There comes a time for every runner when you have to bite the bullet and head to the experts for a gait analysis. I have never had one done before. But after noticing the way my feet landed in recent race photos and knowing in myself that my feet did not quite feel 100% supported I took the plunge and headed down to Runners Need at the end of February.
The gait analysis itself gives you crucial information about your running style, it enables you to pin point areas that would be effecting your performance and efficiency.
Looking at race photos in the lead up to getting my own analysis done I did start to pay attention to my own running style. I quickly discovered that I am a runner who more often than not lands heavily on my heel.
The staff at Runners Need confirmed within minutes that I am a “heel striker” and the trainers I was running in at the time, were not suitable for my running style. They did not give me the support I need to complete training and the London Marathon itself. Although I could possibly run in them short term, and felt so comfortable, continuing to run in my lovely “Nike Flex” would result in further injury.
As a heel striker I was told that I clearly land heavily on the heel of the foot. Shock from the impact of my running style goes up the leg and cause injury in the long term, without the suitable trainers. What I needed was a two cushion trainer with heel support – sounds like the the runners equivalent to orthopaedic shoes. I immediately thought, “good bye” pretty snazzy trainers as I browsed the selection of suitable trainers for me. Surprise, surprise all those I was immediately drawn to were not suitable and those that were did not come cheap. But needs must, I cannot be risking an injury by being silly and cheap, so I purchased a pair of Nike Zoom Structure, in a nice bright colour.
Wearing these in over the next week was a nightmare. The assistant did tell me to take my time, but did I listen? No. I went straight out and came straight back in after discovering the “structure” that was giving me the support I needed, pinched and generally made my feet ache. So for the next week I walked everywhere in them. No running, I continued to use my pretty unsuitable trainers for that.
Eventually though, I wore them in and they had their first big run at North London Half Marathon.
I am still sceptical about these trainers. I find that the structure is very clunky and, as much as I don’t want to admit it is true, I feel that I have lost speed since I purchased these. I no longer have the bounce I had running in my Nike Flex’s and I feel like I have developed more of a stomp than a run.
Some may say that I am generally tired and achy, so my running style has probably changed because of this rather than the trainers themselves. But I still judge the Nike Zoom Structure – it is bit too much of a coincidence that my running became slower and my legs ached more since they came into my life.
That said I should still withhold judgement. After all, they are the trainers that are suited to my running style, my groin injury has eased and I do feel that they keep my feet more supported.
I suppose the biggest test will be in the coming weeks, as the tapering begins, and on race day itself.