I was invited to The Running School to have my running style analysed using their video technology, and improved with the help of resident expert Nick.
As you may know, I host a running club every month and have a funny old relationship with running, so I was interested to see if this could help me improve for the running club, and enjoy the experience of running more consistently (right now I lurch between loving a run and then vowing to never run again after a crappy session).
The venue itself was a bit tricky to find. My advice – go onto Milk Street off Cheapside. You’re heading for The Sweat Shop. The Running School sits in this building. The Sweat Shop guys will be happy to show you the entrance.
Anyway, the essentials: changing rooms at the bottom of the building (showers, towels, hairdryers and free lockers) and The Running School is on the first floor.
Time for some analysis! The introductory session itself was painless- I started with a walking warm up while I answered a few questions about my running history.
Nick then talked me through the aim of hour- to video me at three speeds on the treadmill, and analyse where my feet fell, how my hips and core alignment looked, my posture, and how my arms and body moved. Here’s my video:
It was slightly uncomfortable being videoed, just because I’m certainly not a graceful runner, and I was suddenly very aware of being watched when running, which is always a bit awkward! There’s no hiding in there either – big mirrors and at least 30 minutes of watching yourself run in slow-mo after the treadmill.
Anyway I threw myself into it – best try and capture my natural running style as authentically as possible if I want advice that’s going to help.
My normal pace (plod) showed I was taking a really big stride and my feet were falling ahead of me instead of underneath. This meant my bum was doing sweet FA as my glutes were failing to activate. I also discovered I was squeezing my arms into my body, twisting them rather than using them to power me ahead.
It was a bit better when I was at my (pathetic) sprinting pace of 12kph but still a lot to do in terms of foot fall position and glute activation.
I also cannot tell you how difficult it is to remember how to run when you know you’re being videoed!!
I admit that watching the videos back was cringe for a minute or so, but once I got over the embarrassment, it was genuinely fascinating. I had so many questions and there was a lot to learn about something you just “do” without much thought really.
As we watched the videos, Nick was able to draw lines through my body to illustrate his observations and show me my traits, compare videos, and he had some instant and impressive analysis of my style. I had about twice as many questions in my head as we had time to address during this session.
He gave me tips for immediate improvement and we did and some homework (brushing my teeth on my lazy leg to get that bum working) as well as warm up exercises on their floor mats, teaching me how to get my muscles ready to work.
Interestingly I also found out the reason I have calves as big as most people’s thighs is due to my running gait, and the fact I’m overcompensating with my calf muscles where my glutes are doing nothing, and they’re absolutely solid as a result.
I’ll be back at The Running School for their recommended package of 6 sessions in the next few weeks. This is the recommended time after which improvement is meant to really become noticeable, as muscles and brain are retrained.
I’m incredibly impressed by the knowledge of the instructors there – I have a dodgy knee and a bit of a love hate relationship when running as I mentioned, but this one session has sparked a real interest in improving my style and finally feeling no niggles when I head out for a recreational 5k.
I’ll keep you posted throughout this little running journey I’m about to embark on…