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Let’s Talk About Running + My First Gait Analysis

Good morning. Today’s post is going to be running-focused. First, an update on where I am with my running along with current training goals. Second, an overview of my first gait analysis that I had done last month at Greenapple Sports.

It was an amazing fall when it came to running. I ran five races in the Charlotte area as part of my abassadorship with the Charlotte Marathon – a 5K, a 5K/10K combo, a 15K and two half marathons. I found that I was enjoying running, training and racing more than I ever had before and it was such a healthy and effective outlet for my feelings. I wanted to keep running and training and finish up the year with my first full marathon in six years. I registered for the Kiawah Marathon that took place last weekend, December 10. I had to defer my registration until next year due to travel for my uncle’s funeral.

I shared that I was considering the Charleston Marathon on January 14 for a replacement race but I just can’t get excited about it and it’s on a teacher training weekend. We have teacher training three of the four weekends in January so I’m not sure what I’m going to do when it comes to running 26.2 or not. I will say that I don’t feel pressure to run and that’s a great feeling to have. My running has been 100% for me and not to prove anything to anyone else so if I end up wanting to do it and making it happen, great. If I don’t, I am also 100% at peace with that.

So that’s that.

Dr. Bradberry Greenapple Sports

I credit this guy for helping make my season of running so enjoyable. To say it was refreshing and encouraging to run injury-free is an understatement. Dr. Bradberry has been so helpful in staying on top of injuries and also educating me on what’s going on with my body, what muscles I need to work on strengthening/getting to fire and where to focus my mobility work.

Gait Analysis at Greenapple Sports with Dr. Bradberry

We did a gait analysis on the treadmill about a month ago and I wanted to share the results of that here with you guys. Here are six pictures from my gait analysis along with commentary from Dr. Bradberry.

Gait Analysis at Greenapple Sports

1. Initiation of the absorption phase (right leg)

In this picture we’re looking at how the lower leg is positioned when you make contact with the ground. We want to see the shin either vertical or slightly leaning forward. When the lower leg is leaning backward, you’re striking heaving on the heal and basically hitting the breaks with each step. This makes continuing to run forward more difficult and is very inefficient. Not to mention the shock that it delivers to the heel, knee and hip. Several potential injuries from this being done over and over.

Gait Analysis at Greenapple Sports
2. Initiation of the absorption phase (left leg)
We see the same thing here, but the knee seems to be slightly more extended. You want the knee slightly flexed to better absorb shock.

Gait Analysis at Greenapple Sports
3. And 4. Mid-stance, right and left leg

The alignment is good here on both. You want to have the head, shoulder, hip and ankle all in line. And you do. The big thing I see on these is that you are so vertical. You’re also extended in the low back and your pelvis is anteriorly tilted. Engage your core and slightly tuck your pelvis. Tucking the pelvis in your case will actually bring you to neutral. It’s also ideal to have a forward lean when you’re running.

Gait Analysis at Greenapple Sports

Think of constantly falling forward. Hinge at the ankles. If you’re leaning forward, your legs just have to support your body and then push off. If you’re vertical, your feet have to reach out, grab the ground, pull your body forward and then push off. Much more work that way. Leaning more forward should also clean up the over striding seen in pictures 1 and 2. Your feet will already be more underneath you when you strike the ground.

Gait Analysis at Greenapple Sports
5. Mid-stance (right leg)

The plumb line shows good alignment here too. It connects head, spine, pelvis, and just inside the right ankle. The horizontal line shows if there’s any collapse in the hips. It is very slight in this picture. Getting a photo in this phase toward the end of a half would be much more telling. You’re right elbow is more flared out than your left. You want the arms tucked in close and moving front to back. When they make their way away from midline, you start to rotate in the torso. This is also wasted energy moving left and right. Tuck those elbows in to your side.

Gait Analysis at Greenapple Sports
6. Mid-stance (left leg)

A good plumb line here too. Much more collapse in the hips, though. This shows weakness in the left gluteus medius. Work on the glute activation exercises and hip stability. Another thing you can do is think of actively making contact with the ground when you run. If you react to the ground after making contact, you’ll sink in your gait before the glutes engage. Then you have to lift yourself back up with the opposite leg. More wasted energy. Be an active runner, not a passive one. This is again something that will become much worse at the tail end of a long run.

In Conclusion

Right around the time I did the gait analysis, a friend of mine posted this photo she snapped of me running on my Facebook timeline. I was like, “Dr. Bradberry is SO right about my vertical posture!” It’s almost like I’m leaning back a little! I have been consciously working to add a little lean/forward momentum to my stride and dare I say that it might be making me a tiny bit faster? Also, Dr. Bradberry taught me a great new glute activation exercise that I’ve been incorporating into my routine as well as some new foam rolling techniques.

If you’re here in Charlotte, I think the gait analysis is super helpful in learning more about how you run. It can help you identify weaknesses and inefficiences which can lead to less injury and faster/smarter running.

What are your winter running goals? Are you training or maintaining?

Have you ever had a gait analysis done?

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jill December 14, 2016, 1:37 pm

    Can you share the new glute activation exercise you learned? I’d love to incorporate it into my routine. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Ashley December 14, 2016, 2:13 pm

      I was going to ask the same thing. I have issues with glute activation and would love to learn any additional exercises to incorporate.

      • Lindsay December 14, 2016, 10:07 pm

        Same here! Would love to learn it as well!

        • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 4:01 pm

          I will share next week ladies! It’s a good one!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 4:18 pm

      Yes! On it. I’ll make a video next week.

  • Rebecca December 14, 2016, 4:44 pm

    Very cool, I bet the gait analysis will be very useful! I have never had one done but it would be interesting to see what it showed.

    I just ran my goal race (Dallas Marathon) on Sunday so I am in recovery mode for now! It was my 5th marathon and my second-best time so I’m very happy! I’m going to need to ramp back up again soon because I am signed up for my first 50k in February, eek!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 4:03 pm

      Rebecca – CONGRATS on Dallas! That is amazing and I’m really happy to hear that it went well for you. AHHHH is right to that 50K. You’re a rockstar!

  • Joy December 17, 2016, 3:52 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Jen. The photos and analysis will help me with my running! I hope to get my gait analyzed some day soon, too.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 3:57 pm

      You’re welcome! I would definitely recommend a gait analysis by a professional if you ever have the chance!

  • tara December 19, 2016, 1:18 pm

    i had a gait analysis done it was via video. watching myself run in slow motion was truly awful i have to say. my plumb line was bad i had lots of drop in the hips. i do think it was good though, as they gave me glute exercises as well to do. i should really do a follow up !

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 3:53 pm

      Haha! I can relate to this. Not a pretty picture to see it all in slo-mo…a dose of reality for sure!

  • Jodie December 22, 2016, 7:16 am

    Great post! Is it possible to share the glute activation exercises and foam rolling techniques?

    • Jen DeCurtins December 25, 2016, 3:17 pm

      Thanks Jodie! Yes, I will try and post them next week!

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