6 Things I Learned Getting My Running Analysed At Saucony Stride Lab

What Is Gait Analysis And Is It Worth Doing?

6 Things I Learned Getting My Running Analysed At Saucony Stride Lab

There’s a whole world of running shoes out there, all making grand promises about what they can do for you. When you’re first starting out as a runner it can be very tricky indeed to work out which pair is right for you and whether it’s worth spending the big bucks.

If you enter a running shop during this selection period you might well be encouraged to try gait analysis to help determine the best footwear for you. This generally takes the form of a quick run on a treadmill to determine your running style, which can lead to shoe recommendations.

The cynical may well recoil, assuming it’s a ploy to get you to buy shoes. And it is, but it’s also an easy and usually free way to get a bit more insight into your running gait, which can be important in helping you to avoid injuries and fulfil your potential in the sport.

Below you’ll find everything you need to to know about gait analysis, starting with what running gait actually is.

What Is Running Gait?

“Your running gait, comprising five phases, is the way your foot strikes and leaves the floor with each stride,” says Gordon Crawford, a British triathlon champion and former coach for the Scottish national team.

running gait phases
Coach

The five phases are as follows:

  • Stance When your foot first strikes the ground.
  • Loading From when your heel hits the ground to the moment your forefoot touches down.
  • Mid-stance The point at which your heel starts to lift and the forefoot flexes.
  • Toe-off When your foot leaves the ground.
  • Swing The time between your foot leaving the ground and touching it again.

“The foot has its own natural rolling movement, outwards or inwards, throughout the five phases. Injuries can occur when these rolling movements, known as pronation, become exaggerated,” says Crawford.

“With normal pronation the foot rolls evenly, distributing the force of impact optimally, followed by an even toe-off. Those with normal pronation are often referred to as neutral runners.

“With over-pronation the foot rolls too far inwards, flattening the foot arch and stretching the muscles and tendons in the foot. With under-pronation there’s an excessively outwards roll, which places strain on the muscles and tendons that stabilise the ankle.”

What Happens During Gait Analysis?

For runners, gait analysis usually involves a fairly quick and free treadmill test at a running shop (although it can also be a very thorough process involving a podiatrist). To experience the former, we tried gait analysis at the London Marathon Store near Liverpool Street.

The first step was standing barefoot on the floor and bending at the knees, before doing the same on a mirrored stand to get a better look at how our feet came into contact with the ground.

Then we ran for a short period on a treadmill in shoes recommended for our level of pronation.

The whole thing took under 30 minutes and provided the chance to run in a couple of different pairs of shoes.

There are more extended sessions available that will look at your entire stride, but generally a free gait analysis in a running shop won’t extend much beyond checking how high your arch is and pronation during running.

What Are The Benefits Of Gait Analysis?

Gait analysis can be used to identify how your foot rolls and recommend a shoe designed to support you correctly, but you can also check how your whole body is moving with each stride.

“Everybody has an individual running style, so it’s really important to analyse the whole body,” says Joe Wells, technician at the Saucony Stride Lab. “The outcome will be an understanding of the runner’s requirements. Usually, selecting correct footwear is part of the solution, but it will also lead to advice regarding a flexibility, strength and conditioning regimen.”

What Are The Most Common Issues Revealed By Gait Analysis?

“Slow cadence – longer strides at a lower frequency; heel striking – with your foot landing in front of your hips; a lack of core strength, which results in the hips dropping, which can cause both the knee and ankle to rotate inwards; and a lack of flexibility and strength, particularly in the glutes and calves,” says Wells.

“All of these can result in injury and a reduction in running efficiency. However, all of these can be fixed relatively easily. Pilates, core work and yoga complement running because they combine core strength with flexibility to help increase efficiency, but also reduce the risk of injury.”

Is It Worth Doing?

Yes and no. If you’re an experienced runner with a good idea of the shoes you , then you’ll probably be best off sticking with what you know (unless you’re getting a lot of injuries). For new runners, however, it’s worth doing.

It’s free, you might learn something about your running style and the terminology around running shoes, and you’ll get the chance to try some shoes out. All this will make it easier to pick a pair of shoes, whether that’s there and then or later on.

Even if you go against the advice given, at least you can make a more informed choice.

Then there’s the possibility that gait analysis does discover something important about your running style that tells you what the best type of shoe to wear is – or, perhaps more importantly, shows you that you’ve been wearing the wrong type. This might mean you avoid those niggling injuries that can make training a frustrating experience.

