Walkway: The right way to enhance your walkway
To dive deeply into running, we sat down with two running training experts. Before we hear what they have to say, let's learn a little about these two.
Jack McNamara, CSCS, MsC, Senior Tutor at Train Fitness: Since beginning his career in 2005, Jack has given more than 20,000 hours of personal coaching, worked at London's most exclusive fitness facilities and given postgraduate exercise science courses to aspiring strength training executives. He holds a Masters Degree in Special Purpose Exercise and was one of the very first personal trainers in the UK to be awarded Chartered status last year.
Brett Durney, PT and Owner of Fitness Lab: Co-founder and personal trainer of Fitness Lab, runs personal training boutiques in Soho and Fitzrovia in central London. Qualified as a PT, he has over 14 years of experience and has coached almost 17,000 PT sessions!
What is a walkway?
The walkway refers to the cycle our leg goes through when we take a step while running. This ongoing gait cycle consists of two main phases – stance and swing. In addition, the floating phase specifically separates the walkway from walking: the two floating phases in which neither of the feet is in contact with the ground.
the Stance phase is divided into three sub-phases: First contact, medium-sized companies and tunneling. The first contact is also known as a foot strike and begins when your foot makes the first contact with the ground. This is the part that absorbs all of the impact.
Also known as the single support phase, the middle stance phase is the transition between absorbing strength and starting to move your body forward. After all, the drive is the last stage of the stance phase. Also known as a toe kick, your body begins to move forward.
If your foot is off the ground and you bend at the ankles, knees, and hips, at this stage your foot has that as. is known to have enough space to clear the floor swing. This phase begins as soon as your foot leaves the ground and ends when you touch the ground again with your foot.
Durney has a great perspective on the subject. "What differentiates your running gait from your walking gait is the swim phase, which occurs during the swing phase. This is the moment when none of your feet touch the ground and your body “floats” in the air.
Why is the walkway important?
McNamara really hit the mark with this answer. "For most of us, running is something we've “just” been doing since childhood, so we don't actively pay attention to our posture, technique, or the rhythm of running. This can result in many runners having too much tension in their bodies and inadequate stride length.
The result is often excessive stress on the joints and a feeling of "falling" heels, which is why many casual runners would find it painful to walk on a hard surface such as a sidewalk without running shoes. "
In other words, working on your gait can make you run longer and harder while avoiding injury at the same time.
How to analyze your gait
Analyzing your walk will help you see how you are walking. That way, you can make the corrections you need to avoid being inefficient. You can go to a professional for a gait analysis; however, it is also possible to do this yourself.
Using a video recording that allows you to see yourself walking from different angles will help you get the job done. A full analysis includes both front and side views.
According to Durney, there are some basic things to keep in mind when it comes to either view.
1. Coach Durney's Frontal View Key "Look For"
- Arms cross the center line of the body
- Excessive trunk rotation
- Pelvis falls on the opposite side of the supporting leg
- Excessive forward rotation of the pelvis
- Alignment of the feet and knees
- Feet land just within the width of the pelvis
- Feet end up excessively curled up or rolled out
2. What to look for in Coach Durney's side view
- Head upright and stable
- Bend your arms forward and stretch them behind your torso
- Trunk turns too much
- Pelvis rotates too much forwards
- Foot landing in front of the body
- Knees bent on landing
- Follow-up knee and ankle flexion to prepare for the leg swing
3. The wet test
Coach McNamara takes a different approach. According to McNamara, an important first step is determining what your feet are doing while you run. You can do the wet test to check your arch height.
“Wet both feet and place them on a strong piece of paper, such as a paper bag, for about 10 seconds. When you get out, you can check the shape of your footprint on the bag.
- Normal arch of the foot – a distinct curve along the inside of the footprint with a band running along the outside edge of the foot connecting the heel and toe.
- Low arch of the foot – the footprint shows most of your foot, with not much curvature along the inside edge.
- High arch – an exaggerated curve on the inside with a very thin band (or none at all) connecting the heel and toe. "
The wet test can help you to find the right type of shoe for your individual feet.
Improve your walk
McNamara believes, “No matter what your gait, there is no real reason to change it. While there are a seemingly endless number of running shoes and custom orthotics are available from most podiatrists, research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found no evidence to suggest that foot pronation affects the likelihood of running injuries.
The best way for most people to avoid injury and improve their running economy is to avoid heel striking or crossing and instead increase their running frequency.
The goal of getting more steps per minute (higher cadence) often improves a runner's overall shape by encouraging shorter, gentler strides, reducing the vertical strain rate, and reducing the overall strain on the skeletal system.
This means less strain on your lower back, knees and hips while maintaining a movement pattern that is still natural to you and your physiology. "
Durney is a proponent of finding the problems with running and making adjustments to fix those things. According to Durney, "Making changes to your walkway can be difficult, but it is possible. Chances are that any dysfunction in your gait has been aggravated by repetition. The thousands of steps you've made out of neuromuscular habits can be hard to break.
The key, however, is to be more aware of how you are walking. If there are a number of issues that you need to address, address them one at a time. Trying to do too much at once will be ineffective. Select the most urgent problem, work on it until it is resolved, then move on to the next.
Some problems with running may not be things that you can fix simply by being aware of them while you are running. Muscle imbalances, weaknesses, mobility problems, and injuries can also affect your gait.
Every body and every step is unique, so you can get the most benefit from talking to a professional such as a physical therapist or treadmill who can provide tailored advice and programming. "
My opinion as a running coach
My thoughts fall somewhere between McNamara and Durney. I firmly believe that a runner who wears the right shoes will stay healthier longer. However, this does not necessarily mean that a runner with a certain type of arch has to be in a certain type of shoe.
Personally, I know runners with feet and running styles that convention would put in a stability shoe, and they strongly believe in the minimalist movement. And guess what? It works for you.
As a coach myself who has worked with young people for most of my career, I agree with Durney that if you are conscientious, you can correct bad running mechanics. It is much easier for young athletes to do this than for adults who have walked a certain path all their lives.
Even so, I believe that if a runner chooses a few things to change in their gait and / or running style, you can do this. Do I believe in a complete overhaul of the running style of a 40+ year old runner? No, I don't think that's necessary.
However, if you can only identify a few things that you can do differently to improve efficiency, why not?