite and sub-elite marathoners were found to be heel strikers!

No really, listen to it to learn more…it was interesting stuff!

So anyway, on Instagram you may have seen some of my slo-mo videos I had my mom take of my while running. I wanted to see what my running form looked like and also get feedback from Coach Marc, who offers gait analysis services.

Why You Should Get A Gait Analysis

When I looked at the videos, I thought I pronated, but then other people said I don’t…so who knows ;) I sent the video over to Marc, and he sent me back cool photos showing the angles in my running. Here are a few examples:

gait analysis

gait analysis2
Pretty cool stuff right? He also looked at my video and saw during my kick back, my feet were kind of going to the side. He said, “Think of a piston in a car – if it had the same non-linear motion as your feet when they are behind you, the car wouldn’t operate smoothly. Form drills prior to running and maintenance post-run will do wonders for your pains and your form.”

The drills he mentioned are A-skips, B-skips, high knees, butt kicks, etc. I do usually do them in my warm-up but only for probably a total of 2 minutes max. He does them with his XC team for about 15 minutes during a warm-up. Clearly I need to do more.

I do want to go to a sports therapist and get an in-person analysis done so perhaps they can really tell me my issue with my shins. But from what I now know from these videos, hip strength and working on my form might help a bit. This is why it could really benefit you to get a gait analysis! Here are some key reasons (besides to see whether you pronate or not):

  • You will be able to see how your body moves. I had no idea my legs kicked back and inwards as I ran. This could be causing issues and I had no idea about it.
  • An experienced person will be able to look at the video and instantly pick up on muscle weaknesses and imbalances, like hip drop, which I read more about this week.
  • Provides you with a “before and after” source so you can see your improvement. You can try to change your gait or strengthen weak muscles but how will you know it worked if you have nothing to compare it to?

I really liked this quote from Active regarding why gait analysis is important:

Gait analysis is about looking at your entire body as a holistic organism—a single amazing unit. It goes far beyond an untrained eye watching you jog in a pair of sneakers.

It really is so much more than just your feet and the degree to which they roll inward or outward. Often times, it could be issues like core strength that are contributing to your lower leg issues, not necessarily if you overpronate or not.

As I had mentioned, Coach Marc provides gait analysis services along with this virtual coaching. If you want someone to take a better look at your running form and give you suggestions, definitely check him out! Plus, if you need a customized training plan in general, I highly suggest you connect with him and see if his coaching would be a good fit for you.

Have you had a gait analysis done?

What do you think is the weak link in your running?

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