Monday, February 15, 2010

slowmo in slowmo

To the bemusement of neighbours and passers-by I spent a few minutes the other day filming myself running backwards and forwards past my house in an attempt to discover what my feet are doing when I run. To try to capture my typical running form I did the filming after I'd got back from an easy 5km run. I arranged each "pass" so that there were a few metres of running either side of the camera's view and I tried to keep to my usual slow-ish pace.

I don't own a video camera so I set up my trusty little Panasonic Lumix snappy camera, which has a movie mode, on a tripod at the bottom of my driveway. The camera saves the movie as a .mov file. To create a slow-motion sequence I loaded the file into QuickTime, exported selected bits to image sequences (sets of jpeg still images), then imported each of these back into QuickTime at 6 frames per second.

And here is the result...

The verdict ? Well, it seems that I land with a mid-foot strike. This came as quite a surprise. When I'm running, I feel like I'm landing towards the front of my foot. But the camera doesn't lie and it could be that my impressions were influenced more by what I thought I should be doing rather than by what I actually was doing.


Ryan Graham said...

It also looks like you're flicking back a bit instead of lifting by your toes. Do you get blisters or hot spots on your toes?

Dominic Rivron said...

Interesting - quite a photographic feat!

I worry about what my feet are actually doing, too, when I can run. I'm currently nursing a groin strain, so I'm confined to cycling to keep fit. Slowmo? Nomo!

slowmo said...

Hi Ryan,
Mmm... I hadn't noticed that but I think you could be right. It would be good to try this again with a camera that takes more frames/sec. I don't get toe blisters or soreness though, so I suppose any back-flick is either negligible or something that I don't do all the time.

slowmo said...

Hi Dominic,

I used to obsess about what my feet were doing :) Especially after being in a running shoe shop (before I went freaky-footed) and having the assistant there point out all the weird things that my feet were doing, including throwing my right foot out and my left arch collapsing on each strike. For a while I tried to monitor and correct during runs but, happily, boredom some overcame anxiety. When I started running with huaraches I noticed that after a few months my feet were doing quite different things. My left arch no longer collapsed (as judged by wet footprints) and my right foot had much less of a tendency to go its own way.

Good luck shaking off that injury.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks. I *might* give these huaraches a go. (I think the groin strain might be gait-related).