Ultimately, if you’re in the market for running shoes for a marathon or any long-distance event, you should be going to a proper running shop for advice anyway. And while you’re there, it won’t cost you anything to jump on the treadmill for a few minutes.

Written by Nick Harris-Fry for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Coach

Source: https://masterfitinc.com/what-is-gait-analysis-and-is-it-worth-doing/

Fit in my 40s: who knew buying running shoes was this complicated?

6 Things I Learned Getting My Running Analysed At Saucony Stride Lab

A good way not to go running when you hate running is to decide that you can’t really start until you have the perfect shoe. It wasn’t even as simple as wandering round the shops: I had to get my gait analysed, which can happen one of two ways, on a running machine or, in one very special specialist shop in London, running down the road.

Dipika is the owner of Run And Become, which was established in the 1980s by her parents. She looks an advert put out by an interwar government on the benefits of exercise, serene and zesty, deeply plausible.

We walk out to a side street and I run 50 yards while she watches: at that moment, still in my regular shoes, which we’ve established are a size too small but otherwise functional.

If you are familiar with the oeuvre of Noel Streatfeild, imagine a ballet mistress observing a new pupil for the first time: keen-eyed, warm, yet dispassionate.

Obviously, I felt a complete fraud. “Heel-striker”, “neutral gait”: these are words you’d use about a person who did marathons. I have been running four times and pretended to go running a further three.

The longest stint I’ve done in one go is 90 seconds, yet Dipika was talking me through the respective benefits of a variety of shoes for long distance.

The only way I could have felt more a trickster is if I’d stolen some socks on the way out.

The benefit of being analysed in the real world is that this is where most people run; you can tell more about the depth of your gait – the angle at which your foot hits the ground – and see tendencies and weaknesses better. Just by looking at me standing in front of her, Dipika noticed that I very slightly favoured my right leg over my left and asked if I had an old injury. I broke my left leg in 1978, which was before she was born.

Anyway, the overview of this analysis is this: if you pro-nate, your foot rolls inwards; if you’re a serious pronater, your arches will flatten to accommodate it. The opposite is supination, or under-pronation. I’m neither, I’m just passing this on for you: I have a neutral gait, and a pretty standard heel-strike. I need no particular support. I can wear some basic Basics.

On a running machine at the Saucony Stride Lab, my results are exactly the same, only the process is much more painful because it involves being videoed from every angle.

This rams home the full amateurishness of my running style: exhaustingly long strides, head at a strange angle, a person who that very second has decided to start running for the first time only because they are being chased.

But this is where I pick up tips – the main one being, shorter strides, which are more efficient and easier to control. I also get some trainers: chic white Sauconys with snazzy neon laces. They’re not the perfect shoe, so much as shoes so techie it would be inexcusable to wear them and not run.

What I learned this week

Save time and start by trying the size above your regular size.

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“,”author”:”Zoe Williams”,”date_published”:”2018-01-13T07:00:51.000Z”,”lead_image_url”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/b2838d2d75da3643a6fd82786b292e57942cbf/175_0_1317_790/master/1317.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-align=bottom%2Cleft&overlay-width=100p&overlay-base64=L2ltZy9zdGF0aWMvb3ZlcmxheXMvdGctZGVmYXVsdC5wbmc&enable=upscale&s=e6831327c664c1398c34c6dc814a35″,”dek”:null,”next_page_url”:null,”url”:”https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jan/13/buying-running-shoes-zoe-williams-fitness”,”domain”:”www.theguardian.com”,”excerpt”:”I feel a complete fraud: I have been running four times and pretended to go running a further three”,”word_count”:596,”direction”:”ltr”,”total_pages”:1,”rendered_pages”:1}

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jan/13/buying-running-shoes-zoe-williams-fitness

Is a Stride Analysis Really Worth It? Your Stride Is a Fingerprint

6 Things I Learned Getting My Running Analysed At Saucony Stride Lab

“I saw you running.”

Errrr…

“You have a very distinctive stride.”

Still creepy.

“It’s very determined and strong.”

Oh, my gosh you are the sweetest, let’s be friends for life! Funny how you can go from skeptical to love in mere seconds. But this conversation was one that stuck with me as I’ve talked to different running experts and coaches.

Should you change your running form? Should you use orthotics or go barefoot? Cushioned? Minimal? ChiRunning? Chuck it all and run however you want?!

After mulling it all over, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some components we should all incorporate to prevent injury, but I also think your stride is a fingerprint. It’s a little different for everyone and uniquely works for you.

