Last (and least?!) here’s the Editors opinion…

Andrew McDonagh

Like many people Andrew had a vague idea that he wanted to run a marathon someday.  He was moderately fit and ran a couple of miles a couple of times a month.

And one Sunday, late in the summer of 2005 he saw an online advert for the Dublin marathon.  “How hard can that be?” he thought as he tapped his credit card details in.  14 weeks away, that’s loads of time to train…  The next morning he did his first training run – a 4 miler that equalled his longest ever run.  That Friday he limped painfully around a 12 miler in 2:16:36 and the first doubts set in.  To his wife, not him.  He was still convinced that he had loads of time…

Inevitably the marathon itself was an exercise in agony.  Discomfort at 13 turned into pain at 16 and thoughts of pretty training shoe bonfires at 20.  More walking than running in the last 6 miles took him home in 4:23:03.

With determination only matched by stupidity he has raced 10 marathons since then and PB’d in every one, finally dragging his time down to 2:58:02.  He has also acted as a Pacer for the Dublin Marathon and Limerick Half Marathon.   In full training he covers 70 – 80 miles per week and is targeting a sub 2:50 marathon by the end of 2011.

Andrew’s review:

I found the website really easy to use.  It seems very, very comprehensive and asks a lot of detailed questions on elements that wouldn’t pop into your head as being related to your gait.  For example asking you to squat to test your leg flexibility.  The sliders make the process intuitive although there is a little bit of guesswork involved in just how far you go.  For example in the pace segment the box on the right is for sub 7 minute miles or marathons of sub 3:10.  Which is me, but my recovery runs can be as slow as 8 or even 8:30 a mile and I would do more of those than fast miles.  Likewise with the weight – how far you push the slider is a bit of an estimate.

Wave Rider 13, one of Andrew's reccomended shoes

That said it compares well to the two sets of traditional gait analysis I have had done.  The first one was in a generic sports chain and involved a short video of my trotting on a treadmill.  The sales assistant was nice enough but clearly not a runner and I was in the slightly uncomfortable position of feeling I knew more about the process than him!  In comparison to that the website is really thorough and I would have more confidence in the results that it would generate than those given by a sales guy after an afternoon’s sales training…

The challenge for me is brand loyalty.  The person who kitted me out for my first ever proper runners didn’t bother with a formal gait analysis, she just look at me walking, looked at my old trainers and put me in Asics 21xx shoes.  9 marathons (and a drop of over an hour in finishing time) later and I haven’t had any significant injuries.  Trusting another brand of trainers is going to be difficult.  Trusting another brand of trainers that are recommended by a computer will be a huge leap of faith.  As you may know I’m the Editor on here and being totally honest my intention was to look at the site and only do the review myself if I thought the website was trustworthy.  Any hint of a simple Q&A with a sales driven result and there is no way I would trust my legs to it.

But the site struck me as being really, really solid and at least as good as the face to face analysis I’ve had done.  So I’m trusting it with my training for spring 2011.  The proof will be in the running, I am confident it has recommended the right trainers for me but a couple of hundred miles in them will soon tell the story…

So bring it on!

Read Rachel and Ronans reviews as well…

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