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  • Writer's pictureGustavo Antonio Calderón Morales

Mastering the Art of Beautiful Running: Unveiling the Power of Gait Analysis and Fascial Dynamics

Mastering the Art of Beautiful Running: Unveiling the Power of Gait Analysis and Fascial Dynamics


Unlocking the Secrets of Efficient and Graceful Running


Have you ever looked at a race photo and wondered if that truly captures your running gait? Chances are, no – that snapshot doesn't reflect your actual running form. Accurate gait analysis is not something that can be done by a mere visual assessment or a quick snapshot or slow-motion video. Running is a highly skilled activity, not an innate ability. While our running gait (or running form) doesn't have to be perfect, it's a skill that each runner can understand and improve to enhance running performance and prevent injuries.



Drawing upon my experience and knowledge in the field, I challenge conventional anatomical conclusions, urging us to see beyond labels. Let me introduce you to a hidden marvel – the fascia, a dull and grey tissue that holds our entire being together. I passionately claim that fascia is the fabric that binds us, and within it lies the essence of the description of our dynamic movement.


The Fascial Web: Elasticity Embedded Within

Fascia, often overlooked, is a stretchy fibrous tissue enveloping our entire body, akin to the fabric holding us together. It forms a complex network of tension and compression, challenging the traditional notion of the skeleton as the primary stabilizing structure. It's the myofascial system that orchestrates the harmony of movement.

As ground reaction forces push up, gravity pulls down, and momentum encourages forward motion, envision a trampoline. Each foot strike is like a bounce, stretching the surrounding springs or elastic tissues, harnessing the fascia's stretchiness and bounciness to propel movement. This tensional integrity helps distribute landing forces, preventing the shock of impact from isolating in the lower limbs.


Cadence: The Rhythmic Dance of Elastic Energy

In my experience and knowledge, I emphasize the significance of cadence in maximizing elastic energy. A cadence above 160 steps per minute aligns with the body's natural frequency, optimizing energy creation, storage, and release. Yet, I caution against fixating solely on cadence; a balance with stride length is crucial.


Stride Length: The Art of Creating a Bounce

Elite Kenyan runners showcase a powerful yet graceful form. Their secret? Creating a bounce that propels them upward and forward. Striding with an upward and forward trajectory minimizes ground contact time, allowing for longer strides without sacrificing efficiency. Posture plays a crucial role – standing tall and upright, utilizing the fascial system to its fullest.


Posture and Lean: Harnessing Natural Elasticity

Efficiency in movement stems from utilizing the body's natural elasticity. Running tall and upright engages the fascial system, providing a natural recoil that propels muscles. A forward lean, not from the waist but the ankles, utilizes gravity to enhance propulsion. A bow-like form, eyes on the horizon, signifies a harmonious engagement of the body's elastic potential.


Take Ownership: Embrace Beautiful and Efficient Movement

In the pursuit of efficient running, embrace movement as a learned skill. Transitioning to a new form may feel awkward initially, but the rewards are immense. Don't view yourself as a mechanical entity but as elastic, fluid, connected, and synergistic. Running beautifully is not just about covering miles; it's about mastering the art of movement.





The Power of Gait Analysis in Elevating Your Running Performance

Now that we've laid the foundation, let's delve deeper into the intricacies of gait analysis. Accurate gait analysis is the missing link between your current running form and the potential for enhanced performance and injury prevention. Let's uncover why every runner should embrace this systematic examination.


Benefits of Gait Analysis: A Game-Changer for Every Runner

Reducing the stress of each running step by 10% can significantly extend your running capacity. Gait analysis, the systematic examination of your running form, holds the key to achieving this reduction. From recreational runners to elites, everyone can benefit from understanding their unique running gait and making informed improvements.

Running Economy: The Miles Per Gallon of Your Running Performance

Beyond the immediate benefits, gait analysis introduces the concept of running economy – how efficiently you convert energy into speed. It goes beyond VO2 max and plays a crucial role in explaining performance variations among runners. Becoming an efficient runner is not just about preventing injuries; it's about maximizing your energy output.


Breaking Down Gait Analysis: What to Measure

Gait analysis involves scrutinizing the running gait cycle, distinguishing between stance and swing phases. This intricate process further breaks down into initial contact, mid-stance, and terminal stance phases. Biomechanics, kinetics, and temporospatial parameters are among the measured aspects, providing a comprehensive understanding of your running mechanics.


Gait Categories: Tailoring Programs for Optimal Results

Better Motion, for instance, categorizes runners based on their biomechanics, offering tailored warm-ups, drills, and cues. Whether you're an overstrider or fall into another category, specific programs aim to optimize your running efficiency. The goal is not just to understand your gait but to equip you with actionable insights to enhance your performance.

Utilizing Gait Data: Turning Analysis into Action

Many runners undergo gait analysis without a clear understanding of what comes next. Better Motion believes in empowering runners with actionable steps. A Runner Readiness Assessment identifies flexibility and strength deficits, ensuring a holistic approach to performance improvement. Gait retraining programs, coupled with graded feedback, provide a gradual transition to a more efficient and healthier running form.


In our next post, we'll delve deeper into the intricacies of gait analysis, exploring the role of biomechanics, kinetics, and other key parameters in transforming your running performance. Get ready to take ownership of your movement and run beautifully.


References

  1. Warden, Stuart J., W. Brent Edwards, and Richard W. Willy. “Preventing bone stress injuries in runners with optimal workload.” Current osteoporosis reports 19.3 (2021): 298-307

  2. Davis IS, Tenforde AS, Neal BS, Roper JL, Willy RW. Gait Retraining as an Intervention for Patellofemoral Pain. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2020 Feb;13(1):103-114. doi: 10.1007/s12178-020-09605-3. PMID: 32170556; PMCID: PMC7083994.

  3. [ps2id id=’3′ target=”/]Andrew, et al. “Reliability of a qualitative video analysis for running.” journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy 46.7 (2016): 556-561.

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