Today was one of those days when I woke up totally confused. I couldn’t remember what day it was or why my alarm was going off at the crack of dawn. It even took me a few minutes to remember how to shut off the annoying alarm clock. Then, my head cleared and I remembered that I was on planet Earth and today was my appointment for a gait analysis.
But first I had to give my fur baby Sunny some love and attention. He loves playing with emery boards. He’s really such a strange cat, but I love him!
Then it was off to see the exercise physiologist. The sports chiropractor who’s been treating this frustrating psoas pain referred me for a gait analysis, thinking there may be something in my running form that is contributing to the pain. I had no idea what to expect, but I was told to wear shorts and running shoes to the appointment. I wished myself luck before heading into the clinic.
The gait analysis was a highly technical event. The physiologist attached this accelerometer (I think that’s what he called it) around my chest to collect different data during the test. Then, in bare feet, I walked on the treadmill for a couple of minutes to get warmed up while he was putting all my information into a computer with the most massive screen I’ve ever seen.
When the computer was ready, he sped up the pace and began recording my walking gait and counting my cadence. Then, he increased the speed again so that I was running at a comfortable pace, about 9:30/mile, and again recorded me running and counted my cadence. Then, we repeated the whole thing with shoes on. First, I walked. Then, I ran at the 9:30 pace, but this time, he also took me up to 7:30/mile pace for just a bit.
So then the analysis started. He pulled up the different videos and did things like measure the angle of pronation (how much my feet turn out) of my legs, the angle of my feet hitting the deck, the angle of my forward lean. Fascinating stuff. He showed me how my feet hit the ground, and interestingly enough, how my feet hit the ground differed between bare feet and feet in shoes. He also noticed that my right hip dropped lower than my left and that my right foot hit the ground harder than the right. He could measure the G-force of each foot as it came down. Seriously, so fascinating!
He showed me that I also have a bit of cross-over. So, ideally, when you run, each leg should land in line with your hip. If you picture a mark down the center of the road, each leg should land outside the mark, but when I run, sometimes my feet cross that center line.
The good news was that essentially my form was good. I had just about the right amount of forward lean. My back leg was at a good height, and my arm motion was good. Yay!
What it all boiled down to was I have weak glutes and a weak core. Yep, my butt muscles still aren’t strong enough. CrossFit has helped, but apparently, not enough. So…more exercises. I’ll be doing lots of bridges, planks, bird dogs (where you’re on your hands and knees and opposite arms and legs extend at the same time) and bent knee raises (basically running in the air). The way he taught me to do the bridges and bent knee raises is to relax my belly and then pull my bellybutton to my spine as I squeeze my glutes and then go into a bridge or bent knee raise. Yep, that’ll work your core and glutes! Who knew that running was so involved?
So I’ve got my work cut out for me. He wants to do an evaluation of my gait again in 12 weeks, so I can’t not do these exercises! But seriously, even though this seems like such a big pain in the neck, it’s an easy thing to do to be able to run without pain and injury. And I’ve got a 20 mile run coming up this weekend which will give me all kinds of time to practice landing on my feet in the right place!
What did you do today?