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.
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 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.
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?