I received a free analysis from IdealRun in exchange for this post. All opinions, as always, are my own. Thanks for your support of My Healthyish Life!
I had just received the news that my MRI showed a metatarsal stress fracture when my orthopedic said to me, “when you are ready to run again, you need to work on your form. Maybe get it analyzed.”
*Cue the frustration, disappointment and venting to my mom.
Me? Work on my form? What is there to improve?
In all seriousness, I was surprised. I had been running for eight years without injury and never changed anything about my form. Why would I be injured now? <– That statement in itself if evidence that I needed a wakeup call.
Any athlete, professional or recreational, knows that injuries can happen at any time. Even if you follow the 10% rule, stretch and strength train, repeated wear and tear adds up and causes stress on the joints and muscles. Then to add mechanical issues, freak accidents and overtraining, it can be a full-time job to stay healthy.
I want running to be a lifetime sport, not a short-lived hobby from my youth. Therefore, any steps I can take (literally and figuratively) to stay healthy and correct imbalances are very important to me. Enter: IdealRun.
It’s a random story how I learned about IdealRun…I was watching the local news in Tampa in early February as the city was gearing up for a local race weekend (a half, 15k, 8k and 5k). One of the news anchors in Tampa did an interview with IdealRun and its founder, Dr. Eric Schweitzer. The concept intrigued me: gait analysis from the comfort of your own home (well, your own treadmill). No need to visit a doctor in person, just send in a few videos and you’ll receive a detailed analysis and suggestions for form improvement. It had been in my mind to get a gait analysis since my stress fracture so the timing was perfect. Plus, injured or not, it’s always a good idea to tune up running form.
The following is my experience using IdealRun. See below for a discount code for your own gait analysis!
Step 1: Fill out online questionnaire
Simple questions about your history as a runner including injuries, goals, preferred distances, shoes and mileage per week.
Step 2: Take and upload videos
You will be asked to take seven short videos from different angles. Three will be of you running on the treadmill, two will be of you doing squats and two will be of you performing a lateral step down. (There are detailed instructions on the customer portal for how to shoot and what to focus on). I had my mom take the videos in our gym. They ask you to wear a sports bra (or no shirt for men) and tight shorts so they can see your hips, arms and legs.
Step 3: Receive assessment from Dr. Schweitzer
Within 3-5 business days you will have a “running analysis” on your dashboard with feedback from Dr. Schweitzer. You will see snapshots of your videos with arrows pointing out alignment and range of motion. He will detail what the correct alignment/posture should be compared to yours and recommend exercises to correct the problem.
Here’s a look at some of my feedback:
Step 4: Complete recommended exercises
A pretty simple but very important step. If you want to improve and stay healthy in the long run, you (I) need to put in the work. Dr. Schweitzer recommended wall squats (facing the wall) and lateral step down for me.
After completing the exercises recommended for more than two weeks, here are my thoughts:
-Dr. Schweitzer pointed out a few things I had never realized about my running form: my arm swing and “bouncing.” I knew about my hip drop and poor alignment on single-leg exercises, but now I have more to think about. I’ve been consciously working on pointing my elbows directly back when I run and not letting them flare out to the sides. Also, he recommended trying to “keep the horizon as still as possible,” meaning don’t bounce while running.
-I loved the personalized feedback and suggestions for (safely) reaching my goals. I said I would like to work on speed and he recommended counting my foot strike to calculate strides per minute. Then, I should increase 5 steps per minute every month (a very gradual increase).
-I do wish there was a follow-up so I could re-submit videos to check on any progress. I did suggest they include that in the future.
-It is so incredibly important to strengthen the muscles in your glutes, hips and core. Those are my weaker areas and to reduce the risk of future injury I need to stay consistent with strength training.
