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Gait Analysis: Judging Shoes Like American Idol

Alison Meek, a D.C. resident who trains in Georgetown, shares her experience of becoming a long-distance runner. One mile at a time.

What an odd training week. Two more weeks of packing on the miles and then
it’s taper time and I intend to fully embrace the taper. Don’t get me wrong, I love running long distance, but I feel like my body is about ready to take it down a notch, recover from some injuries and discomfort and focus on the mental aspect of conquering my marathon. I have done all I can to make my body ready for it.

A lot of people have been asking me if I am ready for my run. I think I am, but I
am also not sure if you’re ever 100 percent prepared with what you will need on
the day.

Due to my recent I have been playing around with my footwear a
bunch this week. My new shoes are awesome, comfortable and feel good on, but I am not convinced they are "it" for the big day. I am starting to feel like a judge on American Idol: they can make it to the next round, but I am not sure they are the winners.

A good pair of shoes is probably the most important thing an endurance runner will ever own. Most injuries can be blamed on incorrect footwear, including runners knee.

So how do I pick my right shoe out of the wide array brands, style, options and colors out there? One of the best options is to participate in a gait analysis. It is commonly used in sports biomechanics to help athletes run more efficiently and to identify posture-related or movement-related problems in people with injuries.

is a great place to stop in for this. They analyze your gait (foot strike) as you test different shoes on their in-house treadmill. A video monitor set up behind you will enable you to see while in motion how your gait can be affected by the shoes you wear and help identify the correct category of shoe for
you.

Gait analysis shows you exactly what your foot does. There are, overpronators (involves external rotation at the hip, knee, or ankle), supinators (initially strikes the ground on the lateral side of the heel and transfers weight from the heel to the metatarsus, the foot will not roll far enough in a medial direction) or the lucky few neutrals.

After finding the correct shoe there are also recommended insoles to support a high arch or extra heel support for flat footers.

Whatever happened to the day where all it took was a trip to Sports Authority and pick up some that are your favorite color or that looked really cool being worn by some celebrity on the commercial?

I’m closing the door on my awkward week of training through an injury (and completely on my own due to my work schedule) and I am ready to start a new one. I plan on finishing up the “shoe audition” this week by doing a long run with each shoe I  have, that way if I decide I need to continue searching, I can deal with
that this weekend.

I'll leave you with a knee update: not cured but improved! I spent the week icing
and stretching in any down time I had and wore a compression sleeve, except for sleeping. I even found a more flexible sleeve to wear during runs which helps a ton. Reluctantly, I decided to play it smart so I can jump back into training head first this week and broke up my 12 miler this weekend into two runs. That gave my knee time to stretch and rest while still getting the appropriate miles under my belt.

I'm ready for this new, and better week of training and shoe auditioning, almost
exactly one month to go!

Pro Gait Analysis April 01, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Great post Alison, thank you for sharing! Here at Pro Gait Analysis we highly recommend having your gait analysed before changing the type of shoes you run / train in.

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