Before I set off on my expedition I am trying to mitigate as many potential problems as possible. There is no hiding from the fact that my feet and knees are going to be the most likely part of my body to cause troubles along the way. All I can do is ensure that I have the correct shoes and perform the right exercises to keep all the muscles and joints in tip top condition. But how do you go about achieving that with a level of confidence that will give you peace of mind?
Profeet is a shop on the Fulham Road that specialises in custom fitting running shoes and ski boots and they very kindly offered me a free examination to give my feet and running style a thorough examination.
Last Saturday I popped down to their dedicated Sports Footwear lab and underwent a thorough examination (about an hour). The purpose of the trip was to get the answers to 3 questions: 1) do I need insoles, 2) do I have the right running shoes, 3) what can I do to reduce the chance of injury on the expedition.
In order to get the answers to these queries I need to undergo some tests. First up was the running machine. My technician asked me to run on a running machine while he recorded how my feet, knees and hips reacted to every stride. This process was repeated for each pair of shoes I brought with me and then the videos were set next to each other, synced and played back. This can be seen in the picture below.
I do have the odd pains when I run and this varies between shoes. What was interesting when we went through the analysis was that it wasn’t actually my foot strike that was most likely to be the source of these problems, it was my hips. When I run I slightly drop my hips, this causes my knee to over compensate and that could be the source of all my irritations. Apparently this is a very common problem for runners. Luckily the drop wasn’t that significant and I was relieved to hear that it could most likely be resolved with some core strengthening exercises combined with some stretching.
This analysis also allowed us to ascertain which of my shoes were best suited to my running style and would therefore be most appropriate to my expedition. The shoes I took with we were: Adidas AdiZero Tempo 6, Saucony Glide 7 and New Balance M60 v3. Now I have always been a massive Adidas fan and ran my last adventure in Vietnam in a pair of Adizero Tempo 5 shoes but this love affair has lately been put to the test after Saucony very generously sent me a pair of their new Glide 7. And then there was always the New Balance trainers that were lurking the background. However I was not going to make the decision I was going to let Profeet give me their professional opinion. After much analysis and deliberations it was decided… In an ideal world none of these would be the right shoes! But with only 1 month to go and no major problems it was agreed that changing to a completely different shoe would not be advisable. It was also agreed that luckily my running action was good enough not to need insoles.
So the verdict was (and the shoes I will be taking on my expedition) that the Saucony Glide 7 will be my number one shoe with the Adidas Adizero 6 as my number 2 shoe. The New Balance, a shoe with more stability and the one I thought would be appropriate for the mileages, has been side-lined!
The next stage of the analysis was to check my natural running action. For this we returned to the running machine but this time sans shoes. Once again we videoed my running and then sat down to analyse. Again it highlighted the same issues but gave peace of mind that there was nothing serious amiss.
Our final examination was testing the pressure on my feet as they hit the ground. For this I had to run barefoot through the shop making sure that on each pass my feet hit a pressure pad. After a number of strikes we returned to the computer. It was fascinating to see the reds and greens marking where the pressure points were. You can see this in the image below. For me there were a number of interesting points. Firstly, where I have pain on the side of my right foot there was more pressure than on the left foot. My technician said that if I was going to be staying the in UK then he might suggest insoles but with my expedition so close it was probably a little risky. He also added that if I did the appropriate exercises then this would help with any potential problems. The second interesting point was that I apparently don’t use my toes when I run…. This may be why I have not lost a toe nail while running… yet!
The last part of the session was deciding on which exercises would be best and most likely to limit the possibility of injury. For this we accessed an online database and my technician selected a number of exercises that might help strengthen my hips and legs and put me in a good place to achieve success in my expedition.
Overall it was a great session and one that has given me peace of mind that I should be able to limit the number of injuries I get by taking the necessary precautionary actions.
Thank you Profeet for a great experience.