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use the right gait out of the gate!

after thinking about that title, i just realized that (other than the awesome wordplay) people aren’t held back by gates and that prior to learning about people having gaits, the only time i’ve ever heard that word was from horse movies or when the kentucky derby is on tv. in high school i remember coaches telling us we had to run with a good start off the blocks but as you can see, “good start off the blocks” just doesn’t have the same great wordplay, so… welcome to today’s blog “use the right gait out of the gate!”

when you go out for a run, how you run and the aches and pains you feel can be caused by your footwear. if you are a barefoot enthusiast, you may think running shoes are evil, and heck you may be right but until i do some extensive running in barefoot running shoes, today the focus will be on running shoes which don’t allow you to feel every pebble you step on.

first things first, do you have an arch? the easiest way to to find it of you have no arch(flat feet), regular/medium arch or a super/high arch is to picture what your wet footprint looks like when you come out of a pool(see the picture below).

my foot resembles the picture on the far left making me an over-pronator who needs to wear motion control shoes. if you are not sure what you are, there are a few stores in san francisco that can help you determine which is the right shoe for you free of charge and i know of one clinic that isn’t free of charge.

my first pair of real running shoes, and by “real” i mean shoes that actually took into account the fact that i have some of the flattest feet around, i bought at on the run on the corner of 9th and irving. they will have you take your shoes off and walk on a cool electrical pad (that i promise won’t electrocute you) that shows how your foot actually impacts the earth. now that i think about it, it is a fancy way of showing you your wet foot print. after doing that, they will measure your foot with a brannock device. what is a brannock device you say? see picture below. yup, its just that aluminum shoe-sizer you’ve seen since you were a kid. they were really great and helped me with my first real pair of shoes.
if on the run isn’t your cup of tea, there is also sports basement. their staff in the shoe department will have you take a walk or jog as they observe your gait to determine which is the right shoe for you. also, they have a great selection of shoes and if you are lucky, you may be able find last year’s model of a great shoe for 50-60% off (i just got myself a pair of mizuno’s that were once $95 for $54!!). check out link from their website for some information on determine for yourself what shoe you need.

also, if you do the saturday makeup class at crissy field, you can just jog on over to the sports basement right there. hopefully since you’ll be a bit tired, when they ask you to run around, you won’t unconsciously change your stride because you are being observed.

one other store that i haven’t actually been to is fleet feet. if you go there, they estimate that they will spend 20-30 mins evaluating your gait so they can get you into the right pair of shoes. if anyone has gone, let the bootcampsf community know about your experience by posting on the Facebook page!

if you are looking for a more professional analysis, check out the UCSF RunSafe Clinic.
they were at the recent NightLife at the california academy of sciences. they have you run on a treadmill as they videotape your backside and then when you finish, you both take a look at your backside to analyze what went right and what went wrong. okay that sounded dirtier than it should have since it wasn’t supposed to sound dirty at all. just take a look at the pictures below to get a better idea and you can decide if it’s worth $200. dang, that sounded dirty too didn’t it?

with that i will sign off and wish you a good workout! have a good workout!