This was a great article about it prior to the 2008 Olympic marathon:

“The notion that there is one way to run is not, in my opinion, correct,” said Peter Cavanagh, a professor of orthopedics and sports medicine at the University of Washington.

Constantina Tomescu, the Romanian runner who won the women’s marathon last Sunday, ran with her arms wide, elbows out. Paula Radcliffe of Britain, who finished 23rd here but set the current world record for the women’s marathon in 2003, running in 2 hours 15 minutes 25 seconds, has a head-bobbing style.

Cavanagh said there were only a few aspects of running style that could be modified to improve performance. Each can add only a quarter- to half-percent to a runner’s economy in a race the marathon.

They two key take away from this an other articles is that:

  • Changing your form when everything is working is going to have a very minimal impact on speed and possible negative impacts
  • Changing your form if you are injured repeatedly can be extremely helpful

My stride has been pointed out to me numerous times, but never so amusingly as after a run with David. He proclaimed it baffling that whether I am running at 10K pace or marathon pace my stride looks well 100% the same.

While this is a little strange because there is a 2 minute per mile pace difference it’s also an indicator that I’ve found a style which seems comfortable to my body and so long as I’m staying injury free and making progress, it’s not worth continuing to over-analyze it. I asked Sam Khamis, of the Physiotherapy Department at Tel Aviv University, some of the most common questions I receive:

Should I change my stride length?
To increase our running speed we need to increase our stride length or cadence, and even better,  both.

Increasing cadence is easier achieved and will not increase the load on our musculoskeletal system compared to increasing stride length.

Increasing cadence, while maintaining the knee above the foot at initial contact (shorter step length) is a safer an easier technique to achieve.

“Each athlete has an optimal stride length, so there is no one-size-fits-all rule.”

Using a longer step length requires adequate range of motion especially hip extension.

Running injuries due to sagittal plane abnormal biomechanics can often be due to limited range of motion due to short muscle length such as hamstrings and iliopsoas which limits increased stride length, or weak muscle support of the gastrocnemius – soleus, quadriceps-hamstrings and hip extensors. Therefore, before deciding to change your stride length, be sure you evaluate your ability and your body limitations.

How to choose my stride length?
The best tip I can give which does not include a sophisticated running analysis lab, or any app is to follow these basic concepts:

  • If you are hitting the ground with your heels you might be using excessive stride length.
  • Knee above the foot when you hit the ground should indicate good stride length.
  • If you have mid-foot or forefoot landing, you should be running with adequate stride length.
  • Run forwards and not upwards (in other words stop bouncing) with minimal vertical body displacement. Excessive center of mass movement will cause energy waste
  • Run with a shorter flight phase. The longer the flight phase the higher the ground reaction force will be when you hit the ground.

Where do I land on my foot?
Landing can be either on mid-foot or forefoot; either can be fine as long as we maintain a short stride length while increasing speed by increasing cadence.

This technique requires strong muscle control absorbing the impact phase and muscle power generation at push off. If we choose to increase our running speed by increasing our step length as well, additional muscle control is necessary.

The further we extend our foot reach at foot strike in front of the body center of mass, the more muscle support is needed in order to control the impact phase of absorbing the forces at landing and then pulling the body mass forward.

RUNNING FORM ANALYSIS
Awhile back a company offered me a free analysis for a review, but the information they provided back was not up to par and so I can’t recommend the service. However, I have since seen a number of these products and think they are worth looking at for someone who is experiencing ongoing injuries.

Things I would expect in a full analysis is a review of the entire form from the front, side and back. Don’t rely on just the ankle shot provided by many running stores, that doesn’t take in to account a whole host of other things that could be happening {since you run with your whole body, not just ankles}.

If you record yourself running here are a few things to look for:

FRONT: arms cross mid-line | head alignment | heel strike or foot strike | elevated shoulders | hip rotation | ankle rotation | tibial rotation

SIDE: Same as above plus arm position | hands | torso alignment | knee height •  turn-over rate | stride length

BACK: Best angle to look for pronation or supination | stride | knee drift | hip drop

Read four simple tips for improving your running form>>

What really matters in a running form analysis Click To Tweet

Summary: Whoa there was a lot of science there and of course more recommended PT work…but really should you change your stride? The pro’s have learned through lots of trial and error that sans injury, their stride is a finger print. It seems to uniquely fit them and so they let it FLOW.

Why does that matter??

The more brain power you are putting in to focusing on your form, the less you are allowing your body to simply flow which for many people takes away the joy of running and slows them down.

Focus on identifying your weak muscles or potential areas of injury and work on creating strength there instead of worrying so much about forefoot, mid-foot, long stride, short, stride, etc.

