Enhance your running performance with a professional analysis. If you’re a runner who, like me, has dealt with nagging injuries, is looking to see some improvement in performance, or just wondered about how good your running technique really is, my recent experience at the Fitstuff Clinic & RunLab might be useful.
I’m not a pro runner, just someone who enjoys running for fun and for the physical and mental benefits it brings. Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy getting a personal best in an event or seeing my performance improve.
This year I tackled my first marathon. It was incredible, but my knees were in agony after the race and for the following few days. Over the last decade of running, I've had my share of knee trouble and an old hip injury that persists in the background. Running is a physical and mental boost for me, so it’s important to know I can continue doing it in the long run while reaping the benefits, rather than causing myself harm.
During a sports massage session with Philippa, Registered Osteopath and Sports Therapist at the Fitstuff Clinic, she mentioned that I might benefit from knowing more about my running technique. I started thinking, how might my running form be affecting my injuries? Honestly, I knew next to nothing about my own running technique.
So I went to see Andy, a qualified running biomechanics and technique specialist, in the Fitstuff Clinic, and learnt a lot of surprising information about my running. Andy gave me some eye-opening insights into my technique and now, I'm working on improvements that can prevent injuries and boost my future race times.
What is a 3D running analysis?
For endurance runners below the professional level, technique can often be overlooked as a key part of injury prevention and improving performance.
At the Fitstuff Clinic, they offer an advanced 3D running analysis using MotionMetric technology. Their innovative approach is geared towards helping runners of all abilities enhance their performance while minimising the risk of injury.
I had a chat with Andy who explained, “The 3D system at the clinic generates a tonne of data by capturing your running from multiple angles and creating a 3D model of your running form on the computer. MotionMetrix uses infrared cameras and custom software to provide an assessment of your biomechanics. It offers a deep understanding of your running economy, stride performance, gait symmetry and joint loading.”
Andy went on to explain, “from this data, we can extract lots of valuable insights to optimise your performance, identify potential causes of injury, make necessary tweaks to your technique, and provide you with a personalised report based on your running analysis. This data can uncover subtle issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, potentially putting you at risk of future injuries or limiting your performance.”
My run analysis experience
My appointment began with a discussion about my weekly running routine, running history, goals, and about recurring injuries or discomfort I’ve faced.
After this, I carried out a short warm-up run on the treadmill. We discussed my goal to improve my 10km time and to conquer a half marathon without experiencing that familiar knee pain at the finish line. To ensure accuracy, Andy set the running analysis to match my current 10km pace, allowing us to scrutinise my form at the right speed.
Post-run, Andy interpreted the wealth of data generated by the 3D analysis. With Andy's expertise, we examined various aspects of my running performance, including mechanical load, elastic potential, and efficiency to my forward lean, overstride, vertical displacement, and more. You can see some of this data in the picture below.
While I displayed ‘excellent’ elastic potential, which Andy put down to my years of sprinting and hurdling, he helped me to identify areas for improvement such as my forward lean, overstride, and excessive lateral force (swaying side to side too much).
Using the data provided and the video footage, Andy traced some of these areas back to problems with my technique; my stiff shoulders and rigid arms. This was my first area to work on to improve overall technique, performance, and mitigate some risk of injury.
Andy also pinpointed knee asymmetry during my run with my left leg taking more load than my right, and he explained that this could be a compensating mechanism for a weaker right leg. The observed instability between my left and right sides likely influences my runs 5km and upwards, as my legs grow more fatigued than what Andy observed during my treadmill session. This was an important observation and a key area for improvement if I wanted to run better, with less pain, in the future.
Suspecting a balance or strength issue in my right leg, Andy guided me through a series of unilateral strength and balance exercises to find the problem area. My hip balance checked out, but the strength and balance around my knees needed work, evident from my wobbles while attempting single-leg squats and glute bridges. Andy emphasised the importance of single-leg movements, especially for runners.
So my prescription? Incorporate more single-leg strength exercises into my training routine and work on my shoulder mobility. In six weeks, I'll revisit Andy to assess the impact on my running technique, with expected benefits for my performance.
What are the different services the Fitstuff Clinic offers?
Fitstuff offers a range of services, each catering to different aspects of your running journey. They offer both a standard 45-minute running analysis and a more in-depth 90-minute running analysis, allowing you to choose based on your budget and running goals. Additionally, they have a dedicated session for a premium shoe fit and custom 3D Printed Custom Foot Orthotics.
Whatever your sport or your running goals, a run analysis at the Fitstuff Run Clinic provides key insights into your performance, technique, and risk of injury. In the long run, knowing where you’re going wrong and getting your technique right can make a huge difference.
For more details on the services offered by Fitstuff Clinic, you can explore their website. Whether you’re an experienced runner or just starting out, Fitstuff Clinic has something for all to help you improve your running experience.
I want to thank Andy for such an informative, personalised, and comprehensive session that has provided me with valuable insights into my running. I’m looking forward to working on the exercise programme Andy recommended and seeing the positive impact it has on my 10km performance and injury prevention.