facebookRunning Assessment Sydney/Surry Hills | Central Performance

Running Assessment Sydney: Unlock Your Running Potential

Running assessment Sydney_Surry Hills_Central Performance

Running assessments help runners enhance their running performance and reduce injuries by receiving professional advice on improving their running technique. When performed by an experienced running physio who is also a certified running coach you get the double benefit of years of coaching experience combined with in-depth knowledge of running injury prevention and treatment. We make this benefit available to all Sydney runners whatever their ability and experience level. So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, a running assessment can provide valuable insight into your form, biomechanics, and areas for improvement.

Your personalised running assessment involves a combination of video analysis and biomechanical screening. This approach gives us a detailed picture of your running gait, stride, muscle length and strength, and overall biomechanics. The information allows us to identify inefficient movement patterns and potential risk factors for injuries. With this information, we provide you with a personalised program of targeted exercises, drills and coaching cues to improve strength, power, endurance, and running efficiency. This lets you to get the most out of your running by improving your performance as well as reducing your risk of injury.

Key Takeaways

1. Running assessments help optimise performance and prevent injuries

2. Video analysis and biomechanical screening are key components

3. Located in Surry Hills, Central Performance makes professional and personalised running programs available to all Sydney runners, from beginner and recreational through to elite levels (we coach athletes at the state, national and international competition levels)

4. Having your assessment done by a running professional with extensive experience and qualifications as both a running coach as well as a running physio brings in-depth knowledge of how to improve running performance while minimising your risk of injury

Why Assess Running Technique?

Assessing your running technique is important for optimising running efficiency and economy, which enhances your performance and reduces your risk of injury. Combining video analysis of your running gait on the treadmill with a biomechanical screen, which looks at aspects of muscle length, strength and power, helps us understand why you run the way you do. For example, if a runner tends to lean forwards too much as they run, is this due to tightness in their hip flexors, weakness in their glutes, a stiff lower back, or is it just a habit they’ve got used to? Combining the results from your biomechanical screen with your treadmill-based running assessment helps us understand why you have adopted your current running form, and allows us to work with you in a structured and effective way to make improvements.

The Basics of Running Efficiency

Running efficiency is the measure of how effectively a runner converts energy into forward motion. A thorough running assessment can identify biomechanical inefficiencies that waste energy. For example, overstriding causes a braking force with each heel-strike which slows you down, and excessive vertical oscillation (i.e. a “bouncy” gait with lots of up-down movement) leads to an inefficient running stride where you waste energy moving vertically rather using it to propel you forward. By correcting these types of inefficient movement patterns runners can conserve energy and utilise it to allow them to run faster for longer. A more efficient gait also reduces the strain on your body’s joints, bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments, and this reduces your risk of injury.

Improve Your Running Performance

Your running technique can be a big factor in determining your running performance. Through a detailed analysis of running technique, you can discover areas of improvement ranging from foot strike position and heel lift through to trunk inclination and arm swing. Improving these components leads to a more economical running gait and efficient stride mechanics, translating to faster running times and improved endurance.

Reduce Your Injury Risk

The risk of injury is ever-present in running but can be substantially reduced through proper assessment of your running form. Identifying and addressing biomechanical flaws can minimise injuries by reducing undue stress on muscles, joints, tendons, bones and ligaments. Whether it’s adjusting your gait to reduce tissue overload, or strengthening specific muscle groups to increase their ability to withstand the stress of running and allow you to run with a a more economical gait, a dedicated assessment gives you answers that can help you stay injury-free and running at your best.

Components of a Running Assessment

A running assessment at Central Performance includes three key components: a discussion around your running history and goals, a video analysis of your running gait on a treadmill, and a biomechanical assessment.

1. Discussion Of Your Running History And Goals

People run for many different reasons, ranging from just wanting to run a few kilometres a week as part of a general fitness routine up to serious athletic competition goals. Plus we all have different injury histories and levels of running experience. So, the first part of our running assessment is always to spend a little time with you to learn about your running history and what you are hoping to get out of your session.

