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The Importance of Getting a Run Assessment

by RosePT therapist, Holli Finnerin, DPT and member of Team Snapple Elite Triathlon Team

As my training begins to ease up and the thought of taking a few weeks off after Thanksgiving comes to mind I slightly crack a smile and at the same time have a wave of nervousness come over me.  What will I do with 3 weeks of no training; I’ll probably be bored after 3 days.   I smile because this year included changes, new opportunities and quite a successful year of racing – I made the move over to RosePT, started training under the guidance of a triathlon coach, trained and raced the the DC Tri/Snapple Elite Team and finished just off the podium at IM Lake Placid and won my age group at Augusta 70.3.  The 2015 calendar is coming together with a plan and some goals which bring with them excitement and nervousness.

I was able to manage a long and successful triathlon season this year all while staying injury free.  Sure there were setbacks (illness, travel, nutritional disasters) but I didn’t once have a major injury that kept me away from training.  I used last winter to build a strong and solid base – both aerobically and strength wise.  I looked at form and technique in all 3 disciplines and what I could do to improve each of them.  As this off-season settles in, I’ll go back to the drawing board and have a run assessment, bike fit, and swim analysis.  I’m sure we will find areas of inefficiencies, lost power and asymmetrical movement patterns.  I’ll have months to work on correcting them so I can tackle 2015 even stronger.

If you’re interested in improving your run efficiency and form we ‘d be glad to help you out at RosePT.  We’ll use top of the line software and dual motion capture cameras to observe your gait.  We then analyze each phase of your gait cycle to help identify poor movement patterns, impaired neuromuscular activation, or lack of strength.  These deficiencies can reduce running speed and efficiency; and can be the underlying cause for injuries now or in the future.

To help fix any problems, we show you asymmetries in your gait and what you can do about it, typically including exercises and a series of re-checks to ensure you are moving in the right direction. The thoroughness, retraining, and expertise at Rose PT allows our team to help lay the foundation for energy efficient, pain free running, hopefully for years to come. For this reason, we’ve coined our run program “Run Perfect”. Check out these snazzy tees:

How do you know if you need a running assessment? The fact is, most of us do, whether we run sub-four minute miles or are just out there having fun. Running is hard on your body so it’s really important to get it right.

A run assessment can be beneficial to runners of all abilities and will allow us get you on the road to running faster, more efficiently, and injury free.

Why is proper running form such common problem? Many people run as children and teenagers as part of gym class, organized, sports recess, etc.  It’s a muscle memory that we develop early on. Few of us are lucky enough to have a coach or teacher that gets back to the fundamentals of running form during our most impressionable ages.  But the stakes of injury are high and can severely reduce our enjoyment of sports and quality of life, especially as we get older.

Do you have foot pain, knee pain, or hip pain during or after your runs?  Are your quads fried after a long run or race?  These aches and pains can all be traced back to asymmetries or poor neuromuscular recruitment patterns throughout the gait cycle.  The off season is a great time of year to slow down, focus on form and develop strong running form before increasing your training volume and intensity for the next season.