Yesterday I had the chance to see what I look like while running. Not just in a picture but an actual video. I’ve always thought I would look totally awesome and gazelle-like (ha ha, yeah right!) but in reality, it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it looked painful.
As many of you know I’ve been dealing with an ongoing ankle/foot injury since early May. Since beginning physical therapy in July, I’ve gained strength in my weak hips which made the initial pain on the outside of my foot disappear. However, a new pain began in late August that was centered around my posterior tibialis (the inside ankle bone area). It only popped up when I started to fatigue and my form got sloppy (aka heel strike more). My PT has been a little perplexed by all of this so she was thrilled to offer me a video gait/biomechanics analysis to get to the root of my problems. The run nerd in me was beyond excited!
I did a three mile warm up outside before my appointment since I tend to feel the discomfort in the later miles of a run. (I had also done 7 miles that morning just for good measure). Once I got back to the clinic, a PT had me do one legged squats to check for muscle imbalances. In addition, he checked my flexibility. No problems with either. I then had reflective anatomical markers placed on my low back, ankles, back of the knees, hips etc. After that it was to the treadmill to run. I was to find a normal pace for me before videotaping would begin. Once there, I was taped for approximately 3 minutes from the side and back view. The video was then uploaded and analyzed by not one but 4 PTs. This program is relatively new for the PT clinic that I go to so everyone was interested in the analysis.
So what do I look like while running? Here’s a run down of my issues:
- Heel striking predominately on right (injured) foot. I would go back and forth between heal and midfoot on left.
- Cadence – I was running at 150 steps/min.
- Major hip shift with each stride.
- Ground contact occurs too far out in front of my body which means landing on an almost straight leg causing a braking like motion (aka slowing me down), wasting energy and too jarring on the joints.
Ouch! Not pretty for sure. I knew I have been heel striking on my right foot as a way to “protect” the injury. Old habits are hard to break. Seeing my hip shift was definitely eye opening. Despite gaining strength in my core since July, it still was significant. I’d hate to think what it looked like before that!
Here’s what I’ll be working on:
- Continue with strength building exercises for posterior tibilais, core and hips.
- Learning to lean forward from my ankles without bending at the waist to use gravity for forward motion. This in turn will help promote midfoot strike.
- Use metronome app on my phone to gradually increase my cadence to 170-180 steps/min. This will produce short, quick strides, midfoot strike and keep my legs under my body.
I did have positives out of it all – my leg swing and follow through were “beautiful!” 😉
I knew going into this that my biomechanics were sloppy. I’ve got a lot of work to do but it’s all fixable. I’m very excited about it! Who wouldn’t be with the chance to be faster, more efficient and less likely to be injured?
Have you ever had a running video analysis?
What do you think you look like running?