Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Visit To Run-N-Tri/ Gait Analysis

I have been promising this post for a while now...

Image from Run-N-Tri Website
In a previous post I have recounted the story of meeting Lisa McCombs ( Marketing Director  for Run-N-Tri Company) at a race. I have also recounted that she invited me in to the store for a free gait analysis. Apparently she thought based on my clumsy looking running style that I may not be wearing the right pair of shoes.

I chalked the entire encounter up to her doing her job and trying to sell shoes; shoes which I knew had to be way overpriced if they were being sold at a “running store”.  As I described previously my perception of Lisa and of Run-N-Tri changed a couple of weeks later at another race. So, I decided to take a trip over and check the place out and my curiosity was piqued about the gait analysis, was I truly wearing the wrong type of shoes?  

Let me stop here for a second and tell you I had a bit of a negative expectations going into this experience. I have only made one of trip in my life to a running specialty store prior to this and it did not go well. I recall the staff (in this case the owner) being a bit of a running snob who seemed to be put off to have to bother with someone who didn’t know what shoes were good and what shoes were bad. I Also remember gasping and losing my breath a bit when I saw the prices on his shoes. This is what I expected when I walked in Run-N-Tri.

As far as the Gait Analysis I am not sure what I expected… I think I half expected someone to say “ ok, run” then after you ran in place for a few minutes telling you “ok, stop I have the perfect shoes for someone with your pronation” Then walking to the rack and picking out the super special shoes that would cost me  somewhere close to a mortgage.

Before I describe my experience let me just say… I am glad my expectations were wrong. As we walked in the door we were greeted politely and treated very nicely. Alex was our representative that day and while he was young he had a good deal of running experience and was very anxious to help. I told him I was here for the gait analysis but that I wasn’t sure I was actually in the market for shoes at this time.

I also told Alex something that everyone who knows me already know… I am a but thrifty (cheap, I don’t like to part with my money.) Even after hearing this Alex was undeterred and still very friendly. He told me not to worry about that right now, that we would go ahead and do the analysis and go from there.

Next, Alex asked me to remove my current shoes and socks and step onto this little plate that was on the ground. After I stepped onto the plate a screen in front of me begin to show me these radar like images of my feet showing the pressure points, foot type and other info.  

perfect feet?
Once the images of my were saved Alex then had me step on to a treadmill and start to run for about a minute. After I ran I sat with Alex and watched a video of how my feet struck the treadmill. As I went to sit and put my socks on Alex gathered a couple of pairs of shoes that he thought might be good fits.  We tried a shoe from one brand on my right foot and another shoe from a different brand on my left foot. I walked around a few steps and decided which one was most comfortable. Alex then asked me to put the matching shoes on and get back on the treadmill and see how they felt to run. 

As I was running Alex was fielding questions from my wife and my eight year old daughter. He wound up spending a good deal of time with us helping us and answering a lot of questions about running and the upcoming triathlon. He even recommended a couple of books.

I was very impressed with my experience at Run-N Tri. I thought Alex dd a great job with the customer service.

Now,  to the 2 questions I know everyone wants to know

Was Lisa right, am I running in the wrong type of shoes?. I have been running in a pair of New balance 760 STS designed for stability. Because of my gait analysis I now know I can wear a neutral show with much less support and will actually probably perform better with more comfort.  While I can get away with the shoes I have, technically, yes, Lisa was right!

Finally, Did I but the Shoes?- I am disappointed to say that I have not yet bought the shoes. Though I was very impressed with the service and Even though I admit the shoes were not overpriced at all, I simply did not have the extra funds to upgrade at the time. I knew I still had the expense of a bike and a kayak to worry about. Now that I have a bike, and I have been assured I have a kayak as well, both at very little expense, The next athletic purchase I make will be a pair of Saucony Progrid Ride 3 running shoes and I will make a point to buy them at Run-N-Tri.

Thanks to anyone who may be following along, i hope you are moving in the right pair of shoes 

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