RESOLVING IMBALANCES
One of the more common things pointed out is either pronation at the feet or what’s called knee valgus, particularly in women runners, which results in runner’s knee, IT Band pain and other issues. Yes indeed this is another result of WEAK HIPS which is something I’m sure you’re quite tired of hearing me talk about.

In fact, I found that still have this during our visit to the Wingate Institute where a machine watched my movements in slow motion. Since this is so common, I actually addressed it in detail in this post on resolving IT Band. If you notice when lunging in front of a mirror that your knee is falling it at all or you’re having ITB issues check out this post >>

Knees and hips are the cornerstone of issues for most runners, so are there moves we should all be doing?

A couple of moves that will build strength and help us to see any imbalances include lots of stability. Do these in front of a mirror or with a trainer so you can spot when your knee is falling in!

  • squat with band around knees and don’t let them fall in (see video example)
  • training on unstable surfaces such as wobble board, wobble cushion in order to strengthen our proprioceptive control (in other words our subconscious will learn the RIGHT movement) 
  • balancing on one leg and squatting while standing
  • exercising the impact/ landing and push off/ power generation phases with plyometric exercises such as jumping and controlling our landing
  • progress the jumping exercise by landing on something a Bosu

Have you ever had your stride professionally analyzed?

Ever tried changing your stride?

READ MORE
ChiRunning vs Pose Method
Maximal vs Minimal Running Shoes
Hip Extension and Mobility for better stride

Other ways to connect with Amanda

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Source: https://www.runtothefinish.com/stride-analysis-your-stride-is-a-running-fingerprint/

Stopping by the Brand New Saucony Stride Lab

6 Things I Learned Getting My Running Analysed At Saucony Stride Lab
Finding my strong and optimal stride—with a little virtual Star Wars Light Saber thrown in for good measure.

most of you, I'm guessing, I'm a sucker for a good running specialty store.

Walls of bright shoes that just scream for miles; racks of clothes so cool, my mind swirls with potential finish line photos; colorful accessories, hundreds of flavors of nutrition, rows and rows of cushy socks and….

bears, oh my?!

Running stores are my version of Dorothy's yellow brick road.

So last week, when the Boulder Running Company opened the country's biggest specialty run store, square-footage-wise, in nearby Cherry Creek, I pointed my minivan straight towards Oz.

 And while I could've spent hours perusing the racks, I beelined for the Saucony Stride Lab, a research-grade treadmill and lab that documents your stride—and, more importantly, your body's positioning and movement as you run—in microscopic measurements.

Don't let the turf green color fool you. This $100,000 treadmill is actually the yellow brick road: It can lead to years of injury-free, strong running.

Your left foot goes just a smidge wonky before you touch down? The four cameras, positioned in the front, back, and on each side of you, will catch it.

Right hip droops just as the right foot pushes off? The cameras shoot hundreds of pictures a second, so they'll find that too.

One shoulder is consistently in front of the other? It can't hide in the Stride Lab—and that's a good thing.

Shoes can support, cushion, cradle, protect, guide, adorn a running store wall, and make you drool as you gaze at them, but sadly, they're mostly about your feet. (Yep, feel free to insert a Waaah! Running is hard enough and life's not fair! here.)

Shoes can't keep your hips level, your core engaged, your stride light and easy, your alignment in order, the rest of your body running efficiently. You and your (hopefully) badass mother runner muscles have to do that.

Problem is, you don't always know if they're flicked on they should be. Injuries are one way to know if sleeping on the job, but I don't recommend this method.

A better way is at the Stride Lab, the only research-grade treadmill available for us normal, average runners to try in this whole world. (All the other ones are located in universities or companies.)

The Saucony Stride Lab team: Sam, Meital, me, Spencer. (I'm not part of the team, but I kind of wish I were…the lab so dang cool!)

I got to take the treadmill last Friday, while Spencer White, Head of Saucony's Human Performance and Innovation Lab, was putting on the finishing touches on the set-up.

He was also instructing Sam, who will be in charge of $100,000 treadmill, and Meital, a physical therapist with In Motion Rehab, which has an PT office in the flagship store.

(Read: you get your stride anaylzed, and then Meital gives you exercises and techniques to get stronger and improve. Pretty sweet BOGO.)

I had already pitted out my top before I arrived: I had visions of a VO2 max test—think face mask + extended, intense effort—but I shouldn't have worried. After we talked about my running (20+ years) and injury history (too many to count), as well as my current goals (1.

