Friday, February 11, 2011

A Date with the Gait

***Important! Due to unforeseen logistical stuff, the Boston Marathon giveaway will end this Sunday, February 13, not February 17. The winners will be required to fill out their registrations and have them postmarked by February 18.

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Was that the corner? Because I think I might have turned it. Again.

I have four words for you.

Four.Ten.Minute.Miles

Walk, run for a total of five miles.

Tuesday found me crying on the PT table out of frustration. Today found me crying on the treadmill out of euphoria. I am such an emotional dork/mess. A dorky mess.

Yesterday I spent some the most valuable 90 minutes I have spent in a long time. I had a gait analysis at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. I’ve had those drive thru gait analyses before at the running shoe store. The ones where they video tape you, then tell you which shoe is going to make your dreams come true and correct your pronation or penis curvature or whatever.

This was different.

If you’ve never had one of these done, and you are going to continue running, you need to invest. It will help you decrease chance of injury and increase performance. I'm not sure of the actual cost because insurance covered some of mine, so I ended up paying $105. I’m guessing if you paid cash it would be $300-$500?

I was really dreading this thing. I hate it when people watch me run and critique me. I hate it when I do anything and people critique me. It makes me feel critiqued. And vulnerable. And sometimes stupid and awkward and uncoordinated. This is why whenever I competed on the balance beam in high school I was a shaking, farting, sweating mess who always got 2/10. Try being nervous then dancing and somersaulting on a 4” piece of suede-covered wood.  

I also knew that my form probably sucked due to the injury and I figured I’d walk out of there feeling even more defeated.

Surprise of surprises. My form was decent, with a few corrections to be made.

The good:

  1. I do not over stride, my feet land nicely under my hips when I run.
  2. My stance width is narrow, but this is because I’m bowlegged, so not something I need to work on changing.
  3. My hips are level with very little hip drop on either side.
  4. No pronation.
  5. Knees do not cave in
  6. Body is centered with the exception of some leaning to the left to compensate for the injury
  7. I have a decent hip tilt

bethrunning

Stuff to work on:

  1. Not leaning to the left (that’s what he said). They are not sure if I lean due to the injury or if it is related to scoliosis or a leg discrepancy.
  2. Increasing cadence. Mine is currently 166, and should increase to 176-180. This will apparently improve efficiency and performance and reduce overall impact. This is actually not too hard to do. On my run today, I checked in a couple of times each mile. My cadence was 180-200 (counting steps per 10 seconds and multiplying by 6).  My PT suggested using a metronome or downloading music that has 176 bpm to help keep on track. There are several websites that give you song ideas depending on what type of cadence you want to keep. There is a good one from Runner’s World HERE. I found that a quicker turnover felt much better on my body today and allowed for a softer foot strike and a lighter feeling overall. I do strike on my heel, and the increased cadence will hopefully help to make me more of a mid-foot striker.
  3. Arm placement. I punch my arms too far forward (see above) which can decrease performance and slow cadence thereby resulting in higher impact per stride. Fortunately, this is also a relatively easy thing to correct. I am working on driving my elbows back and stopping them near my ribs without crossing the midline.

I wish I could show you the before/after videos of me running. Below is a still shot. The left is before, the right is after. You can see how much further my arms come out behind me). They gave me the video to bring home with drill tips for improved form. Pretty cool. And, I didn’t even fall off the treadmill like the balance beam. I also didn’t fart like I did that one time when I was getting my gait analyzed at a shoe store.

bethrunning1

Don’t forget my Boston Marathon giveaway. I have two entries to give. I’ve really enjoyed reading the “essays” so far. Just to be clear, the “panel” will be comprised of myself and some of your favorite bloggers (who have not entered). If you’re interested in being on the panel, email me.

Smiling,

SUAR

68 comments:

  1. First?

    I have an awkward arm swing, but it works for me.

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  2. Congrats on the four miles and on turning the corner!! Woo hoo!! I hope it is all improvement from here for you.