Overall I’m very pleased with my experience with IdealRun and I plan to continue the exercises, along with consistent stretching, to improve my overall form. If you are interested in having YOUR gait analyzed, IdealRun is offering a $15 discount for readers. Just use the code “HealthyishReaders.” Again, you don’t have to be in the Tampa-area :)
Click To Tweet
*This is my public declaration so you guys can hold me accountable.*
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
I am a big believer (and this has been proven) that subtle tweaks in form can help you stay injury free and run faster, but that large tweaks in form can actually hamper you. Some of the fastest and most successful runners in the world are wonky runners! But I personally have tweaked my running form before (several times, actually), and I am the better for it!
Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…The ABCs of Suz : From Paris to Pet Peeves!
I admit I don’t stretch all that much, certainly never before running (danger zone!) I do incorporate hip flexibility movements and body weight exercises after training because that helps prevent injury. It would be good to get my gait analyzed…but maybe after my next race, I don’t want to change anything now hahaha
Ellie recently posted…Reflecting On My Journey and Being Grateful
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
This is so interesting. I have been wanting to have my gait analyzed and I think it is so cool that it can be all be done on your own treadmill and submitted online. I know that there are small tweaks I could probably make in my own running form so it would be interesting to see them analyzed and ways to improve them. I am bad at stretching when I am not training for a race, but when I am I make sure to stretch after every single run since I am always worried about getting injured during training.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Green Vanilla Chai Smoothie
I’m getting my gait analyzed at my local running store (they have a gait analysis and physical therapy lab there!) after I’m cleared to run again! My gait got so messed up from running on a hurt leg for a month, plus I think its just good information to know in general.
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl says
I want to do a gait analysis before I start training for the NYC Marathon (probably starting in May to give myself 6 months). I’m super injury prone and my hip and knee tend to start bothering me randomly, and I have a feeling there are things they could tell me to work on, but I’m a little trepidatious about doing it online and the NYC ones in person are so pricey! Decisions, decisions…
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…WIAW #49: Saturday Sweets
So crazy this can be done online! I would be interested to see what my results are from something like this, as I have never had any sort of instruction with my running gait…and it’s probably pretty bad haha. What a cool program!
Hayley recently posted…La Quinta Recap // Part 2
i did a gait analysis in person once a few years ago. it was interesting though painful to see myself running from behind close up in slow motion. ick ! i learned my medial glutes were weak. similar to you my hips were coming up and down to much and im a pronator. i was given some leg lifts and things like that to work on. interestingly we never discussed arms but im sure that my arms are out of wack. probably my legs were bad enough !
Ha it is awkward to see yourself running! Or in any video for that matter. I think my leg/hip/glute weakness is more important to prevent injury but the arm thing is something that takes more thought while running!
Margaret @ youngandrungry says
I’m so happy you did this! I’ve had gait analysis done, but I feel like it wasn’t quite this in depth or a fully body analysis, but that’s so important because of course everything is very connected! I’m with you though thinking it all sounds a little open ended, but I guess the rest is where going to a PT or something would come into play! It almost just can’t be completely wrapped up in one or two consults.
Margaret @ youngandrungry recently posted…Currently, What’s New with Me, & Some More News
Completely agree. It’s not like things would be magically solved in two weeks either. It’s such a work in progress and something I need to do (on my own) consistently to see a difference!
This is so cool! I would love to learn more about my running gait.
sarah recently posted…Saturday Recap
I think everyone could benefit from having their gait analyzed! Even us recreational runners, because no one wants to get injured.
Amanda @ ExploringLifeAndThings says
This is so interesting to read! I’ve never gotten a gait analysis done but I’ve always wondered if there’s somethings I should be doing differently while running (I’m sure there are!). I also am the worrrrrst at stretching. I don’t know why the I feel as if I’m “too busy” to stretch because that’s the biggest joke to me haha but I rarely take the time to stretch after running.
Amanda @ ExploringLifeAndThings recently posted…Would you rather?
STORY OF MY LIFE. I’m not busy at all but I rarely take the time to stretch…or even cool down properly. My mom has a few old videos of me running during cross country in high school but this was the first time in a while that I’ve seen a video of myself running. It was definitely helpful!