Stay injury-free; 2. Keep injuries at bay; 3.

Push myself, but only if I don't hurt myself), I ran for just a few minutes at an easy effort while the cameras shot me from all angles, which is about as flattering as it sounds, especially when it involves cellulite in super-slow-motion.

Then I stepped off, and the four of us checked me out.

First, Spencer went over the forces of my foot strikes. My left foot is more aggressive than my right, which is why my left heel of my shoes is always the first to go. Not a problem, though. Phew.Then we broke me down from the top and sideways. Despite my thinking I had transitioned more to a midfoot landing, I'm a heel-striker, as 85-90% of us are, according to Spencer. (And that, he says, is just fine.)Then we focused on my lower legs from the front, rolling the film forward and backwards to see how each foot landed.And the oh-so-flattering backside. The best news? My hips are level—thank you, Pilates!—which isn't always the case for mother runners whose hips have been, um, compromised by pushing out and carrying piglets. The green line grows through each step, showing how force is being distributed. (The treadmill has special plates for measuring ground-reaction forces.)

The whole process took about 30 minutes; it could've been shorter if I hadn't asked so many questions, and it could've been longer, if I were trying on different shoes.

(Nope, not straying from my beloved Virratas.) Although the trio pointed out a few things that are slightly off balance as I run, nothing is particularly significant or a predictor of future issues.

Phew again.

Of course, the form I have during a few minutes of fresh running isn't exactly what I look 11 miles into a half-marathon.

So we talked about all the ways that I—and any runner—can keep optimal form when that breaking-down feeling comes on a run: maintaining a strong core and (pretty) good posture; taking lighter, more frequent steps; and visualizing the foot landing under the body to minimize impact on the joints.

Oh, and you can never do enough planks, says Meital.

At the end, Spencer pronounced my current stride durable—a word that connotates longevity and strength. My stride isn't speedy or super efficient or admirable, but it is, according to close, expert anaylsis, durable. And, at this point in my running career, that is the best adjective ever.

The Saucony Stride Lab at the Boulder Running Company Cherry Creek is currently free; local runners can call 303-RUN-WALK (catchy, huh?) to make an appointment. We will also set up free appointments during our Mother Runner Denver party at the store on May 6, and will send out an email to those RSVP'ed once we have sign-ups available. 

Source: https://anothermotherrunner.com/tktk-saucony-stride-lab/

Saucony Stride Lab

6 Things I Learned Getting My Running Analysed At Saucony Stride Lab

Michael Charboneau

The centerpiece of Saucony’s Waltham, Massachusetts, headquarters isn’t a hall of shoes or a well-kept track. It’s a room teeming with high-speed cameras, data sensors, and two very souped-up treadmills.

It’s the company’s Human Performance and Innovation Lab, and it’s where a team of researchers analyze runners’ strides and study how shoes affect the way we run, and since revamping the lab in 2011, Saucony has used it to gain insight into the mechanics of running. Now Saucony, which recently celebrated its 120th anniversary, wants to bring that data-driven approach to shoe retailers around the country.

Spencer White, the vice president of the Human Performance and Innovation Lab, oversees the testing that goes into understanding shoes and how runners interact with them.

He and his team analyze about 200 individual strides per year, with additional road testing outside the lab.

While it helps inform better shoe design, the focus isn’t necessarily the shoes themselves—it’s the person wearing them.

“It’s a tool to understand what runners need,” White told Runner's World, “which means studying runners as opposed to just studying shoes.”

A typical lab test uses high-speed video to analyze a runner’s stride and track how their center of mass sinks as they step forward. From there, the lab team calculates how stiff the runner’s legs are and draws a conclusion about how they respond to the shoes they’re wearing. That data then becomes valuable feedback for shoe designers.

RELATED: The Best Running Shoes for Every Type of Run

But Saucony is looking into other ways to harness this information, and that’s led them to the place where many runners first meet a pair of shoes: a running store. By partnering with retailers across the U.S.

, the company is experimenting with ways of replicating its lab to help runners choose the best shoe for their stride. White is especially interested in using the technology to better serve beginner runners.

“Most of them stop running because they don’t enjoy it. It’s painful,” he said. “We know that doesn’t have to be the case.” One of the tricks, of course, is finding the right pair of shoes.

The program, called the Saucony Stride Lab, is still in its very early stages.

An initial test came in 2016, when Saucony partnered with a Boulder Running Company location in Denver, Colorado, to test a gait analysis setup, which includes a treadmill and a video camera array to measure stride.

White pointed out that this was “more of a research project,” and the actual store experience will be much different. Retailers need something that will increase sales from day one, and doesn’t take a Ph.D. to operate.

Even so, early findings have been positive. Joe Marchand, a Saucony technical representative in Colorado, noted that the system has attracted customers looking for high-end service.

”When you’re able to say you have something this kind of technology,” he said, ”it draws interest.”

The other challenge is distilling a wealth of data down to the metrics that matter for the average runner. Currently, White and his team are focusing on two main datasets. The first is assessing how the large muscles of the body, such as the hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors, work as a runner moves through their stride, and the second is the way the shoe performs for them.

For now, Saucony is focused on refining the in-store experience, and no launch date has been set. According to White, they’re working on partnering with running stores across the U.S., and they’re in talks with a few companies in Europe as well.

RELATED: 3 Simple Ways to Improve Running Efficiency

If implemented, the Stride Lab will mark a break from the prevailing trend among shoe makers, which are banking on increased customization to lure customers. Brooks is partnering with HP and Superfeet to build made-to-order shoes using 3D foot scans (slated to launch in June 2018), and companies Reebok and Adidas allow customers to create their own shoe colorways online.

Saucony, on the other hand, is looking to biomechanics to set it apart. Said White, “Our approach is not that we need to necessarily deliver a custom shoe as much as we need to understand each individual runner, and their body.”

Source: https://www.runnersworld.com/gear/a20866239/saucony-stride-lab-in-store-running-analysis/

Jay Dicharry- If You are Serious About Your Running, Time to Get in the Weight Room

6 Things I Learned Getting My Running Analysed At Saucony Stride Lab

Jay Dicharry may or may not have taken Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz, but it’s safe to say that he’s probably a Questioner.

Jay is not afraid to question beliefs that many of us have blindly accepted for years and study if, in fact, there is actually any truth in them or if there are better ways to train to avoid injuries.

He has a passion for this ‘Pre-Habbing’ which goes back to his injury-prone youth.

Jay is a renowned expert in biomechanics and physical therapy and is also the author of Anatomy for Runners. In this episode, he challenges us to reevaluate parts of our accepted, conventional training and running wisdom.

He does a great job of deconstructing clinically complex concepts into easily understandable ideas and examples. He breaks down things Strength Training versus Power Training and the differences between joint limitation or blockage, shortened tissues, stiffness / sticky tissues, and dynamic mobility.

Our conversation covered a lot of ground and included many additional resources as noted by the links below. This may very well be an episode that you will want to listen to multiple times to explore these and evaluate what changes you may want to integrate into your own personal program.

Here are some of the topics we’ll discuss today:

  • How biomechanic training can help Pre-Hab or prevent injuries.
  • Biomechanics fact vs. fiction and the ongoing critical evaluation of prior assumptions.
  • How to leverage strength training to improve your running while reducing your volume.
  • How to evaluate a potential strength coach or options if you don’t have access to one.
  • Risk / Reward balance of using different types of shoes for training / racing.
  • Jay’s Mobility / soft-tissue work philosophy.
  • The difference between ‘stretching’ and ‘dynamic mobility’ and which you should do before a run.

Questions Jay is asked:

3:50 When did you determine that biomechanics was your passion?

6:37 Is there still a lot of misinformation portrayed within the PT / sporting world?

8:07 Do you still get frustrated when people repeat ‘facts’ they haven’t verified or is it getting better with more readily available information?

10:30 What is it that drives you to keep exploring?

12:33 Is there anything surprising that you’ve learned about Pre-Hab along the way?

14:42 Who else can people reference for up-to-date information

16:17 Is the UVA Running Medicine Conference open to the public?

17:14 (Listener Question) If you could go back and rewrite Anatomy For Runners, is there anything you would change?

18:58 Is there another book in the works?

19:25 What is your philosophy on strength training and plyometrics?

20:52 Exactly what type of training are you referring to by ‘Strength Training’?

27:07 When selecting a Strength Coach, how important is it that they have a running background?

29:45 What can you tell us about the Saucony Stride Lab for those who may not have access to a running lab?

34:20 Why did you choose to work with Saucony?

35:18 Were you part of the design team for the Saucony Freedoms?

35:41 (Listener Question) If you’re running in a heavier / bulkier shoe, is there an injury risk to doing the workouts or races in a lighter shoe if you train in the heavier shoe?

39:34 Can we trust our GPS / wearable tech with our biomechanics or are they inaccurate?

40:29 When it comes to imbalances or weaknesses, is it an issue if one part, or side, of your body is stronger than the other?

