I Did a Gait Analysis!

It's been almost a year since I began my 'Operation Stay Healthy' quest, and I'm declaring it resounding success.  A FULL YEAR without any injuries!  And by last fall, there was some improvement in speed going on.  So, is 2015 the year of 'Operation Regain Speed'?  It's definitely a consideration, but I've rather enjoyed this year of no pain and running daily.  I'm thinking a little bit of both is essentially the long term aspiration.

Ever since reading The Whole Body Fix article in Runner's World (which I referenced in Operation Stay Healthy), I thought it would be so cool to get a running analysis, but unlikely.  The cost of the running clinic nearest me was around $250.  Maybe one day...  And lo, just last month, Everyday Athlete began offering free gait analysis with co-owner Lance Carter.  
Lance, who began coaching triathletes 17 years ago and Team in Training over 14 years ago, has completed the USAT Level I as well as Level I and II coaching certification with TNT led by Dave Scott.

The first thing he did was get me set up with a foot pod to ascertain my cadence, while watching my form on the treadmill.  I was really eager to learn this tidbit of info, as counting my own cadence is tricky and I don't own a foot pod.  Apparently, it was pretty spot on!  I was fluctuating right around 88-90 steps per minute, 90 being ideal.
A video posted by Andrea (@mrshallberg) on
My arm carriage was also pretty good.  He did advise me to try and swing my elbows back a bit more, and hold my arms closer to a 90 degree angle: I bend them a tad more than necessary. Lance stood behind me on the treadmill, and placed his hands where he thought my elbows should reach and we did sort of a reverse boxing drill with my elbows.  This was really helpful and I got a good sense of how far back I should get my arms going.
The main thing I was not doing very well was pulling up straight in my posture.  I've thought so much about Chi running, forward momentum and what my feet/hips/glutes are doing, that I've neglected my entire upper half.  As soon as he told me to straighten up and imagine a string pulling me up from my head like a puppet, my cadence hit 90+ and things felt easier.  Ergo, running faster felt easier!  We then went outside and he watched my form as I went from my usual stance to pulling up straighter to see if there were any other areas for improvement and he said that he could clearly see when I changed my posture and I totally sped up.  So great!

We chatted a bit more, about Oiselle, shoes (my Ravennas still seem to be a good fit) and he was very open about emailing him or stopping by with questions anytime.  Since then, I've done a few tempo and race pace workouts where I felt that I could hold a faster pace for longer.  I was doing pace workouts at about a 9:10 minute mile prior to making these tweaks to my form, and did one this weekend at a consistent 8:58 for four miles - a nice 12 second per mile improvement.  I have been doing my interval work, too, so that could be at play.  But I am pretty confident that Lance's input has given my running (and injury prevention) a boost.  And for that, I'm super grateful.  

Right now there is only ONE DAY left for free gait analysis on the calendar!  Hurry and snatch a spot if you're in the area.  After February 18th they'll start charging $40 a session, which is still a great deal in my humble opinion.


  1. This is so awesome! I'm going to have to think about posture. Yay for the year of speed! After being injured last year and still having some residual pain, I'm so frustrated with pace.