So, earlier this week I showed-up eager for my scheduled gait analysis, and I was not at all disappointed. After briefly warming-up on the treadmill Kim videotaped me from three different angles while running in both pair of shoes that I routinely wear (i.e. the Newton stability performance trainers for my races and 12+ mile training runs, or the light-weight neutral Saucony Kinvaras which also have a low heel-to-toe drop.)
I was extremely impressed with her ability to quickly analyze and to clearly show me my gait mechanics, indentifying several areas of muscular weakness which translates into my longstanding running form issues. These include my:
- Not engaging my core while running. Absent engaging my core I have an excessively upright posture without the ideal slight forward lean from the ankles that would help to improve my running form and efficiency.
- Having weak hip abductor and gluteal muscles, which on the free swing phase of my gait results in my hip collapse. This brings my free swinging knee too close to the other leg, and as a partial compensation I externally rotate my landing foot just prior to its strike.
- A rapid leg cadence (i.e. near the ideal ~180 steps per minute).
- A mid-foot strike, where its landing is appropriately just forward of my center of gravity.
- A slight knee bend at foot strike, which is protective of my tibia, knees, hip and back.
- Chosen well my shoes. While I have a slight over-pronation it is not excessive even in my neutral shoes, and where the over-pronation does show-up it is coming more from the forefoot (which is where the Newtons have their modest stability element).
For any Houston-area runners who suspect that they may have running gait issues, are curious to identify weaknesses which may be affecting their gait, or who have had a history of running-related injuries, I highly recommend Kim Gandler's gait analysis. If you were lucky to have met her at the Expo then you may have received a special offer of $35 off their regularly priced $75 analysis, but even if not it's still a bargain!