Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Running Analysis

I'm back! Some of you who have been reading my blog may have noticed I took a hiatus. Well, I now have a little to take care of. She is 6 weeks old today. 
I was feeling feeling miserable towards the end of the 1st trimester but able to resume running in the beginning of the 2nd trimester. I ran until I was 7 months pregnant. Then I decided it was time for my body to transition to walking. I resumed running at 4 weeks postpartum . For the most part, I feel pretty good. However, there is a bit of nagging foot pain on my right side. I decided to do my own running analysis. 


Like I suspected, the angle that my right foot contacts the ground is much steeper, 20 degrees vs 12 degrees, then my left (Bottom photos). The steep angle suggests a decrease in surface area that my foot has to dissipates force when it hits the ground. This causes increase stress to the structures on the outside of my foot. If left unattended, it can eventually lead to inner foot pain due to the larger distance my big toe has to reach the ground. 

Why is My Foot Doing That?

During swing phase my right foot turns out more that my left (top photos, a little confusing but the "right" and "left" is for stance leg). This is a sign that I circumduct or "circle" my foot as I swing my foot from back to front. The foot naturally turns up to make sure the big toe clears the ground when the foot makes contact. 
Circumduction occurs due to an improper push off from the ground. This is a result of ... WEAK GLUTES. When the glutes are strong the muscles function to control extension of the femur as the leg pushes back. However, when the muscles are weak, the femurs not properly controlled by the glutes. Due to gravity and weight of the leg, the foot turned outward.


The best way improve form is to focus on proper muscle recruitment. I don't see this as changing my form. I see as training my body to use the appropriate use muscles. 

Stand tall and lean forward from the pelvis from both sides. You would be surprised at how different each side can be. Then "cycle" the knees. I use the cue "push the knee back" as it contacts the ground. Don't worry, your knee will never fully straighten. Using the "push the knee back" cue will force the femur to extend straight back. Having the appropriate posture will allow your body to be in proper alignment to use the gluteal muscles. If you were to stand up without a forward lean, you will most likely feel your quadriceps when you "push the knees back" cue. 

In latter part of the video, you can see in the "normal form" my body is behind my pelvis and I land with a heel contact. This leads to instability of my core and lack of control of my lower extremities. In the "cycling knees", my body is over my pelvis and I land with a mid foot contact. There is improve core stability and control of my legs ( and no pain in my foot) Now, I have to be able to maintain muscle recruitment through my run. Research shows initially the muscles will be activated for 20-30 seconds before fatigue onset (muscle and nervous system). I remind myself every few minutes to stand up straight, push my pelvis forward and cycle my knees.

The above pictures shows a change in angle after cycling the knees using the "push the knees back" cue. The angle of the right foot during swing went from 17 degrees to 10 degrees ( and left leg 8 degrees). The angle of the foot during initial contact with the ground went from 20 degrees to 8 degrees (left leg 12 degrees). There is a 2 degree range
in the different positions that I measured.

Please let me know what you think. 

With these techniques, during 2016 I went from running a mile with pain to being able to run 13 miles without pain in 6 months.

Here's baby JuJu ( 5 weeks 6 days) and I post videoing

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