Understanding your goals for running is important to us. If you want to focus on pushing your running to a higher level then we may approach your assessment and subsequent coaching program a little differently than if your main goals are around preventing a recurrent injury from coming back. Often clients have a mix of both performance and injury prevention goals, i.e. they want to increase their running training to perform better, but have found that every time they increase their intensity or volume they tend to get injured, so they want a running assessment to improve their gait and then get on a program to safely improve their performance.

2. Video Analysis On A Treadmill

Running assessment Sydney Surry Hills_Video analysis_Spark Motion Pro

Video analysis is a critical part of your running assessment. At Central Performance we use Spark Motion Pro, a professional-grade movement analysis app to analyse your form from the side and from the back. This software then allows us to break down the footage and identify areas of inefficiency, ways to improve, and how your running gait may relate to any past injuries or potential injury risks for the future.

After we film you on the treadmill we show you the footage, draw lines to help you see movement issues, and talk you through this analysis process. This is important because it really helps you understand what’s happening as you run, how you can improve, and the benefits you will feel as you improve your technique. We find that when clients really understand the purpose and benefits of changes their gait they are more committed to the process and achieve great results.

3. Biomechanical Assessment

The biomechanical assessment part of the session involves a thorough evaluation of a runner’s strength and flexibility. It focuses on screens to assesses muscle imbalances and areas of tightness or weakness which can influence running efficiency, limit performance or increase injury risk. We then take this information and relate it to the video analysis part of your running assessment to see how imbalances found in the biomechanical screen can be affecting your overall running technique. From there we can confidently set out a targeted program to correct any imbalances, weaknesses or restrictions found, allowing you to improve your gait as quickly and effectively as possible.

What Is Correct Running Technique?

There Is No Perfect Running Gait That Suits Everyone

When considering a runner’s gait we need to remember that there is no single running gait that is ideal or perfect for every runner. We’re all built a bit differently – some are taller or shorter, more solid build or skinny, a bit different left versus right, flat footed or high arches etc… Plus we all have different injury histories, sports or activities that we do outside of running, and other lifestyle factors that change our natural movement preferences, for example a 40 year old desk worker will have different movement patterns that feel natural compared to a 20 year old landscape gardener.

All of these factors influence which is the best running gait for that particular runner. So, we can’t just take a generic approach and try to mould every runner into an “ideal” running gait – in fact this can cause more problems than it solves because we may be trying to force a persons body to move in ways that it doesn’t have the mobility or strength to do comfortably. That’s where the “art of coaching” comes into play, and seeing a qualified and experienced running professional makes a big difference.

However, despite this individual variation, there are many things that we know reduce our running economy, waste energy, hold back our performance and increase our risk of injury. Just a few of these movement factors include;

– overstriding, where your foot lands too far in front of your body. This can significantly increase your risk of injury, as well as really reduce your performance.

– having a cross-over gait, where your feet drift inwards too much across the midline as you land on that foot, increases your risk of ITB syndrome.

– having a lean-forward gait, where your trunk leans forward as you run. This is a common fault and can make it hard for your glutes to function at their optimal level

– too much vertical oscillation (movement), which means you are wasting energy moving up and down rather than using that energy to move forward. This gait can also increase the load on your Achilles and calf, increasing your injury risk

– having excessive trunk twist as you run, which also wastes energy that could be propelling your forwards.

Movement Efficiency Improves Running Economy

Moving efficiently means we are able to produce the movement we require with less energy expenditure. So, moving efficiently through the various parts of our body as we run means that we use less energy as we run, which improves our running economy. A more efficient and economical runner conserves energy, allowing them to run faster and longer with less fatigue. It also means we place less load and strain through our body, reducing our risk of injury and bringing great benefits to runners of all abilities

Improving Running Performance

To enhance running performance, athletes should incorporate a multifaceted approach that includes targeted strength and conditioning, specific drills and exercises, coaching cues for improved gait during running, and customised training plans. Combining these four components is a powerful way to build a runner’s strength, speed, and endurance for improved outcomes, plus reduce the risk of injuries.

