Why You Need A Running Assessment

When it became clear that I would not be able to get to the beach this summer, I decided that the least that I could do for myself was get a running assessment. I’ve been interested in getting a running assessment since I first heard about them, but between wavering over where to go and my usual tendency to procrastinate making phone calls to set up appointments, it was last week before I finally got it done. 

Running Assessment

I went to Valens, a local physical therapy and sports performance company, which offers what they call Running Solutions®: 

Running Solutions® is a specialized service provided by our physical therapy staff. The physical therapist will analyze your strength, flexibility, and biomechanical traits to detect potential injury triggers. Then the physical therapist will teach you strategies to keep you running healthily.

My appointment with the physical therapist lasted close to two hours. Like the blurb says, she assessed my strength and flexibility, and watched me walk and run barefoot on the treadmill (and took videos). At the end of the appointment, she gave me her preliminary assessment and a few exercises to address the weaknesses she identified. A few days later, she e-mailed me a full report with a full explanation of my results and a longer list of exercises and foam rolling techniques. 

The bottom line:

  • my sacroilieac is out of whack again
  • I overpronate from my ankles 

The solutions:

  • The physical therapist didn’t suggest it, but I think I will see a chiropractor about my SI/pelvis alignment. It’s a problem I’ve had before, and chiropractic treatment has helped before.
  • Exercises to strengthen my arches (!) and use my glutes to stabilize my hips. (Remember when I failed the toe test? These exercises should improve my score!)
  • New shoes. The physical therapist suggested that I try shoes with “rearfoot stability control.” I went to my favorite local running store (Pacers) and decided to try the Mizuno Wave Paradox. 

Mizuno Paradox

There was a model of Asics that also looked like a good shoe for me, but since I am so close to my fall races, the physical therapist had suggested making only conservative changes to my gear. Since my pronation did look OK in these Mizunos, and since I’ve been wearing Mizunos for years, I am more comfortable with this option. 

So , why do you need a running assessment? I have been relatively injury free for over a year, but the physical therapist identified weaknesses that I can strengthen to improve my biomechanics and my running. (She thinks my strong core has helped compensate for the weaknesses she identified and prevent injuries–go planks!) I thought I was doing well in my “neutral” running shoes (and had been fitted for them at a different local running store), but she could see that they weren’t right for me. Hopefully by incorporated the new exercises she gave me and switching my shoes, I will continue to run strong and injury-free through my fall races. 

Have you ever had a running assessment?

Have you ever done foot strengthening exercises? 

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16 Responses to Why You Need A Running Assessment

  1. I just did one as well at AEC and it was really interesting. I’m working on the issues that came up and it’s really not so easy to change your running style at our age! It does explain why I have certain injuries though.

  2. Couldn’t agree more! If we can find a good PT even just getting a look at our basic weaknesses can head them off before they become issues!
    Amanda – RunToTheFinish recently posted…What your gym bag says about you?My Profile

  3. i’ve never done one formally, but i did go through a cycle of PT last fall and my therapist gave me lots of specific recommendations and exercises. it was super helpful!
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…Spinach Basil Pesto RecipeMy Profile

  4. You read my mind Coco – I’ve been thinking more and more that I need to have a full analysis done. Glad you found it helpful! Hope the new shoes and exercises do the trick!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted…Training Week 6: Remembering WhyMy Profile

  5. Debbie says:

    I had MacKenzie at Valens, too! I was injured with recurring IT band issues and she had me take 4 weeks off, gave me exercises to do, put me in Mizuno Wave Inspires and had me follow a return to running program. I’m happy to report I’m completely pain free (I continue the PT exercises) and think it’s money well spent! It’s also worth going to Pacers when she is there to fit you in the exact shoe. I’m making an appointment for my husband very soon!

  6. Kristen says:

    This is so interesting! I’ve always wondered if I was running correctly and if there was anything I could do to reduce the chance of injury. I’ll have to see if they have this service where I live!
    Kristen recently posted…It’s The Little Things…My Profile

  7. Kim says:

    I’ve never had a running assessment but would like to at some point!
    Hopefully they would recommend new shoes – any reason to buy new shoes makes me happy!!
    Kim recently posted…30 Years Ago I Started Running and just Never Stopped!!My Profile

  8. Since I seem to be in PT indefinitely, I’ve more or less had an assessment during various appointments but I would like an overall assessment that not just focused on my injury (if that makes sense). It was fascinating though to learn where the weaknesses stem from. And you would think that with yoga, my feet with be super strong but alas, that tends to be a weak spot (and ankles).

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  10. I’ve never done neither. The most was running on a treadmill so the store could see how my foot strikes the ground. I definitely think it is something good to do especially if one is hitting the pavement on a regular basis.
    Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club recently posted…$70 Rainshadow Labs Gift Card GiveawayMy Profile

  11. I’ve never had an actual running assessment done, to be honest I didn’t know they really did them. The closest thing I’ve had done to a running assessment was a assessment of my gait at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store. They have you get on a treadmill for a little bit to see which shoe you would be best in. I will definitely keep this in mind for after I get my knee back into proper shape. Thanks for posting, and have a lovely evening!
    Niquole Abram recently posted…Why You Won’t See Me Eat Raw or CleanMy Profile

  12. jill conyers says:

    Yes, I recently had a running assessment and I highly recommend it for all runners! Not just the injured ones 🙂 Prevention my friend. Prevention. Oh and I changed my shoes too. Happily coming back!
    jill conyers recently posted…Healthy Peach Pie Protein PancakesMy Profile

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