Team Triathlon Plus have their running gait analysed by expert Liam Dixon.

Gait Analysis

During gait analysis, Rich shows the immaculate running style that could carry him to a new PB in July

With the race countdown underway and plenty of training to get on with, Team Triathlon Plus took a trip to see running specialist Liam Dixon for a professional gait analysis at Run Swindon. Each team member was to be kitted out with a shoe from the Saucony range that would best suit his or her individual running style.

Gait analysis is the study of human motion and is used to assess the way we run to highlight biomechanical issues that can be reduced and improved with a properly fitted running shoe. A professional gait analysis is essential in ensuring long-term running comfort, enjoyment and performance – not to mention keeping the team on their feet this season.

The Templo Lite system used by Dixon uses real time video analysis that can be played back frame-by-frame to give instant feedback of the foot’s position and movement. The images are then interpreted by an expert, who can recommend the correct type of running shoe.

The shoe you require is determined by how much you pronate when your foot strikes the ground. Pronation itself isn’t a problem as this is simply your body’s natural cushioning mechanism. Nevertheless, excessive over-pronation (inward roll) or supination (under-pronation or outward roll) can cause many common running injuries including plantar fasciitis, runners knee, shin splints, IT band syndrome and Achilles tendonitis.

Shoe manufacturers have developed a wide range of running shoes to accommodate this broad range of running styles. Saucony’s technical representative, Tommy Davies, explained the differences to us: “Neutral shoes offer only minimal cushioning and are designed for those runners who have very slight pronation and so require minimal support from their footwear. Stability shoes and motion control shoes are designed for moderate pronators and excessive pronators respectively; these types of trainer have inbuilt support on the medial (inner) side of the shoe that helps to correct the runner’s gait. The more support the runner requires, then the thicker and denser this material needs to be in their shoe.”

After testing and extensive analysis of our individual running gaits, the results were in.

RICH

While John takes the prize for being Alistair Brownlee’s double in looks, it’s Rich who’d be booked as a Brownlee lookalike based on running style. Like the Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee, Rich floats along the ground with majestic ease thanks to a perfect running posture that means his ankles, knees, quads and hips are all in perfect biomechanical alignment with one another and working together to propel him forward.

Training shoe prescribed:
The Saucony Triumph 10

JOHN

John was the most severe overpronator of the team and Dixon explained that his problems are typical of athletes coming to triathlon with a strong background in cycling. “While John’s leg muscles are extremely strong from cycling, they aren’t conditioned to do anything else. He struggles to activate them in the way he needs to for running, which is why his whole running posture looks off-balanced. His glutes are the biggest area of concern and he needs to work at strengthening this area as well as his core stability. Postural exercise, lunges, single leg squats and activities such as Pilates and yoga should help him get there.”

Training shoe prescribed:
The Saucony Omni 11

AIMEE

As a beginner, Aimee’s experience with running is fairly limited and her muscles are therefore neither strong nor accustomed to the strain that running places on the body. Dixon explained: “Newcomers to running often have poor technique and conditioning, which increases their risk of injury if they don’t take things slowly and build up the miles sensibly. I tend to recommend heavily cushioned and supportive shoes to beginners to help protect their feet as they work on developing the correct running technique and strengthening their muscles.”

Training shoe prescribed:
The Saucony Omni 11

JEK

Jek was labelled as a mild pronator with sound technique. However, Dixon explained that to run faster, “Jek needs to work on increasing her cadence. There are no fancy formulas and the methodology is simple: the less time your foot spends in contact with the floor, the faster you will run, since it acts as an anchor while it’s on the ground. This style of running also greatly reduces your chance of injury, since it prevents over-striding thus reducing the braking forces that are exerted on the muscles and bones in the body as the foot hits the ground.”

Training shoe prescribed:
The Saucony Guide 6

With the shoe fit complete the team can get down to the business of actually running – catch up with them next month as they take on their first track training session.

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