43:25 If you do all the form trainings we discussed, you’re prolonging the amount of time your body is able to hold good form when running?

44:21 Should people who sit all day at work and run after work stretch between working and running?

49:25 How often do you recommend that runners should perform foam rolling / mobility / soft-tissue work? Every Day?

55:00 The Final Kick Round

Quotes by Jay:

“There’s still the folks out there saying ‘Running is going to kill you and you need to stop’.”

“I don’t being the person paving the way; I being the person helping people.”

“ ‘What’s the ONE thing to do?” and the reality is that life isn’t that simple, right? If it was, then nobody would have problems.”

“There is very good research out there to show that running does NOT make you strong. Running efficiency DOES improve when you improve the way that you carry yourself.”

“At the end of the day, the runners who are serious find a way to get in the weight room. The runners I work with, the people I’ve introduced to this, I don’t know any of them who have STOPPED doing this at all even from a novice up to an elite level.”

“The goal is to build a running-specific plan to RUN better, not just to lift more weight in the gym.”

“If it’s not improving running economy and making your body more robust in terms of injury reduction, then you shouldn’t be doing it.”

“If you’re a soccer player and you’re more accurate in shooting goal with your right foot, that’s fine, right? But, when you run both legs have to show up.”

“I’m not looking to train a muscle; I’m looking to train a movement.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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[bctt tweet=”Fascinating insights from one of the best running experts out there; Jay Dicharry” username=”Runners_Connect”]

Mentioned in this podcast:

UVA Speed Clinic

Run To The Top podcast with Max Prokopy

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Joe Friel’s Blog

Bryan Heiderscheit, PT, PhD

Christopher M. Powers, PhD, PT, FACSM, FAPTA

Irene Davis, PhD, PT, FAPTA, FACSM, FASB

  1. Reed Ferber PH.D., CAT(C), ATC: Director – Running Injury Clinic

2017 UVA Running Medicine Conference

PubMed Website

MedLine Home Page

Jack Daniels’s Run Smart Project

Book: Anatomy For Runners

Run To The Top podcast with Dr. Santos

Run To The Top podcast with Drew Watts (Tina’s strength coach)

Saucony Stride Lab app for iOS

Saucony Freedom Shoes Use coupon code TINA for 10% off

Steve Magness Amazon Author Page

Runner’s World Article: How to Use a Lacrosse Ball for Recovery

Carrom Balance Board

Hyperice Vibration Ball

Rep Lab – Jay’s lab blog

Tina’s Dynamic Warm-up Drills

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Jared Ward, Olympian and Professor, Is Helping Saucony Develop Faster Racing Shoes – PodiumRunner

6 Things I Learned Getting My Running Analysed At Saucony Stride Lab

There are many differences between next year’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and the last Trials in 2016, the most obvious being the locations: Atlanta vs Los Angeles. Another key difference has been less discussed—shoes!

In four decades of prior Marathon Trials, the top runners gave little thought to their shoes. Everyone basically followed the same approach: Less is more.

“I only thought about shoes that were lighter, lighter, lighter,” admits Jared Ward, who finished third in Los Angeles and then a strong sixth at the Rio Olympics. “As far as we knew, that was the most important thing.” Ward wore a pair of Saucony Type A8 shoes in 2016; they weighed a mere 5.9 ounces.

Ward in the LA 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials / photo: 101 Degrees West

Ward didn’t even notice the clunky-looking Nike shoes worn by Los Angeles Marathon Trials winner Galen Rupp. In Rio, Ward didn’t realize the top three finishers—Eliud Kipchoge, Feyisa Lelisa, and Rupp—wore similarly big, cushy Nike shoes. They were 0.6 ounces heavier than Ward’s shoes and twice as thick in the rearfoot.

After Rio, however, it didn’t take long for Ward and the rest of the world to learn about Nike’s revolutionary Vaporfly 4% shoes.

Scientific testing at several labs showed the shoes could improve a runner’s efficiency by about four percent. (Study 1; Study 2). That’s a huge difference in a world where one percent gains are rare, if not downright illusory.

The shoes combined a stiff carbon plate with a new, responsive, and lightweight midsole foam.

Then came the highly publicized Breaking2 marathon attempt on a car track in Monza, Italy. There Kipchoge clocked a previously unthinkable 2:00:25, indicating the Nike shoes were game changers.

