Several of my teammates had their running gait professionally analyzed by Dr. Maggs, a sports chiropractor, and provider of other rehab services, and I thought it would be beneficial for me to have my gait assessed as well. I mainly wanted to understand how I could run more efficiently and reduce injuries.
The process was a quick warmup around the parking lot for about 1/3 mile so that I could get into my natural stride, and then Dr. Maggs would take video of my running from different angles. Here's the video:
And here is another video from a different angle. I feel like the camera is adding 10 pounds here. I swear I don't look that heavy in person!!!
I know this isn't supposed to be a vanity video, but I can't help thinking that it highlights my extra energy stores.
Anyway, after the video was recorded we watched the play back in slow motion, frequently pausing the video. The main area for improvement was my hips. I'm lacking in hip flexor and glute strength so when I land, my opposite hip droops down out of alignment. He said that this is a moderate problem and that it's more noticeable in other runners, but it's definitely something that should be addressed. I do it more when I land on my left foot, resulting in my left foot pronating more than my right foot. He told me I looked completely neutral in my right foot and that the Brooks Adrenalines are probably too much stability for me.
His theory on my peroneal tendon issue is that I don't pronate on the right foot so my stability shoe is causing supination (the opposite of pronation). While I can see how this might be contributing, I ran far more miles in 2010 in the Adrenaline than I am currently running with no injuries. I think my foot slapping correction is the more direct cause, although eventually I might move away from the Adrenaline.
Dr. Maggs gave me a series of strengthening exercises for my glutes and hip flexors that specifically mimic running motion. He said that you cannot consciously change this gait issue-- you simply need more strength and targeted exercises. This is good because the last time I consciously changed my gait I ended up with Peroneal issues! Eventually he thinks I can move to a more minimalist shoe once I correct the hip weakness. I started the exercises last week and will continue to do them. I just worry about overdoing it and being sore for a run.
The good news is that overall I have good running form. He says that my cadence is close to perfect and my posture is excellent (thank you ballet!) He said if he had to nit-pick, I was over-striding very slightly, but it was barely noticeable. I was really expecting there to be all sorts of problems, but I was happy to learn that I only have one real area for improvement.
Here is a link to the gait analysis results for Katie, Amy, and Cristina.
Update on the foot. I took six full days off of running (I did pool running, swimming and the elliptical instead). On Thursday, I ran 4 easy miles near my gym so I could hop on the elliptical immediately after for a "tempo". I was 100% pain free during the run and for the rest of the day. Today, I did feel a hint of "something's there" when I woke up, but now it's silent. In fact, it's been the trend that I feel "something there" every morning, but it vanishes completely by noon. So as I write this, there isn't even a hint of anything in my leg or my foot. I am planning on running 18 miles tomorrow, but I am fully prepared to cut that run short at the first hint of anything.