    The analysis sounds awesome and super helpful. I am so glad you were able to get that. (And I am the same way about feeling vulnerable and critiqued...that's hard!) Have a great weekend. :)
    Erin
    http://seemomrunfar.blogspot.com/

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  3. awesome on that corner! That gait analysis looks so wonderful! I am sure my stuff to work on list would be at list 15 items, I think I'm a mess out there...someday I'll do that, keep thinking I need to wait until I am more of a runner- it may be too late by then, huh...

    Can't wait to keep reading about the progress you are making!!

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  4. It all sounds like great news. The video would have been good.

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  5. Interesting! I've never done gait analysis (mostly because I'm too cheap), but I'm glad it worked out well for you!

    And there is absolutely no need for me to run Boston (though I might go watch!), so can I be on the "panel"? I love running essays!

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  6. oh I would love a gait analysis. My hubs just tries to look at mine for critique but I know that I lean to left as well. Very cool experience!
    LC

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  7. 10 minute miles! Progress indeed. Of course, now is the time to get your runs with Jamoosh in before you get faster!

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  8. This is probably my favorite post of the week! So much information...thank you! I am trying hard to improve my stride and be conscious of these things. I started trying to work on my cadence and still am but I was counting how many times my right foot hit and this makes me think it is partly a reason for why I feel like I'm leaning to the right when I run now?? So frustrating that I feel like I"m leaning....especially when I wear my saucony kinvaras. I feel like I'm trying to push myself over to the left when I run so I don't fall over. Thanks again for the tips and useful info!

    Congrats on your accomplishment and progress Beth! We know how much this means to you! Thanks for inspiring and teaching us all!

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  9. Great job, Beth! I know you will run Boston!

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  10. ahhhh, i would LOVE to have a gait analysis. although it would be hard to watch myself on video, i know i run with t-rex arms and have a funky gait!

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  11. So, I had something similar done, and what they found wrong with me is that I always look like I am going uphill (my pelvis tilts forward), which puts strain on my hamstrings, which in turn is what is wrong with my knees. One of the best things I have done is to check back every month or so so i don't end up falling into old habits... I set up the tripod and run a little on the treadmill and watch myself. Amazing how fast I fall into the old messed up stride, and how easy it is to spot when I am looking!

    By the way, congratulations!!! This is going to make an amazing difference for you!

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  12. '4” piece of suede-covered wood' was my nickname in high school.

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  13. 180-200 is not too high, elites run at that turnover.

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  14. I need to get out the camera. Thanks!

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  15. And yes if you increase your turnover you should be able to land more mid to fore foot. When we try to run faster by overstriding and heel landing our candence is lower, more time on ground and way more impact. Hope I'm not being annoying! :)

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  16. This is so cool! Glad things are moving in the right direction!

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  17. Okay, so what is up with the weird-looking umlauted and other foreignly accent gibberishy code that I am seeing for all of these comments and in your sidebar? So bizarre...

    That gait analysis sounds incredible. I am definitely going ask my PT about that.

    And your four. ten. minute. miles. No way! I am so utterly impressed. That is fantastic! You are on the fast track to wellness, woman! WTG!

    (and I am old enough to have competed on the balance beam in high school when they were not suede-covered... 4 inches of WOOD, baby... and it was my fave ;-) )

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  18. 7:3 - looks like the good outweighs the bad!! I am not surprised. Look at you, you crying, sloppy mess! You're really running again. I am so happy for you.

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  19. Awesome. So glad you're able to get into a place liek this. It really does make all the difference.

    It's great you don't overstride--makes corrections easier. I do overstride and drop one hip and have poor hip extension. But I have my 180 cadence!

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  20. Oh, and here's an obnoxious song for your cadence--"It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones. Learned that this week. Go download it.

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  21. yeah thats Fantastic!!!! I will happy to help with the panel if you need it I have not been blogging much lately or running either 7 months pregnant in the frigid got the best of me :( But I have been lurking reading blogs! Let me know if you still need help.

