I want to become a better runner.
Not a faster runner, but a better runner.
After finishing my first half marathon, I immediately began looking ahead to my upcoming half marathons in February and May of 2017. Well… not before I took some ibuprofen, elevated my legs, and iced my hips and knees. My joints were so unhappy.
I started wondering if I should consider hiring a coach, seeing a physical therapist, and getting a gait analysis done. But I am living on a serious budget right now (not that you’d ever know it, considering how much I’ve spent on race registrations and running gear despite living on a temp salary). I decided to start with most affordable and least time-intensive option: gait analysis.
Gait analysis is a holistic review of your entire body while in motion with attention paid to posture, hip alignment and movement, knees, ankles, and feet. I knew going into this that I do the following when I run:
- land on the heel of my foot (AKA: heel-striking)
- “flick” my feet as I pull them forward
I threw a feedback request out to my local MRTT group and heard back from several people about seeing Christine at Apple Therapy for my gait analysis. Thankfully, she takes appointments before the sun comes up, so I was easily able to pop in for an hour-long session before work.
Image Credit: Apple Therapy Services
I showed up for my 6:30am appointment in spandex-on-spandex-on-spandex. I figured the less blousy my attire was, the better she’d be able to see what’s going on with my body when I run.
The appointment started conversationally – Christine wanted to hear about why I wanted the analysis, how long I’ve been running, what my future plans are for running. My answers:
- I’ve been running 5Ks monthly for the last year (and sporadically for the four-ish years prior), and just completed my first half marathon,
- I have three half marathons scheduled in the first half of 2017, plus any other 5K or 10K races I decide to register for (I’m a sucker for a road race),
- I would like to run the Wineglass Marathon in October 2017,
- I haven’t experienced any severe pain out of what I would consider the ordinary, but I want the gait analysis NOW, before I develop any (or more) bad habits or do any real damage.
I mentioned that my hip flexors and knees were miserable in the last three miles of my half marathon, but that they recovered fairly quickly. I also mentioned that lately, my left hip joint has felt a little angry, even when I’m doing something as mundane as walking through the parking lot at work.
So she had me hop on a treadmill…
Thanks for reading part 1 of my gait analysis experience. Stay tuned for part 2, going live on November 25th.