Alter-G Treadmill Experience

18 Feb

A month or so ago, I won a free assessment at Finish Line Physical Therapy courtesy of Jess from Fit Chick in the City. I was really excited to head into NYC and find out what I can improve/do to be a better runner.

I told my PT about my shin splints and how they never go away. First, he had my run on a treadmill to do their Optojump Gait Analysis. Unfortunately, their cameras weren’t working right (though they got them up and running for my mom so I got to see how they work), so he had to just eyeball it. He told me I am a bit of a heel-striker and that could have an impact on shin splints. For me, the jury is still out on whether I think heel striking is truly bad or if everyone should just run their own natural way. He showed me how to run so I land on my mid-foot, which I actually tried during my run yesterday. Didn’t feel bad and no shin pain…hmmmm….

Then he had me take off me shoes and socks to do different movements, such as walking, walking with toes out, walking with toes in, taking as big of steps as I could, and more. He told me my hips are a little tight which could also cause shin splints. He showed me different stretches which I am excited to try because they are dynamic. Also, they stretch the hip in a lateral plane as well, not just front and back, which I didn’t know I should be doing! He showed my mom more stretches too since her hips are WAY tighter than mine.

And finally…I got to run on the Alter-G Treadmill!

It was awesome. It’s an anti-gravity treadmill that either elite runners use or you can only use if you are getting physical therapy. It’s great if you have injuries because you can lessen the load on your joins when you’re running.

You put on special pants then step into this bubble thing that inflates. You can adjust the percentage of your body weight you want to be running with (100% is obviously as if you were running normally). I set it to 70% and it felt so cool! I was able to run a lot faster without any shin pain at all. I ended up doing 1 mile and did it at 7:30 pace! I wish I could own one of these!

What do you think of heel striking/changing your running form? Have you changed your form?

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3 Responses to “Alter-G Treadmill Experience”

  1. bensheath February 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Sounds like you had a great experience. I am with you in thinking that people should be left to run their own way however, observing a running gait can often highlight weaknesses or underlying injuries which need to be corrected, so like you say jury is out for me too!

    • reach-yourpeak February 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

      Exactly! I’m going to try running more mid-foot for a few runs and see how it goes…We’ll see!

      • bensheath February 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

        Good luck! Would be interesting to see how you get on

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