How Are You Running?

The spring marathon season is just around the corner and those planning running a marathon should really be starting to think about your training and preparation. Yes it seems like its ages away, but as the saying goes “it soon comes round” (is that even a saying? I’m not too sure). Now is the ideal time to take stock of your training and look at making any changes you deem useful.

One aspect you may want to look at is the way you run. The vast majority of us learn to run not long after we learn to walk and from that point on think very little about how we run and why it might be important in terms of both performance and injury prevention. There is an emerging body of evidence that would suggest modification of an individuals running technique (gait re-training) and cadence can help in the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. There are certain injuries, which appear to correlate with a particular running style or pattern, for example cross-over gait could, possibly be linked with ITB syndrome. A study of 15 runners, by Meardon et al. (2012) found an increase in ITB strain rate as step width decreased (Reference).  By looking at the whole body it is possible to look for patterns of movement, which may effect running style or performance, for example the action of the arms and amount of rotation in the upper body correlates with the leg swing and counter rotation in the lower body and vice versa.

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Some aspects of an individuals running form can be picked up just by watching them run, whereas other are more subtle, happen quicker and therefore difficult to pick up with the naked eye. This is where video gait analysis comes in. Here I do not mean the knee down, focussing on the foot landing, gait analysis you get in sports shops. I am talking about a whole body top-to-toe video analysis that looks at not only what happens at the feet, but also the knees, hips and upper body. It is only by looking at the whole body that you can get a true reflection of an individuals running style and therefore make adjustments to suit them as an individual.

However, to go back to my previous point about marathon training, if you are going to make adjustments to your running, it takes time for the new movement patterns to develop and to break old habits. Running drills and cues need to be accompanied by the correct strength and conditioning exercises and mobility work, which again need to be developed for the individual. The autumn winter seasons are the perfect time to start looking at your running style and making any changes required.

It is not about pigeon holing you into a category, it is about finding the right style of running for you!

If you would like further information about video gait analysis service provided at Ed Pratt Sports Therapy, please click here.

Happy running.

Ed

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