This raised a serious problem for Ward and other non-Nike athletes. How could they make sure, at the 2020 Marathon Trials, that they wouldn’t get beaten by a rival’s shoes rather than the rival’s talent and hard training?

photo: Nike

To answer that question, Ward joined a BYU research team that analyzed the Vaporfly 4% shoes. The results of that study have just been published by the Journal of Sports Scientists. The BYU group found the Vaporfly shoes improved runner efficiency by 2.7 percent—not quite as much as other reports, but similar.

“I’ve never stood on a starting line and thought my opponents were using better equipment than me,” notes Ward, a BYU statistics professor who helped with data analysis of the BYU study. “But when you see actual, measurable results with your own eyes, it sparks a quest to find out how the shoes work.”

The BYU paper produced several possible answers. In particular, when test subjects wore the Vaporfly 4% shoes vs Adidas Adios Boost shoes and Nike Zoom Streaks, they ran with greater vertical oscillation—or “bounce”—and a longer stride.

Vertical oscillation is often considered wasted movement, but that’s not necessarily the case if it increases stride length without requiring additional muscular effort. And that’s what the BYU researchers observed.

The bounce came from the shoes, not the leg and foot muscles.

So what’s the secret sauce? No one can say for certain at this point. But Iain Hunter, head of the BYU running biomechanics lab, has his theories. “The plate seems to change the mechanical advantage of the foot lever,” says Hunter. “And the foam is very effective at storing and releasing energy at the right time.”

Spencer White and Chris Mahoney, Saucony VPs, discussing the prototypes / photo: Darby Middlebrook

Fortunately for Ward, Saucony’s research and development group had already begun the hunt for more efficient shoes. “I give Nike credit for their breakthrough,” says Saucony VP Spencer White, head of the company’s Human Performance and Innovation Lab. “But we weren’t far behind.”

White’s team was also investigating composite plates and new foams. “The pieces of the puzzle have been around for decades,” he notes. “We’re just getting better at fitting them together. It’s a complex process. If it were easy, I wouldn’t have a job.”

Saucony is testing new prototype shoes with a number of its best runners. Ward just happens to be an outstanding subject. “He’s willing to try something new,” says White, “and he understands the science and statistics behind what we’re doing.”

Jared Ward testing shoes in Iain Hunter’s BYU running biomechanics lab / photo: courtesy J Ward

A year ago, Saucony began shipping new models to Ward. He takes them straight to Hunter’s lab for personalized, on-the-treadmill testing, subjecting himself (and the new shoes) to both a max test and an efficiency test. So far, the experience has made him a believer in “the preferred movement paradigm” proposed by veteran running biomechanist Benno Nigg.

“When I try new prototypes, the ones that feel the best on my feet and body almost always produce the best lab results,” Ward observes.

Last fall, he received a new shoe five days before the New York City Marathon. After just one test run, he decided to wear them in New York, where he finished sixth (first American) in 2:12:24.

“The shoes felt so much better than the minimalist racers I had been using,” Ward says. “I particularly noticed it on the downhills. They absorbed so much more shock.

I could really let loose and go hard without worrying about beating up my legs.”

In April at the Boston Marathon, Ward wore another new pair. Again, the results were impressive, as he lowered his personal best by two minutes to 2:09:25, finishing eighth.

“My Boston shoes felt faster on the flats and uphills without giving away any of the downhill advantage,” he says.

The course for the Atlanta Marathon Trials (February 29, 2020) will be hilly, putting a premium on a shoe’s up-and-down versatility.

Jared Ward wearing Saucony prototypes in Boston 2019 / photo: Merrilee Blackham

Saucony is not ready to reveal any specs on its new shoe—the name, the weight, the heel height, etc.—but White points out that the potential benefits should extend to midpack runners as well as Olympians. “The new foams are better in the heat and cold,” he notes, “and our athletes have all reported better muscle recovery. These are things that can help all runners.”

Ward just returned from a family vacation last week to find six new pairs of shoes waiting for him. He’s eager to test them in the lab.

“We’ve taken some big steps forward in the last year, so now we’re down to smaller, baby steps,” he observes. “But it’s great to be able to combine two of my passions—performance running and statistical analysis.

It’s been a fun project to coordinate this with the Saucony research team.”

He’s also quick to acknowledge that shoes don’t win the race. The athlete still comes first, especially his/her total preparation. But even there, shoes can contribute.

“I believe the biggest factor is and always will be mental,” Ward says. “It’s about your mindset on race day. The thing about my new racing shoes is: They feel so good on the start line that they build my confidence. I know I’m ready to compete.”

Source: https://www.podiumrunner.com/events/jared-ward-helping-saucony-develop-faster-racing-shoes/