1. Strength and Conditioning

An emphasis on strength training is crucial for runners aiming to improve their performance. The main muscles to target are the calf muscles, glutes, quads, hamstrings and core/abdominals. There is a wealth of research proving the benefits of strength training for runners, both to improve performance and greatly reduce the risk of injury. For more info we have many blog posts on the subject of strength training for runners – click the links on the right to have a read.

2. Run-Specific Drills and Exercises

Specific drills and exercises are a vital part of improving your running technique. They include things like refining your leg cycle or arm movement, stability and control drills in single-leg stance, ankling, and variations of skipping and plyometric exercises. This component of the program focuses on neuro-motor control and co-ordination for running – sort of like teaching your brain how to best use the strength and power that you have developed in your strength and conditioning program.

3. Coaching Cues

This is where the magic starts to happen! As you build strength, power, flexibility and co-ordination, we use coaching cues to bring it all together to improve your running technique. These are the cues that we get you thinking about as you run, focussing on getting you to feel what it’s like to run with great form. Getting you to be able to feel the difference is important because that’s what we want you to be able to reproduce when you’re out running by yourself after your assessment and coaching sessions. Changing the way you run takes effort and time, but even after just your assessment session you’ll be given cues to use out on your runs to kick-start the process.

4. Customised Training Plans

A customised training plan can significantly accelerate your performance improvement plus make sure you minimise your risk of injury by avoiding over-training. Your plan should be based on your current fitness level, running history, injury profile, and goals or target races. It covers areas such as the frequency and length of runs, and the type of runs (base, recovery, threshold, tempo, hill repeats…). For runners of all abilities, from beginner/recreational to elite, optimising your running technique and getting on the right training program is a powerful way to achieve maximum improvements in your performance while staying safe by minimising your risk of injury.

Preventing Running Injuries

Injury prevention is paramount for runners to maintain a consistent training program. Whatever your level of running, from recreational to elite, thinking about staying injury-free should be part of planning your running routine. We have already outlined how important strength is to injury prevention (see links to blogs above), so getting on a targeted strength program that is specifically designed to suit your personal needs and level of fitness is important for any runner.

As well as getting on the right strength program, improving your running gait can significantly reduce your risk of injuries. A running assessment can identify inefficient movement patterns and look for certain aspects of running technique that are known to increase your risk of injury, for example overstriding or having a cross-over gait. Once these issues are identified then you can be given a targeted program to correct them, resulting in a more economical running gait where you reduce the load placed on your body’s tissues (bones, tendons, muscles and joints) and therefore reduce your risk of injury.

The Central Performance Running Centre is a dedicated running service catering for Sydney runners of all abilities, not just elite athletes. Our team includes physios, exercise physiologists and running coaches who are specifically trained in helping runners lift their performance while staying safe and free from injury. The centre is lead by Ben Liddy, our Head of Running Performance, who is a Certified Level 4 World Athletics running coach.

The Central Performance Running Centre provides a comprehensive range of running services all available at one convenient location. This gives runners access to a full suite of services designed to boost their performance, prevent injury and manage injuries if they do occur. Our services cover three primary areas;

1. Running Assessment and RunRight Running Coaching

A detailed gait analysis session is followed up with a structured and proven coaching system that improves performance for runners of all abilities

2. Running Physio

Our team of running physios are experts in diagnosing and managing running-related injuries. Our particular areas of expertise include bone stress injuries and stress fractures, shin pain (shin splints, medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS)), tendon injuries (tendinopathy, tendinitis, tenosynovitis), runners knee (patellofemoral pain), heel pain (plantar fasciitis), running-related back pain, and joint pain

