When I get the great opportunity to work with runners, I go through a process to determine the cause(s) of pain or inefficiency during running. The analysis includes:
A view of your general musculoskeletal and medical issues, most likely related to running, but not necessarily. This includes how much you’ve been running and for how long, or how long since you’ve run at all. The more history I have, the better assessment I can make to give you a good plan to start from and succeed.
A whole body view in standing with shoes off, looking at relaxed stance of the feet, ankles, knees, and hips, as well as shoulders and neck. Is your head forward of your shoulders? Are you slumped in the upper and middle back? Is your lower back arched with your hips sitting forward? Every part works together—this is not just about your legs!
General movement screen: are you tight in that lower back or the hips? How are those hamstrings and calves? The movements I have you go through allows me to see how you are moving through the trunk and how much asymmetry you have in the body.
Flexibility screen in which I bring you through some passive movements to distinguish what specific locations you are tight and therefore needs more focus for you to improve your form.
A look at your running shoes and calluses/blisters can tell me a lot about where you are putting pressure and friction while running. If you land on the heels and push off the toes, this will show up here.
Walking barefoot: this allows for me to see what is going on at the foot and ankle, as well as the knee, hip and pelvis during walking. Patterns that are seen here will be amplified anywhere from 2 to 5 times when you run compared to walking.
Running on the treadmill: video is a great help here due to how fast all the phases of gait occur. I can slow down the video on replay and see what is going on, but also YOU get to see it too. Once you have an idea how you look, then you get a better idea of how to change it. We can nit-pick some details, but the take home point of the video is how to change the big things.
Metronome training: we will tinker with your stride rate by having you keep your steps to the beat of the metronome. It will feel fast, so you will have to shorten your stride to keep up. This is a great way to fix many flaws in your stride without much thinking, and is recommended for people to practice with the metronome at home to smooth out your form.
Re-Check: after practicing on your own, we can schedule a time on the treadmill to video you again. Or you can video yourself and send me it at firstname.lastname@example.org. The NHPT Running Clinic is a great opportunity to work on your form and continue to get feedback.