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Free Speed

Two months to go before the big day! The Transrockies 6-Day Run is approaching soon. Time to check on training and look for possible modifications. We all love free stuff – free is good – and what runner wouldn’t love some free speed, right?

Wouldn’t you love to get faster without needing to add extra speedwork, hills or tempo runs?

Well I am a nice guy, and if you are reading this, it means you may care a bit about what this old runner has to say, so … I am going to share the secret to get yourself some of that free speed.

The Secret
Gait Analysis, that’s the secret! Simple, isn’t it?

A gait analysis will allow you to see how your body functions while pounding the ground. A professional will be able to tell you, show you and explain to you any flaws in your running stride. You can then use this info to become more efficient and more powerful.

Another great benefit of a gait analysis is discovering any imbalance, weakness or tightness going on in your body. Fixing or being aware of any of these could reduce your chance of injuries and therefore result in fewer lost training days. In return, this will translate to a more complete training season and probably faster times.

How This Secret Can Help You
Instead of explaining, I can actually share with you how the last gait analysis I did a couple of weeks ago has already paid dividends. Here’s the story:

Last time I had a gait analysis was in my early 30s (sooo… that means a long time ago). At that time, I still had some speed in these now old legs — or at least speed I wish I had now.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to visit my friends at Finish Line Physical Therapy and check for any possible changes in my running. Let’s face it: I am now a bit older, and we all know our bodies and muscles change with age.

Alison McGinnis, a top-notch physical therapist with Finish Line PT, happened to be the lucky person in charge of letting me know I still have it ……… or so I thought!

In my 30s I was told I had a 94% efficiency ratio (that’s how it was measured on that test). Not too bad. I’ve been always proud of that number. My little ego hoped for similar results this time around.

Surprise Surprise
The test took less than 20 minutes, and what I saw on that screen and what Alison explained wasn’t what I was expecting. My running gait had changed; my center of gravity was off, my natural pronation on my right foot was a bit off and my hip muscles were not performing as efficiently as they should.

I was shocked. Me the coach who thinks efficiency is the pillar of long distance running.

Time to Pay Attention
Since that day, I’ve invested lots of my running thinking about what I learned in those 20 minutes. Every day I go running now, I spend time making sure my hips do the work and my center of gravity is what it’s supposed to be, right under my hips. Such simple things to fix, but I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

The Pay-Off
It’s only been a couple of weeks since that eye-opening test, and two weeks since I changed some of the focus on my running from “doing the work” to “running smart.” I already see the pay-off: my pace has improved by 5-10 seconds per mile. I’ve also noticed that my recovery is faster, and my hips and quads don’t get as sore after my long runs.

Those 5-10 seconds per mile could potentially translate into running 20 minutes faster at Transrockies in August.

I didn’t have to train extra hard, run extra speed workouts, extra hills or extra miles. It only took 20 minutes at that eye-opening gait analysis with Alison.

Now if that’s not free speed, what is?

I highly recommend you have a gait analysis. It could be the best and fastest way to a PR, and it doesn’t matter if you are new at this running thing or if, like this old Spaniard, you’ve been at it for most of your life. Go for it. You know what they say: “What you think you see and what you actually see……”

By The Way
I just want to make sure you understand that when I recommend having a gait analysis I don’t mean the so-called gait analysis you can get done at a running store by the 19-year-old sales person. Nothing against them, but most of them lack the knowledge and experience to provide as in-depth of an analysis. Their job is to sell shoes. They likely don’t have the same understanding of how the body functions as a whole and in gait like a professional who has spent years studying it.

It’s your lucky day! Finish Line Physical Therapy is happy to offer all readers with a FREE functional gait and movement analysis. If you’re inspired by how Ramon was able to earn “free speed” as a result of better understanding his gait, then we encourage you to call our office to schedule yours today. Just tell the front desk, “I want some free speed!”

Coach Ramon Bermo has been an athlete for 37 years and a coach for 17. He is currently training for his 60th marathon, and has completed 13 Ironman triathlons and multiple ultra marathons in addition to hundreds of other races varying in distances. Ramon is the founder and coach of Tri2B and currently works as the Senior Director and Head Coach for the American Cancer Society DetermiNation program. Through the years, he has coached thousands of athletes in achieving their athletic dreams through such programs as NYU running club, Niketown, Team in Training, DetermiNation and Tri2B. Without a doubt, his favorite coaching moment was watching his 12-year-old daughter complete her first triathlon.

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