5 Reasons I Do a Running Gait Analysis on My Athletes
I am a huge fan of the running gait analysis for several reasons. If you've ever had one done, it usually involves the use of a treadmill, track, or open area where you can be videoed from the front, side, and from the back. Most of what I have learned about running gait analysis is from Ironman University, the gold standard when it comes to triathlon.
1. Running gait analysis helps find solutions to flaws in running form and stride. I always try to do this BEFORE we start a 12 or 16 week program so that we can make positive changes and start implementing them from the get go.
2. Results from running gait analysis can be used to identify running specific drills and strength exercises to improve an athlete's performance. I am big on drills, especially at track workouts because the track is such an easy place to practice them.
3. Athletes who are able to correct flaws in their form and stride are usually able to run faster and with less effort. For example, the goal is to create horizontal propulsion with minimal bounce, and if this is corrected then an athlete's running economy is improved.
4. Gait analysis can give a pretty good measure of an athlete's cadence and their ground contact time- by doing drills that increase cadence, an athlete's stride length and running form are improved.
5. Gait analysis helps coaches to correct many biomechanical issues such as
overpronation or oversupination by adding strength exercises that specifically target those muscles.
Ironman University provides coaches with a Running Gait form which I use with every athlete that I come in contact with. It's best to be there in person, but if distance separates you, then video is fine. There are lots of great apps out there that do slo-mo and other features to help coaches get a closer look at their athlete's run form. Coach's Eye is one that I have used before.