Well, it’s official. This is what I look like while running:
On Friday, while Jay got a sports massage, I had my running gait analyzed by a running coach at the Athlete Recovery Center. It was quite the wake-up call.
I opted to head to the Center because eventually my leg will heal and I WILL start running again. <Do you hear that, Leg? Heal, damn you!> When I start back up, I don’t want to stop again for another injury.
I met with Dan, the Newton Certified Running Coach, and explained my OCR/running and injury history. He had asked me to bring my running shoes, current and previous if I had them. I brought my Nikes, Brooks, and both pairs of Inov-8s. My Nikes are trash. My Bare-X Lites are too advanced. The Brooks were what I used for the analysis.
Before getting to the actual running, he checked my regular relaxed standing posture. It wasn’t pretty.My left shoulder is a million miles higher than my right. My poor right leg takes all of my weight, while my left leg just relaxes like an unemployed pothead living in its mother’s basement. Much like the pothead, my left leg has become a total slacker, which was evident when I viewed the video that Dan took while I ran.
First, the good news about my running: I don’t bounce much. My head stays more or less at the same height. I also don’t heel-strike that badly. OK, yeah, that’s all the good news.
While my right leg has a fairly nice looking stride with my upper leg and butt pushing me forward like good little muscles, my slacker of a left leg/butt leaves all the work to the calf. The calf is not happy about this since it really isn’t meant for that kind of thing. Its not built to move a whole body. Could this be why my tibia has checked out of the whole running thing? Why, yes. It is also causing my left arm to practically flail, while my right arm swings at a nice level. The arm is trying to pull me forward.
If you view me from the front while I run, I’m running on a tight rope.My feet go right in front of the other, which would be great if I was walking up to receive my Miss America crown and bouquet. It’s not so great for running because my left leg is going right, the right leg is going left, and nobody’s going forward.
Next up was my feet and they are actually pretty good for the whole running thing. It’s my shoes that are holding them back. All the stabilizing features are keeping my foot and toes from flexing.
The take-home from all this is actually good! I am not a hopeless case! I am aware of how my body is moving (although I never knew how bad it was until this.) My head posture is good, and my feet are strong when not being destabilized by those darn stability shoes. If I work on my butt strength, stability, and foot placement I can undo all the bad habits that my body has picked up.
This experience has been so much better than just going to a running store and getting shoes to ‘correct’ my problems. Those shoes may keep my ankles from over-pronating, but what were they going to do to get my leg to extend farther or keep my feet properly positioned? Nothing. Only my muscles can do that. You go to a personal trainer for help with your form in the gym, why not on the road? I highly recommend going for a real gait analysis from someone who isn’t trying to sell you a pair of shoes. You will be amazed at the things you never knew you were doing.
As soon as my stress reaction is no longer causing me pain, I will back in Piermont to learn how to run at my best.