Improving my running with a gait analysis 🏃‍♂️

In preparation for Tremblant, I had my gait analyzed to find out if there are any issues with my running form. I found the process surprisingly thorough and interesting.

Katie (a registered physiotherapist) started out with a general discussion about my running history and goals. Then she filmed me running on a treadmill for about five minutes. We set a fast pace, since that quickly exposes any sloppiness in my running. I have to admit that watching myself running in slow motion was a bit awkward, though my form wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined.

Katie identified two issues: too much side to side rotation of my arms and a pronounced dip on my left side.

The arms are pretty easy. I just need to be more mindful of how they’re swinging and focus on moving them forwards and backwards, rather than side to side. This better directs my energy towards forward movement.

The dip is more complicated. Katie tried a bunch of different strength tests to isolate the muscle and we found that my left glute was much stronger than my right, which is odd, given I’m right handed. To distinguish between strength and muscle activation, Katie tried an acupuncture needle in my right hip. Remarkably, just a couple of minutes later, I was then much stronger on the right side. We did another round on the treadmill and my hips were now nicely aligned.

This suggested to Katie that my strength is fine, rather it’s insufficient muscle activation that is leading to the dip. She prescribed some warmup exercises to help. I know that I have a deficient warm up routine (as in there isn’t one, I just start running), so this is a good excuse to improve this component of my running routine.

As someone that generally just puts on running shoes and gets going, I’m glad I put in some time to understand my gait and identify some opportunities for improvement. I hope to be running for many more years and this should help minimize injuries.

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