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Running technique analysis 3d measurements explained

With technology now allowing us to be able to measure depth and distance alongside weight, height and velocity, we can now get a far better grip as to what forces can contribute to injury or loss of running economy and performance. This helps us to seperate the running facts from the theories and get you one step closer as to what works well, specifically for you. Herewith the 'dashboard' of the 3d running technique analysis measurements we use with explainations underneath. And this stuff is just scraping the surface as to how we can help you!

Running technique analysis 3d measurements explained

1. Running economy (RE) is the best predictor for long distance running performance and it is predominantly determined by the efficiency of the runner's mechanical motion. It is a measure of how much energy it takes to move one kilo of your body mass one meter forwardat the given running speed. Running economy can vary with running speed  and runningstyle (it does look like fridge rating!!)

2. Speed capacity rating predicts what distance suits your physical ability based on your running economy (re) and Joint loading. The speed capacity rating predicts what will happenwith the economy. This can vary with speed and joint loading times. Ie a runner with high joint loading but good running economy could be better suited for mid distance (hence mid distance is at the end of the speed capacity ranking.

3. Joint Loading. Running is a weight bearing exercise that puts a lot of demand on the lower limbs. It is ultimately the load applied to the lower limb joints and the runner's ability to withstand thatload that decides how robust you are as a runner.  This joint loading analysis is based on calculations of moments acting on a joint.

4. Stride type denotes which part of your foot makes contact with the ground first.  In most cases, rear foot runners have longer ground force reactions than forefoot runners. Although rear foot runners could be less efficient due to extended ‘breaking phase’, forefoot runners can be more economical but vulnerableto placing more demand on your muscles.

5. Pelvic tilt indicates how your pelvis sits when  your run. The pelvis needs to drop forward ‘anteriorly’ to promote forward running momentum, but some runners have a weakness that often cause the pelvis to drop out of it’s healthy borders (sitting based jobs can effect this weakness). Alternately, a few have a posterior tilt where the pelvis is raised at the front and drops behind.      

6. Stride frequency is your cadence, your bodies natural RPM (revolutions per minute).  But unlike cars that run more efficiently at low rpm, we work best at high rpm. Low cadence (rpm) would suggest you could be over striding (taking greater steps in front of your body mass, see footstrike position), which can create greater joint loading on your body. High cadence is more likely to have you running like the elites!

7. Contact time is an important factor for running economy. When you make contact with the ground, your body has to cope with gravitational forces and your foot creates resistance against the ground. The longer the contact time, the more resistance your body has to deal with. The most economical runners have little contact time hence run more efficiently.

8. Forward lean. A slight forward lean of the upper body is in most cases beneficial to reduce the amount of braking force. Runners that are bolt upright tend to be susceptible to over striding. Leaning forward is a free commodity that can reduce over striding and help promote more of an efficient mid foot running form. 

9. Footstrike position. A footstrike position far in front of the center of mass is often referred to as overstriding and can increase joint loading forces (and ground force contact time), running economy is typically effected. A footstrike closer to ‘underneath’ your body would therefore promote less joint loading and reduce contact time, running economy therefore improves.

10. Vertical displacement (in mm) is basically how much you oscillate up and down while running. Excessive vertical displacements increases your muscles work load against gravity and subsequently increased energy costs (unless the ground contact time can be kept short).

11. Braking force is generated between initial foot contact to midstance (where your foot is directly underneath your centre line of gravity). This is referred to as  the braking phase. Increased breaking forces can be caused by overstriding, lower cadence or a reduction of forward lean. 

12. Vertical force. Following ‘flight phase’ from Vertical displacement (see above), when landing  back on the  ground, your body goes into a form of flexion to deacelerate from gravity. It’s during this time when your body creates elastic recall to propel yourself forward. Too much vertical force (high knee flexion angles associated with a large leg compression) increases the work against gravity and thus an increased energy cost.

13. Lateral force is a measure of the amount of side to side motion of the center of mass and most of that motion is wasted energy. Runners with this side to side movement tend to have a pelvic weakness that subsequently causes the upper body to work harder to compensate.

14. Stride rating takes into consideration all the above parameters and rates from one to five stars corresponding to your own performance. It’s a very simple scoring system that allows you to see areas of potential improvement. 

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