Running Biomechanics Workshop
By Laurence Schubert APAM
Over the weekend I took part in a running biomechanics workshop at Melbourne Athletic Development (MAD). MAD provide physiotherapy, injury prevention and sports performance training. The workshop was directed by John Nicolosi. (B.Physio, M.ExSci), whom was a very knowledgeable and practical guide. The workshop focused on understanding running/sprinting, analysis of biomechanics and practical application.
A large focus of the workshop was on understanding the difference requirements of running or sprinting in an upright position, compared with acceleration (change of speed over time). As a physiotherapist, it is critical to understand the demands that different sports have on the athlete. For example, in most team sports acceleration speed from a standing start is particularly relevant. Whereas for endurance events or even casual running, the upright running position is more important.
Learning how to analyse movement patterns is critical for physiotherapists. As a cohort, we do this reasonably well when looking at specific functional tasks. However, analysing a patient’s running mechanics is potentially overlooked. Keep in mind; this may not be forgotten but limited by other factors such as clinic space.
Running mechanics can be made simple, with a bit of experience it’s easy to break down what you need to look for. Keep in mind the following:
Running is made up of two phases:
1) Ground phase
2) Air or swing phase
Running speed is determined by:
1) Stride length
2) Stride frequency
The most exciting thing about the above is that what assists performance, also prevents injury! As physiotherapists, it is our job to rehabilitate, recover and prevent injuries. Looking at optimal biomechanics for each individual can address both injury concerns and improve performance. Every analysis will have different focus as it depends on the patient/athletes goals. When returning from injury, it is super important to load correctly. If a patient is aiming to return back to running/sprinting, understanding the biomechanics will allow someone to commence running drills 2 days post hamstring injury, without actually running.
There is so much more that could be discussed about this workshop, but I don’t want to take up your whole day. Overall, it was a great day where I was super fascinated with the entirety of the content. As someone who has a passion personally and professionally, I aim to implement this new practical knowledge as soon as possible. From the day, I made some excellent professional connections that I look forward to collaborative with. If any health professionals are interested in learning more about running biomechanics I would strongly recommended this workshop.
Lets hope it helps me make it through the Melb Marathon…