How to Improve your Running Gait

Running is an extremely popular hobby and form of exercise. Millions of people around the world run for various reasons such as to lose weight, to improve fitness levels or simply to spend time exercising. They do this with/without the help of a personal trainer. To run is fairly simple and straightforward:  choose a destination and start running. That is, if you’re a casual runner, of course. If running is a sport or a profession, it is a lot more complicated. There is so much more that goes into it.

Running Piece of Advice No. 1: Analyse your Style

Improve your running style

One of the many important tools serious runners use to improve in their sport is paying attention to – and improving – their gait through rigorous analysis. ‘Gait’ refers to the motion achieved by moving the legs and arms while doing this sport (or performing any movement where any limbs are being used). The analysis of gait is basically the analysis or study of movement while running. It provides runners with important information about their style that they can dissect and use to improve their technique. This information will in turn could make them run more effectively and comfortably.

If you’re a runner, as any good personal trainer will tell you improving your gait is a definite way to improve your time as well as your running comfort and performance. Every runner has a unique style. This means a gait analysis could tell you all you need to know, from how to run faster to finding the perfect shoe.

Running Piece of Advice No. 2: Become Clued up on Pronation

The science behind pronation

One of the most important things analysed through gait analysis is pronation. In an article on the Runners World website, pronation is defined as:

“[Pronation is when the] … outside part of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. The foot “rolls” inward about fifteen percent, comes in complete contact with the ground, and can support your body weight without any problem. The rolling in of the foot optimally distributes the forces of impact … it’s critical to proper shock absorption. At the end of the gait cycle, you push off evenly from the front of the foot.”

Overpronation is when you foot rolls inward too much. Under pronation is where your foot does not roll inward enough. Performing a gait analysis will determine your degree of pronation and style when running. A gait analysis – done by a personal trainer – will tell you what kind of shoe you need. The correct shoe will then counterbalance over or under pronation.

Running Piece of Advice No. 3: Buy the Right Shoe

Buy the best running shoes

Finding the right shoe for a runner is a difficulty that almost all serious runners experience. The correct  shoe can literally mean the difference between winning and losing a race. In addition, the right shoe can prevent injury because of unnecessary stress on the feet and incorrect, often unsafe, foot movements. It also helps you run more effectively. Comfort is also key, so finding a comfortable, efficient shoe makes a world of difference because the wrong shoe can negatively affect your gait.

Foot mapping and gait analysis is a must for all serious runners. For a runner, neglecting to study your  style can lead to unsatisfied running times and performance, uncomfortable runs and even injury. Finding the right running shoe suited to your running style should not be taken lightly as it can quite literally mean winning or losing a race.

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