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Gait Retraining | Hopping and Sticking | Getting you Thinking | Find Your Stride | Edinburgh Podiatrist

Have you given any thought to your running form? Allow us to introduce two key words: 'hop' and 'stick'. This was the key takeaway from a recent study on gait retraining referenced in this months Runner’s World magazine, which aimed to investigate the impact of specific verbal cues on running technique.

Marathon runners
Every runner has a different gait

The study focused on boosting cadence (the frequency of foot strikes) and duty factor (duration of foot contact with the ground) to improve running efficiency and reduce injury risk. A higher cadence has been linked to improved efficiency and decreased injury risk, while a longer duty factor can decrease strain on the achilles and calf muscles.

The study found that using the cue 'hop' increased cadence, while 'stick' improved duty factor. Conversely, using 'bounce' resulted in increased vertical displacement, which is generally not considered beneficial, and 'push' led to longer stride lengths, potentially causing over-striding. To test the effectiveness of these cues, try repeating 'hop' and 'stick' during your next run and observe any changes in your stride.

By incorporating these cues into your running routine, you may be able to make subtle adjustments to your the speed at which your legs turn over, or the amount of time your foot is in contact with the ground. Each runner is different and so has different needs however, everyone can benefit from taking a moment to consider their movement. It has to be said that gait re-training isn’t for everyone, but experimenting with your form can be fun and educational. Give it a try and see how it works for you.

Find Your Stride!

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