Biomechanical Run Analysis

"I am sure that the running techniques and drills you had us working on have contributed to my success as I have been consciously trying to integrate these into my training. The posture, cadence, footfall and hip mobility work has improved my technique and I will continue to build these into my day to day training. I now find when I begin to flag or feel heavy whilst running my first thoughts fall to your advice and by consciously working on just one or two of the things you showed us, it can lift my running and distract my mind to the more positive mind set of improving".

Do you often suffer from little niggling injuries and aches and pains which stop you running and hold back your training, or are you frustrated with your running and feel that you really should be able to run faster for the amount of effort you are putting in? Then our Biomechanical Run Analysis is for you!

What can you expect at your Biomechanical Run Analysis?

When you arrive we will discuss how much running you have been doing, any injuries or aches and pains you have been suffering and the types of shoes you are currently running in.  We will also discuss your run training and racing to date and your goals for the future so that we can build up a good picture of your running history and future aspirations.

We want to see what your running looks like before discussing or suggesting any changes so we will fit you with our RunScribe Gait Analysis System which provides a comprehensive range of metrics measured during your run, including

  • Stride rate
  • Ground contact time
  • Footstrike type
  • Pronation angle and velocity
  • Symmetry
  • Flight ratio
  • Pelvic tilt, drop and rotation

RunScribe gives us a comprehensive picture of your running but we will also video your run from both sides, in front and behind so that we can build up a full picture of your running. We will take whole body video from a fixed position and also take additional slo-mo video of any aspects of your running which we want to analyse particularly closely.

 

We will give you time to warm up, then ask you to run for a few minutes at 3 different paces as we collect data and video. We will also ask you to perform some balance, strength and flexibility exercises.  From this point the process is very flexible depending on what we have seen to date, but it is likely that we will ask you to practise the corrective run drills and/or exercises which we feel will give most benefit for your running.

Following your session we will send you a report which details all the stages of the analysis and gives you details of the running drills and exercises we have discussed during the session.

Biomechanical Run analysis can be either a one off session to give some initial direction for run improvements or a series of sessions where we can analyse and monitor improvements in each subsequent session, revising the report to take improvements and changes in form into account and keep the improvements moving forward.

What Should I Wear For My run Assessment?

For your run assessment it is best to wear running shorts and a light running tee shirt. The assessment does not include a lot of hard running but you are likely to run for approximately 15 minutes with a few minutes at about the pace you could maintain for 45 minutes. 

Biomechanical Run Analysis Prices

Biomechanical Run Assessment and Report

 £100.00

Biomechanical Run Assessment with Run Economy Test and Report

£140.00

Monthly Follow Up Sessions

£50

Monthly Follow Up Sessions with Run Economy Test

£70

 

Improving Your Run Form

Improving your running form can be very beneficial in the medium to long term, it can dramatically improve your run economy and pace and reduce injury risk, but it is hard and you have to be prepared to work at it!

Running economy is calculated by measuring the amount of oxygen you require to run at a given pace and research has shown us that the way you run at the moment is currently the most economical way for you to run.  Some people have postulated that this means that you cannot improve your run form because you are already at you most economical, but don't believe them!

When you begin to introduce changes in form which may be an improvement, but is not your natural way of running then your oxygen consumption goes up at a given pace. You also have to concentrate hard to do it which uses more brain power and energy so overall it feels like hard work. It is important to introduce the changes gradually and to keep working on them until it becomes your natural way of running and you don't have to focus on it constantly.

In addition to using video and Run Scribe to analyse your run gait we can also measure oxygen uptake during your session to give us an additional measure of run form which we can use for comparison in future sessions.  In order to do this we will fit you with a face mask for part of the analysis session to allow us to collect and analyse oxygen uptake and CO2 production.

 

Order of Introducing Changes

Everybody is different, so there is no "one size fits all" procedure for running form improvement, or for our Run Assessment, but the notes below will give you a flavour for what we might go through to improve your form.

Posture

Until we get your posture right everything else is going to be a struggle. 

If you don't have good posture when you are sitting or walking it is unlikely that you have good posture when running. Poor posture when we run can have a big effect on you running, limiting your ability to generate a good ground reaction when we land and our ability to have a nice, fast leg swing and a good cadence. Remember what your mum used to tell you,  When we are walking or running we want to stand tall, shoulders back, head up, hips under our shoulders with our pelvis in a level position and a slight arch in our lower back.  Even when you are sitting sit tall and don't slouch!

Think about it the next time you are out for a walk, are you walking upright with your shoulders back or slumped forward, staring at the ground in front of you, or, even worse,  your phone?  We now all spend a significant amount of time sitting at computers and looking down at phones.

If you feel like you are slumping, lift your head up, pull your shoulders back and shoulder blades down and see if it feels better.

When you run we want to see you run tall and proud, head up and looking towards the horizon. Your upper body should be tall with a long spine and a slight curve in your lower back.  don't let your head fall forward as it is heavy and tends to pull the rest of your upper body forward.

Your shoulders should not be slumped forward, but you don't need to pull them unnaturally far back. This makes you look banana shaped with a backwards lean. They should be far enough back that your chest in nice and open.

Foot Placement

You will read a lot about heel striking, mid foot and forefoot landing.  In our opinion a mid foot landing where your forefoot and heel touch the ground together is best, however it is less important than the position of your foot in relation to your knee and your upper body. We would like to see you land with your shin vertical and your knee directly above your ankle. If you are overstriding then you will most likely land on your heel, with your foot well in front of your body, your shin pointing backwards and very little flex at your knee. 

Landing with your foot well in front of you causes a braking effect every time you land, it also means that it takes longer for your foot to pass under your body and you cannot start to generate any propulsive force until your foot has passed under your centre line.  Running is all about pushing, not pulling. If you are overstriding it is likely that you will run with a low stride rate and simply focusing on increasing your stride rate will reduce your over striding.

Arm Swing

Improving how you use your arms can have a small but positive effect on your running. If your posture is good it should be relatively easy to introduce an efficient arm swing. Your arm movements should be economical but positive and you should focus on driving your elbow straight back, with limited movement in front of your body. If you tend to hunch forward at the shoulders then it is likely that you let your arms swing in front of your body as you run and then may cause excessive and wasteful upper body movements.  If you run with your elbows out it may be a sign that you are lacking in stability and you are using your arms to help your balance in the same way that it is easier to balance on one leg with your arms extended to the side (try it and see).

Increased Knee Flex in Swing

Runners with better run form usually have increased knee flex of the leg which is off the ground and swinging forward.  This varies with speed and knee flex should increase as the get faster, but generally if your swing foot always stays very close to the ground it is very difficult to increase your stride length without over striding. If you can lift your foot off the ground faster and higher you have more room for your leg to move under your body and because your leg is less straight it will swing forward faster allowing you to increase stride rate.

 

Limited Knee flex in Stance

It is important that when you land your knee is slightly flexed in order to help absorb the shock of landing. Even when you are running at a modest pace you will land with a force of about 2.5 times your bodyweight. It is important that this force does not cause you to sink excessively as you move to mid stance as you then need to use valuable energy straightening your leg and pushing your upper body back upwards before you can push off the ground.