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  22. Yeah I purchased the shoes that helped with penis curvature............ HA
    I've never what to kill my impressions of my perfect gait, a video would do that!

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  23. I'm going thru the same stuff right now in PT and I love it since I never had any run coaching. I am finding the feedback is a wonderful tool!!
    I hope you continue to run, run, run!!

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  24. If you are looking for music at the right bpm.... try the "podrunner". You can subscribe to it for free on iTunes.... The music is a little... ehmm.... spacey? techno? but it's going to keep you on cadence.

    I am glad to read that you had a good run... You most certainly deserved a good run!

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  25. This is super interesting! Thank you for sharing!!

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  26. yay for corners! that analysis sounds really cool. it's awesome that there's more good than bad that came out of it.

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  27. All I can say is you are my hero. I have been running on a torn meniscus and because of that I have strained my opposite ankle, today seized up in calf cramps all because I am over compensating. Watching you grin and bear it- cross train and deal, is giving my sorry ass hope. Thanks SUAR. You just might save me from me.

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  28. That sounds wonderful! Congrats! I'm going to the same place on Monday for an analysis of my hurting right foot. I wonder if I'll get to do a gait analysis.....

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  29. Oh the things we learn when we are forced to huh?

    Someone could have told you 180 running cadence when you were running healthy and you would probably tell them to go blank themselves haha... but NOW, its a thing of beauty, we will do ANYTHING to be able to get that euphoric high we get from running.

    Be careful changing your form and start small. Your body will be messed up since it is not "natural" for you yet.

    Best of luck!

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  30. I had mine analyzed back home (Philippines) and the sports stores were doing it for free.

    Looks like yours is more thorough. =)

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  31. Congratulations! I bet you're feeling pretty awesome right now!

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  32. Seriously are you kidding me? You are bow-legged too? I can drive a truck through my legs. If my legs were teeth they would look like Michael Strahan's smile.

    And I am a mess today as well. First Jen at Miles, Muscles and Mommyhood made me tear up and now that you have successfully run and looking as if you have made that turn I am welling up again. Seriously where is all this watery, salty stuff coming from. Is there an onion in my pocket and I didn't even know it (that's what she said.)

    I am so so so so so so happy for you. I knew this day was coming and it would be remarkable. Yeah You!

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  33. Do you have to have a BQ time to win the Boston entry? Actually, I think I would rather wait to qualify to feel like I belong there.

    I haven't heard anybody advertise the gait analysis in my area, otherwise I would like to do it.

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  34. 2slow4Boston: no BQ time required.

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  35. Sounds like a nice corner to turn! congrats.

    Wow. I would not like to be critized in my running form either but it would be nice to know what I do "right" and what I could improve.

    Good Luck with the giveaway. Not something I can enter right now. I'm in hot water with races already!

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  36. i like the cadence trick. after running with a short/quick runner i realized what big slow steps i was taking (although i'm not tall.... just slow). counting cadence really really helped. thanks for the reminder, fa' sho.

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  37. Happy that things are looking up. REALLY.

    this is VERY interesting I know I do the same as you with my arms. my hands even cross sometimes. when I think about it too much I tend to slow down...working on it. when I do get it right my arms go faster then my old legs and then I loose my rhythm..maybe I am crazy ans this makes no sense.

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  38. Ok, I am so excited for you - running four miles is HUGE.

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  39. FOUR MILES - WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!! So excited that it went well and (more importantly) felt good!

    Glad also to hear that you had a good experience with your gait analysis. :) (and I have a secret high-five for your PT for doing a good job too! ;)

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  40. Hi, Beth--I'm a new follower, and a relative novice at running. I really enjoyed reading this post! The gait analysis sounds like it was really awesome. I would be afraid of what they'd say about my knock-knees and over-pronation (under-pronation?? i can never remember which is which...). I read a recent post of yours about the importance of cadence and was trying to count as I ran today. No such luck! It was like someone was counting numbers out of order in my ear to mess me up. So I'm so psyched to check out the link you posted for music! Thanks for all the wonderful info--I'm looking forward to keeping up with your blog!

