So, I decided to have a gait analysis to kind of check in with what's up. It's tough because the gait analysis my coach did was on a treadmill. I hadn't run on a treadmill in well over two years and it felt incredibly awkward. I ran with both shoes on, with the superfeet (that I'm returning!) and barefoot. I tried to run just like I run outside though and here are the things my coach and I found when we slowed down the video:
1) My right hip has issues. It's likely weak and can be "fixed" with a lot of focal hip work. I've been slacking on it so it makes sense that this is something that is bothering me. It's also usually common that the right hip presents as a problem and then the left lower leg has issues too - this is what's going on with me as it's my left calf.
2) I shuffle. From race photos I knew that I didn't pick up my heel enough, but apparently it's causing some problems. What's happening is both of my feet turn out at the top of my kick back in order to clear the ground on the way through, then they don't have enough time to fully straighten so I can land supinated and pronate, like I learned is the correct way to land. I land completely flat. Talk about impact!
I overpronate, but not as horribly as I thought. My neutral shoes seem to be okay enough for correcting it. My arch doesn't collapse or anything so I don't need the superfeet. They were starting to really bug me too.
3) My upper body moves too much. It moves a bit more side to side (with a minor rotation to shoulders and hip) instead of back and forward. This one is easy for me to fix. I noticed at the track last night that when I run faster it's something that isn't an issue at all. I just have to be a little more conscious of it on slower runs, but this issue is minor compared to the others. Right now I've decided to mostly focus on hip rehab and strengthening while not running and heel pick up while running for now.
My coach was convinced I was a heel striker too. Some great runners are still heel strikers so really I wasn't too concerned because I knew at the very least I wasn't a massive heel striker. When we slowed down the video and saw the point of impact though, I strike mid-foot. This made me happy because I had been working on shifting my balance and trying to land mid-foot, but I'm happy to have confirmed it. But since I just thud down flat, it's not doing me any favors!
(This is proof that it is really tough to see a lot of gait abnormalities, unless glaring, until you record then slow it down a lot. While you can generally tell if someone is striking more mid than heel, it's not always so black and white and easy to tell from the naked eye. A lot of what my coach 'saw' turned out to be a bit different once on video!)
Changing something like how I land takes a lot of time. I can't really focus on that so I'm focusing on picking up my heels. It feels weird to pick them up higher but I'm working on incorporating it for a minute every 10 minutes or so. Hopefully it'll become more of a second nature after a few months, but it's certainly something I have to be conscious of. Will it correct my foot so I land correctly? I have no clue. We'd like to think so... but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
All in all it was a helpful analysis, though I have to admit I was a little bummed that my coach only scheduled an hour because we were only finishing up watching the videos at that point. I was rushed out of there because he had a personal training session. He sent a follow up email with some pointers but I'm waiting to hear back on a couple other questions I had. I know that we don't pay much for the training sessions, but the cost of this analysis was $100, and that was tough for me to come up with, so I'm trying to get the most out of it!
PS - I have been collecting random pictures, but nothing I want to squeeze in here. I do have some fun stories to tell about my experiences recently in a sensory deprivation float tank though! I've been LOVING it and at some point it'll get a post. Work and working out has taken up a lot of my time recently so I hope to get back to posting more regularly soon. Here's one happy post-float picture at 3am!