And here are Rónán‘s thoughts on the website…

Rónán Mac Con Iomaire

Rónán has been running since 2002, with a New York marathon debut of 4:39.  Since then, he has brought his marathon time down to 3:15, and recently started running shorter distances.  He runs three times a week and is a firm advocate of the Furman FIRST training method.  2010 has seen a significant improvement in his race times, and he has seen two top ten finishes in admittedly low-key races.  For 2011, he intends on focusing on triathlons and on improving his half-marathon best of 1:30.

Rónán’s review:

Until now, I’ve only ever had one experience with gait analysis.  It was a number of years ago, at a dedicated running store in Newcastle, England, where a wizened old man stood in a corridor at the back of the store, watching me run back and forth in various shoes.  Eventually, he decreed that a particular pair of Saucony’s were the solution to all of my lower body ailments.  Delighted, I went for a run the next day on the Yorkshire Moors, picked up a knock on my left knee and didn’t see the back of that same knock until I gave up on the shiny Saucony’s.  So much for gait analysis, I thought.

Gait analysis has come on a long way since, however, with sensor pads on treadmills and super-slow-mo cameras.  There is plenty of anecdotal evidence, however, of inexperienced sales staff giving inaccurate diagnosis, and of people paying for technology-laden shoes that, at best, they don’t need, and at worst, result in them injuring themselves.  So why not cut out the middle-man and get the gait analysis done by the person who knows you and your running best?  That’s right, you!  That’s Mizuno’s proposition with the Mizuno Precision Fit Online system.

The process is quick, simple and looks reassuringly hi-tech and scientific.  You start off with choosing your gender, and then answer some questions about your weight and average training pace.  After that, it’s time for you to examine your running mechanics, starting with the height of your arches.  Every section has a slider-bar to help answer accurately, and every section has an accompanying video explaining what to do.

The process takes into account how you land on your feet, whether you’re bow-legged or knock-kneed, or if your feet point in or out or straight ahead.  You’re given instructions on how to analyse your flexibility and your tendency to pronate.  The questions are straight-forward and easily answered, and brought up a few things I hadn’t noticed before, such as my knee’s tendency to turn in when I run, rather than straight ahead, which is what I always imagined.

At the end of the process, you are shown your running style on a short video, and given a report on the analysis.  You are also given a shoe recommendation, and I was recommended the Mizuno Wave Rider 13 and the Mizuno Wave Precision 11.  I owned a pair of Wave Riders many moons ago, but with a radically different running style now, plus the ditching of orthotics, I would imagine that they would be quite a different experience today.  As it happens, I’ve chosen the Precisions, and look forward to trying them out.

Gait analysis in your own home...

Interestingly, my wife, who has recently had an in-shop camera-based gait analysis done, also tried the Mizuno Precision Fit system.  The in-shop analysis almost seemed token, as the only conclusion that came from it was that she had a tendency to land on her mid-foot, something she already knew.  The Mizuno system showed up a tendency to over-pronate, and came up with a shoe recommendation quite different from that of the previous gait analysis.  She intends on trying out a pair of the Mizuno’s, so the like-for-like comparison will be interesting.

Overall, I found Mizuno Precision Fit Online to be straight-forward and thorough, and extremely easy to use.  I’ve already recommended it to a friend of mine, who has always been interested in gait analysis but who lives in a part of the country where such analysis isn’t easily available.  Having it available online, in your own home, eliminates that excuse forever.

See the rest of the reviews –  Rachel and Andrews

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