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  41. I forgot to say that my favorite part of this post is the last two words… "Smiling, SUAR"

    The. Best.

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  42. Sounds like you've got a fundamentally sound gait! yay! I've only ever had the running store analyses done so I never truly believe what they tell me.

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  44. I've thought of doing that at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Thanks for being a Betty Sue.

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  45. Pretty interesting stuff. I would be a little self conscious about my rear end bouncing but when you look as good as you do there's no reason to worry! Glad you found the corner and smashed it!

    P.S. I wouldn't mind being on your panel for the Boston GW.

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  46. Yay for 4-10 min. miles! Woohoo!
    And, that gait analysis sounds awesome. I might have to invest in that someday!

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  47. I need a lesson on what to do with my arms...
    Congratulations on a GREAT week!!!!

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  48. Oh wow, this sounds so worthwhile!! I would love to do something like this. Thanks for sharing and good luck making the little tweaks to correct your form. Looking good!!

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  49. I would love to have a gait analysis!!! After every race my lower back feels bruised but no bruises...weird...

    And so happy for the 4 miles!! Love it when it all comes back... :)

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  50. An easy way to check for a 180 cadence on a treadmill: 3 steps per second.

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  51. I am euphoric FOR you! Four. Ten. Minute. Miles. AWESOME!!!

    I would love to have a gait analysis done. How interesting! I am just starting to figure this cadence stuff out. Who knew there was more to running than just moving your feet and your arms...(apparently not me until recently) Interesting on the arm placement. I am going to pay attention to mine tomorrow:)

    Congrats again on the RUN!! REALLY happy for you.

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  52. WOOHOO! 4 10minute miles!! i'm so happy to hear that!!! steps to healing! here you come, boston!

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  53. Best thing I've read this week are the two words.....smiling, suar! You deserve a bright spot.

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  54. My (new-ish) running buddy was a Cross Country runner in College and inspects my form all the time! Ha, its helpful but also a little defeating. She's told me to pick up my knees, control my arms and breathe easy. No shock here, but when I focus on all of the above I feel like I'm flying.

    Those speedy miles and worry/injury-free legs will be back SOON with all of your improvement :) Keep on Keepin' on!

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  55. I have a little clip-on metronome that I can mail you free of charge, a token of my gratitude for being your blogger friend. It would be sent from the bottom of my heart only because I look out for your well being.

    I live to make you happy SUAR. Unconditionally. I expect nothing in return. You have nothing to give me except the honor of reading this very excellent Blog.

    Now if you'll excuse me I need to go do some online shopping at Athleta and SALONPAS.

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  56. back on the arm placement...maybe a silly question but are we supposed to keep the arms close to body or not? on second pic looks like yours are wider? I am trying to work on this, I know I have bad placement, my hands touch in the middle sometimes.

    I also wanted to say very happy for you and your progress...bring on 04-18!!

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  57. Very cool analysis; and YAY for your miles!

    Winks & Smiles,
    Wifey

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  58. I would never want this done. I would get laughed at the whole time. I have a feeling I run BAD!

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  59. Whoot! Whoot! On the run! super interesting on the gait analysis! Thanks for sharing!

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  60. Caroline - arms are not supposed to be held in close to body, they sholdn't flair out and cause you to twist, but there should be some visible space between your body and your arms.

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  61. 4 MILES! I'm so happy for you beth! you rock!

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  62. thank you Beth for ansering my question.

    I tried this on my last two run talked about it on my post today (you may get new visitors I put the link to this post, hope it is ok) thank you for sharing all this, it really helped me a lot.

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  63. I know you posted this a while back but I just wanted to add my congratulations on your progress. Well done!

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