Understanding Your Running Style
What exactly is a running gait? Well, it’s a fancy way of saying running style. It’s the way in which you run. Like a car each runner is different and thus setup must be taken into consideration. If the wheels (like the runners shoes) wear unevenly or the axles (like the runners legs) are running out of kilter this can spell disaster in the long run ( no pun intended). Let alone potential injury it’s also far from efficient if you are running incorrectly and without the correct footwear.
It is estimated that around 70% of runners over pronate.
Over pronators land on the outer edge of the heel and as the foot progresses through the running motion, it rolls inwards causing the inner forefoot to take excessive amounts of pressure. This video shows what over pronation looks like:
Over pronation places a larger amount of stress on the inside of the foot through the "mid stance" and "propulsion" stage of the running movement. Initially this poses little to no threat of injury, but as times goes by serious repetitive strain injuries can creep in if the incorrect footwear is being worn. This imbalance causes certain muscles to over work, leading to pain and inflammation in the ankles, shins, knees and hips.
Having a professional gait analysis performed by an expert is worth while, but can also be expensive (especially the shoes after the analysis). An easy way to tell if you are over pronanting is to take a look at an old pair of shoes. If you notice excessive wear on the rear outer edge of your shoe and a significant indent on the insole where your big toe goes it is likely that you over pronate.
Neutral runners have it great. They need no special shoes to assist them as they have a perfectly natural running gait which is both efficient and bio-mechanically correct. They have a natural running movement from strike to propulsion and the lower leg and foot remains balanced throughout the motion. A word of warning though. If you are a neutral runner ensure you are buying neutral running shoes to protect that beautiful running style and remain injury free. Here’s what a neutral gait looks like:
Under pronators are very rare. This running gait takes the foot from strike to propulsion on the outside of the foot. Much like over pronation, under pronation can cause a plethora of injuries which could severely hamper training. Here’s what it looks like:
If you already know your running style or have found out your running style the hard way. Be sure to always buy the correct footwear for the job or wear orthotics prescribed by your doctor. If you don’t know your running style is is advisable to get an analysis alternatively you can look at an old pair of shoes or do the ‘Soggy Foot Test’ below: