Yesterday afternoon I had a running analysis done at the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Clinic. I checked in and was told I wasn't on the schedule. Thankfully they found my appointment and I was given a form to fill out.
The form asked about running history: years running, injuries, surfaces you run on, types of workouts you regularly do, brief health history and type and age of shoes.
I then was introduced to Sara, the PT who would be working with me. She started off by reviewing the form with me and getting more information about my running goals and more about my recent stress reaction.
The next phase was more analysis. She watched me squat, stand on one leg, hop on one leg, squat on one leg. She then pushed on various parts of my legs to test my strength - one of those "don't let me push down on your leg/hip/etc".
The next phase was treadmill running. My colleague recommended that I wear shorts and a shirt that are different colors based on her experience. I ended up wearing my booty shorts because I thought those would give the best view of everything (RUMP SHAKER, ha ha ha). The treadmill was a Woodway. This was my first experience running on one of these and it was definitely strange. The belt is tracked to make it more like outdoor running. I really liked that aspect of it. The strange part was that there were no sides or front resulting in a very open feel which made me feel like I was going to fall off! She wanted me running close to my normal pace for this part and acknowledged that it might feel harder at a slower pace on this treadmill. I settled in at a 7:47 pace. After a few minutes, she watched me from the front, side and back and then started videotaping me. I tried to not run "perfectly" as I was worried I might since I was really self-conscious having someone watch me! I ran a little under a mile total, I would guess.
We then went back into the exam room to review tape. This was my favorite part. She had a form and we examined my body from head to toe while running. The program used to video captures a lot of frames so you can view in slow motion and stop. There is also a built in tool to measure angles your body parts make with the ground and each other. CRAZY.
All in all, I don't do anything super concerning. I guess this doesn't entirely surprise me. The things that I have to work on are also not surprising:
1) The biggest thing that she recommends is engaging my core while running as I have a tendency (shown on video) to arch my lower back while running so working on NOT doing that will give me more stability and support. This goes beyond just doing core exercises (which I also need to do). She said that you can have a really strong core but if you aren't using it when you run, then it's not doing any good. The exercise she taught me to practice this (beyond practicing engaging core when running) is to tie a resistance band around something stable and my ankle, stand on a stool, put my hands on my hips and do a running motion with my leg while making sure my pelvis doesn't dip forward.
2) My right knee has a slight tendency to do a medial rotation upon impact with the ground. This could be caused by tight hip flexors but also may just be a goofy thing I do. She wants me to practice doing a bound on my right side and focus on making my knee face forward. This made a lot of sense to me as this is something I notice (and dislike) in all of my race photos.
3) I sometimes over stride. This wasn't consistent on the video footage but occurred often enough that she pointed it out. "Keep your feet under you". I have definitely suspected that I do this, especially during speed workouts. My new hypothesis for why I have a stress reaction is all of the speed work I was doing earlier this spring/summer - likely over striding through most of it.
While we were reviewing the video footage, she gave a lot of helpful tips and pointers regarding where you want different parts of your body to be during running. I was happy that for most of it, I was in the "acceptable" range. I was expecting my hips to be weaker than they actually were. I had no "hip dip" when watching me run from the back.
The session closed with her teaching me the two exercises and then I was on my way. I can opt to have a 30 minute follow up appointment to use however I choose whenever I want.
I ran 3 miles last night and really tried focusing on all the stuff she said, mostly on the core engagement. It felt really unnatural! I am going to try to do more of the core sections in the Hit Reset book as those do a great job of explaining what muscles to engage while running.
Oh! And I found out last night, once and for all, that I am a heel striker, although more of the front part of the heel (trending towards midfoot) than the back. I had always wondered about that!
Bottom Line: I recommend this experience! It is $100, and I was able to use my health savings account (HSA) debit card to pay for it.