The results of the running analysis I had done yesterday were pretty much expected, and support what the physio said about glutes, abs and hip flexors!
They took my running history, including injuries, and then set the treadmill to a 10k pace whilst they took a video from the back and the side. They were really lovely, and given that my session was a freebie I was really impressed at the time they took to discuss everything with me afterwards.
There were a number of things wrong! (some of which I’d already guessed). Firstly, my torso rotates too much, thanks to my arms swinging across it rather than forwards and backwards. Of course, any rotation in the upper body is translated to the lower joints (knees, ankles) and causes problems.
Secondly, I overstride, meaning I heel strike (increasing the impact on my knees). I also don’t bring my feet up high enough, which means that I run really inefficiently as I’m not generating much energy at all with each stride. Apparently, the industry lingo for this is ‘shuffle runner’ – not a name I want to keep!
She explained that this is because I have weak glutes. When I mentioned I often ache in my calves, she said that they’re compensating because my glutes aren’t engaged when I run. Looks like it’s going to be regular squats and lunges for me!
Thirdly, my left foot is rotated outwards as I land. The reason she gave for this was that I might have tight hip flexors. The physio mentioned this too, and it explains the shin/upper foot pain I’ve been having (and why this pain eases off a few miles into a run, once I’m warmed up and have eased into my stride).
The thing is, changing my running style is something I’ve always really struggled with. On the treadmill, if a niggle starts I can generally adjust and fix it (though once I start to get tired, it inevitably comes back, and I have to consciously re-adjust!)
I’ve given myself some goals for the next few weeks, to try and correct my running style before my training mileage begins to increase:
- Strengthening exercises for glutes and core stability muscles
- Stretch hip flexors and tight muscles regularly, including foam rolling
- Work on landing under my centre of gravity, and not over-striding
- Try to work on a mid-foot strike, rather than heel striking
- Use arms for forward propulsion, and avoid swinging them across my torso
- Pick my feet up higher with each stride, and increase cadence
- Try and keep both feet in line! (Stretching hip flexors should help)
I’m hoping that as my running technique becomes more efficient, my injuries should reduce and my times should get better. We’ll see!