Kristy @ Southern In Law says
Form is SO important – as is stretching! I don’t stretch before working out but take extra time to stretch afterwards (and roll with my R8 and foam roller).
I’ve never had a gait analysis done but I have had a sports therapist watch me squat/run/etc and give me tips for avoiding injury (as I had serious IT band issues last year which turned out to be due to orthotics a chiropractor told me I “had” to have).
Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…Travel: New Zealand’s Best Glamping Experiences on the North Island
That’s great that you have a sports therapist! I had one I loved near me at school (I wanted to just hang out at the office…seriously) but now that I’m home I need to find a new one.
Each time I buy a new trainer, I have a gait analysis done but on a far less detailed level than this program. I would really like to have some more guidance on my running form though, as well as going back to having coached sessions, since I feel as though I have hit a bit of a plateau and need a severe kick up the you know where to get my head back on the right track…
You had a really good suggestion with the ‘follow-up’/ progress analysis options and it’s definitely something the company would find worth their while taking on board :)
I’ve had the in-store analysis done before buying sneakers, too. But they have always told me what I already know. Funny that you mention plateau, that’s exactly what I said before going through this program. I felt like I was in a standstill (especially post-stress fracture) so it was what I needed to get my body and mind in the right place.
Rebecca @ Vitamin OH! says
Wow – what a great idea! The price is a little steep for me to splurge on, but I will keep it in mind as a birthday or Christmas gift in the future. I’m sure the giver wouldn’t really understand what they were paying for though, haha!
Rebecca @ Vitamin OH! recently posted…Extreme Hiking Hinckley Reservation
Haha sometimes I ask for the most random things that it would be easier to just get a gift card! But someone who cares will understand :)
Catherine @ foodiecology says
This is so neat! I know my gait is probably horribly messed up. My right hip/glute/whatever is weaker and less flexible, and I’m always curious to know if my walking/running is as bad as I think it is.
It’s too bad they don’t offer a follow up. Like you, I’d be curious about how effective the advice was.
Catherine @ foodiecology recently posted…Currently // March 2016
I have the same problem. My right side is all messed up and super tight. I could live in a right hip flexor stretch…I need it that badly. The only thing I can think of that proves there has been progress is having minimal aches and stronger runs. Pretty vague, though.
Liv @ Healthy Liv says
I had my gait analyzed when I went through physical therapy a few years back after a running injury and it was pretty helpful! The PT pointed out the issues more so than the ways to change them, which was a little bit of a bummer. Your experience sounds so cool with Ideal Run! Love the idea of doing a gait analysis through an online platform.
Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…Hi from the Beach!
I had a PT who just told me “stretch” and everything would be better (I ditched him…). The strengthening is so important!
This sounds awesome! I feel like they don’t have anything like this in Alaska so I love that it’s virtual! I might have to check this out!
Kristen recently posted…Wednesday #Winning
It doesn’t get more convenient than a virtual analysis! They have an option to video tap running outside too, in case you don’t have access to a treadmill (but I hope you do because, Alaska..) :)
This looks really interesting. I’d love to know how my running gait would measure up. I’m worried it would make me stress out and make running feel too calculated..or I’d forget how to run.
Megan recently posted…Is competition holding you back?
I was worried about running feeling weird too…and then me not wanting to run. I just focus on one thing for each run so it feels mostly normal. Of course my mind wanders but as long as I’m returning to the thought a few times throughout the run I consider that a start :)
This is so cool. You know (as I’ve told you) I am a hot damn mess when I run. Floppin’ all over the place. I need this lolol
Christina recently posted…Basil Pesto Hummus
It’s the most awkward thing to watch your running (and squatting) played back on video but it helped me realize that I needed some major work!
Sarah @ BucketListTummy says
Thanks for sharing. This is very helpful and awesome that you had it analyzed!
Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…Why (And How) I Treat Myself Often