3. Strength and Conditioning for Runners

Getting on the right strength and conditioning program is a powerful way to increase your running performance and protect yourself from injury. Our exercise physiology team specialise in working with runners of all abilities to build their strength and fitness to support their running goals. One-on-one and partnered sessions are available in our fully-equipped gym, at flexible times to suit you. For those who can’t come to the clinic for training, or for those who already have their own gym but want to know what they should be doing to achieve maximum benefit from their gym sessions, we can also provide personalised strength and conditioning programs for you to do independently in your own gym.

Running Coaching – The Next Step

Once you have had your running assessment, the next step is to improve your form with our unique RunRight Running Coaching program. You’ll start to feel the difference after just your first session, and the whole process is usually completed in about 6 sessions spread across 8-10 weeks. Each session includes lots of personalised coaching on the treadmill plus targeted drills to work on specific aspects of your gait. You can track your improvement through the program with regular videos taken in the sessions, giving you detailed feedback and motivation to maximise your results. Your home program will include drills to optimise your technique plus coaching cues to use during your runs to put it all into practice.

The videos below show the great progress of one of our clients after just two sessions. The main coaching points we focused on early in the program were direction of foot pick up from the ground to improve recovery swing of the leg, arm mechanics to assist with balance and better coordination of running gait, and hip mobility to assist in achieving a more upright running gait. Seeing (and feeling) this type of improvement so quickly in the program is a great motivation boost, and we’re confident this client will continue to make big improvements in his gait throughout the rest of the process. You can see more pre/post coaching videos on our RunRight coaching page .

Client Before Coaching
Client After Two Coaching Sessions

Everything Sydney Runners Need In One Convenient Location

Central Performance Running Centre Is Located In Surry Hills, Just Minutes from Central Station

Choosing Central Performance means placing your trust in a team that’s dedicated to helping runners reach their goals while operating right in the heart of Sydney. You can access dedicated running coaches, running physios, and run-specific strength and conditioning programs all at one great location. Central station is just a few minutes walk (exit via South Concourse), the light rail goes right by our front door (use either Surry Hills or Central Chalmers Street stops), and buses on Elizabeth St are just around the corner. With the expertise of Ben and our team who are committed to fully supporting every one of our runners, it’s a professional and accessible choice for any running enthusiast. For more information or to book a session click below or call us on 9280 2322.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Sydney, finding the right running assessment service is crucial for both recreational and elite runners looking to improve their performance. The following FAQs provide clear information about what you can expect from a running assessment.

What does a professional running assessment entail?

A professional running assessment typically includes a history-taking and goal-setting conversation, a comprehensive examination of a runner’s biomechanics using video analysis on a treadmill, and a biomechanical screen. Using this information, a running coaching program is developed which focuses on improving running gait and biomechanics to help runners achieve their goals while staying free from injury.

How much does a running assessment cost?

At Central Performance, a running assessment costs the same as an initial physiotherapy session. Because the session is delivered by a physiotherapist it is claimable through private health funds (we have HICAPS for on-the-spot claims; your rebate and eligibility depends on your level of cover). Subsequent coaching sessions cost the same as a standard physiotherapy session. To find current prices call us on 9280 2322 or book online.

What happens after my running assessment?

After your running assessment you progress through our RunRight running coaching program. This program includes approximately 6 treadmill-based coaching sessions delivered over 8-10 weeks, plus a tailored home exercise program. Your home program includes specific drills to help you build stronger technique as well as coaching cues to integrate this in to your normal runs.

How can a running assessment improve my running form and efficiency?

A running assessment provides personalised feedback on a runner’s form and gait, allowing them to make informed changes that lead to improved running performance and reduced injury risk. Using video analysis combined with a biomechanical screen provides a comprehensive picture of running form and allows a targeted coaching program to be confidently developed.