Running analysis – does it work. That is the question I was asking myself.
As many runners I suffer from ‚runners‘ arrogance. I ‚know‘ which shoe I should be running cause I’ve been running that shoe for years. As many other runners I am great at lying to myself and ignoring the fact that my running injuries, soreness and muscle tension might have anything to do with my running style, core strength or choice of shoes.
Nevertheless and despite ‚knowing‘ it better anyways I decided to check out a proper running analysis. Not the ‚hop on the treadmill in a running store, run for 150 meters and have a semi-educated (if lucky) sales rep tell me what to wear while he influenced by his sales numbers‘ running analysis. Why? Simple: My curiosity is still bigger than my ‚runners arrogance‘ 😉
So one beautiful Friday morning I hopped in the car and enjoy the German Autobahn 0n my way to Hamburg to meet up with Liesa – the running analysis pro in the offices of running insole specialist ‚Currex‘. If you are thinking orthotics right now you are way off. The principle of Currex is to activate your foot and your feet’s muscles again and help them ‚get back to the times when you were still young‘.
The set up:
I didn’t entirely know what to expect and I was positively surprised when I showed up. No matter if it was magic tricks Liesa was performing or science but the set up alone got me quite excited. The treadmill was a two way running treadmill filmed by 3 cameras. Front, rear, overhead. Before even getting on the treadmill stands and flexibility were analyzed, possible injuries, tensions and so on tested for and the body marked with numerous measurement points to guarantee maximum accuracy when analyzing the videos afterwards. With especially my legs looking a little like a ‚drunken tattoo night gone wrong‘ I was ready to hit the treadmill.
Liesa made me run almost 2km. 500 meters one direction on the treadmill barefoot, 500 meters the other direction to make sure to film my running motion from all sides on all cameras. Afterwards it was the same with my choice of running shoes on. After close to 2km on the treadmill I was allowed to jump off. 2km of running should deliver sufficient data.
Analyzing the analysis:
Analyzing the analysis with Liesa after the video taping – even in the short form – blew me away. I had no expectations on what data I would possibly receive after the test but even the ‚first look‘ was so much more detailed than expected. From knee angle on impact, to knee angle at push off, hip flexion, hip drop on each side, knee lift angle and so on and on and on was analyzed and all of it has a meaning. Weaknesses and strengths came to light, shoe recommendations, strengthening needs, stretching guidelines and so on are just some of the factors I have learned about.
Here is just a few of the things I learned for myself: The general running form is good and there is no major issues but the hip is dropping too much left and right during the running stride. Something I would have blamed on my core stability but it turns out my core stability is just fine. It is the hip abductors that need strengthening. For all I know I could have bored myself to death with sit ups and planks and still wouldn’t have improved my hip issues.
I also waste a bit of power and performance by not extending my leg enough backwards when running. Something that isn’t an issue in daily running but if worked on can improve overall performance and I have not given up on that new Marathon PB quite yet.
Those are just 2 of the many things I have learned. This experience was so cool that I am very eager to work on the issues and then have a follow up analysis in a couple of months to see if I was able to improve on it. Despite that it added a whole new level of motivation to my running.
One of the coolest things I have done in a while which I never thought I would do. I learned so much more than I expected and feel so much more confident in my running now after understanding a lot of the mechanics and knowing what I need to work on in order to improve performance. This is for everybody from beginner to top runner and especially those who think they can’t run for some injury, hip misplacement and so on reasons might be very positively surprised.
Here is a look at what some of the slides in the extremely detailed after report look like: