One of the key philosophies we hold here at Runfisix is that out in the real world the first line of support runners have in remaining injury free are their coaches (assuming they use a coach). Coaches have the power to directly influence decision making and training loads. Hence as a gait analysis and injury prevention company we like to work in partnership, when we have the chance, with leading coaches.
Coaches can have a big influence on injury risk in their runners
A seamless blend of technical running coaching and injury prevention work is the best service a runner can receive and one that's well worth paying for. So we were more than happy to team up with Jacob Puzey of Peak Run Performance and the 5 Peaks trail running series to deliver a comprehensive 4 day running retreat in Canmore, Alberta.
One of the best things about the concept of the retreat from a gait analysis perspective was that on the third day there would be a public trail race event for the retreat participants to test themselves in. With the races spanning a range of distances from 6.8km all the way up to the half marathon. This inevitably meant that we could perform outdoor gait analysis not only during relaxed training runs but also during authentic races and then feedback to the participants all in the same weekend.
Authentic race data collection
Day one afforded an opportunity for data collection as well as an opening presentation on gait analysis and injury prevention. A great opportunity to have everyone effectively speaking the same language, to dispel some common myths and open peoples minds to things that they had maybe never considered as being factors linked to running injuries. Early open dialogue was also an important means of learning about the biggest issues that the participants were dealing with and allowing us to provide the most value back to them in return.
After 2 days of training workout data collection, day 3 opened with the race events. 2 volunteers willingly raced with wearable sensors enabling an even greater insight into their running. Then in the afternoon, with the kind agreement of the runner, we got to work through one of the race datasets live. Giving the participants a rare opportunity to see how a gait analysis dataset is broken down and interpreted. What was most enjoyable about this exercise was that the participant was effectively a blind test subject, with Runfisix having no knowledge of the runners past history or race performance.
In a future article we will talk more about the value of blind testing and when it can be an appropriate approach. One of the reasons that we like it and perform blind test analysis on a regular basis is that it removes any sense of confirmational biasing from the human interpretation. All too many times on our travels to clinics around the world we have seen how upfront information from the patient can then lead to biases in how the data is interpreted. At the retreat we were pleased to be able to provide insightful feedback to the runner live in front of the group that perfectly matched with the injury history and rehabilitation story the runner later told.
Moving away from confirmational biasing
After the retreat were excited to receive some great replies from participants who were finding that their gait analysis results were explaining various issues that they were having with their running. One of the participants is now moving on to an extended study with Runfisix to monitor his post-op recovery from a long term serious injury. Look out for a possible future case study detailing that story.
Big thanks to Peak Run Performance and to the 5 Peaks race series for letting us integrate into the weekends events. If you would like to learn more about your running gait and benefit from an assessment just like the participants of the retreat, then please feel free to contact us using the button on this page.