Here is The Running Bug's guide to your running gait. Get clued up, so when it comes to needing new shoes, you're in no doubt about what to look for.
What is gait analysis?
Gait analysis is a tailored, specific trainer-fitting service for runners. Most specialist running stores offer these professional trainer fittings. They usually take about 15 minutes and involve a video gait analysis that enables the staff to assess in slow motion video replay how your feet respond when testing different shoes on the treadmill.
After the fitting, you will be recommended the best shoe for you based not only the results of your gait analysis, but also other factors, such as injuries, running history and future running goals.
How is it done and what are the results?
Your running gait is diagnosed based on your personal biomechanics. Biomechanics is the science of how your body works to produce movement. Every person is different and will move in different ways.
The biomechanical video software used during your analysis will diagnose what kind of running gait you have, often categorised into three different outcomes. There is no right or wrong gait – the process simply ensures you purchase the right trainers for you, so you'll be comfortable and be able to run without provoked injury.
A neutral runner
As a neutral runner, you are said to have the ideal running motion for avoiding injuries, particularly over long distances. You supinate and pronate at the right levels, and your feet are pretty balanced when you run. You should opt for a neutral, lightweight trainer.
An over-pronating runner
Over-pronation is when the foot rolls inwards. Pronation happens when weight is transferred from the heel to the forefoot and the foot rolls inwards. Unfortunately, pronation can cause overuse-type injuries, occurring most frequently in runners. This is where your trainers are vital - you will perform best in a motion control or stability shoe that offers pronation support.
An under-pronating runner
Under-pronation is used to describe a foot that doesn't roll inward when it hits the ground. Unfortunately, the foot won’t absorb the impact of hitting the ground quite as well as it should, because less of the foot comes into contact with the ground. This is a common issue in runners who have high arches. You are best opting for a cushioned neutral running shoe, a lightweight trainer that will encourage flexibility and motion, rather than preventing it.
- Don't buy a shoe just because it's expensive; it's not necessarily the right shoe for you.
- Buy a trainer half a size to a size larger than your normal shoe, to accommodate foot movement and swelling during running.
- Comfort is crucial, but make sure someone qualified analyses your gait in that trainer.
It is so important to ensure you are wearing the correct trainers to suit your running gait - it will make your run feel smoother, more comfortable and keep injury at bay.