We’re extremely excited to welcome Nikki Reiter, our resident biomechanist, to the staff. Nikki will be providing tips on our blog and answering questions leading up to the launch of our new gait analysis service next year. Check out Nikki’s intro below and learn more about how her expertise can help you become a healthier and stronger runner.
By Nikki Reiter
What’s a biomechanist and what can one do for you? Great question! A biomechanist who specializes in running will analyze your gait (that is, how you run) and suggest ways to improve performance and avoid injury by moving in a more efficient way. Oh yeah, and running will be more effortless, too. Sound too good to be true? Well, we are! Just kidding, but biomechanists have a lot to offer when it comes to training, above and beyond the regular tempos, intervals and long runs.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Nikki Reiter, and I am the Head Coach of the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat Cross Country team in Kelowna, BC. I hold a master’s degree in biomechanics from the University of Windsor, in Ontario, Canada and I am a certified exercise physiologist. I also ran for the University of Windsor Lancers, probably the strongest track team in Canada over the past decade. I was a middle distance runner who was always incurring one injury after the other, and never progressed past a certain point in my performances. My problem? My mechanics. It takes time to develop as a runner. Time running, which of course one cannot do if they are nursing little nagging injuries all the time. Mileage stays below optimal and a physiological plateau occurs.
What can be done? Perhaps a renovation to existing running mechanics, or a complete revolution is necessary. Now, some of you must be thinking “but mechanics are for sprinters.” Yes, you’re completely right. But they are also for middle- to long-distance runners. Just like how you had to learn the proper technique and develop the skill of swinging a baseball bat to hit the ball out of the park, one must develop the skill of running properly – no matter the speed of travel.
So who needs the help of a running biomechanist? Well, anyone who has suffered overuse injuries or has seen a plateau in their performances would greatly benefit from some perspective on why they continually get injured (don’t tell your physiotherapist) or why they cannot run faster. Also, if you’re thinking of cranking up your mileage to make the jump from 5k or 10k races to a half- or full marathon, a gait analysis by a biomechanist will help ensure that you have proper mechanics to safely adopt more training.
Stay tuned for regular updates to the blog. I’ll be offering tips so you can better understand why we run the way we do. Feel free to send in your questions to [email protected] if there’s something you’re just dying to know. By the spring, we will be launching an online gait analysis service where you’ll be able to upload video of you running and get a full video gait analysis with personalized prescriptive exercises to help improve your running mechanics.
Nikki Reiter is the official Biomechanist of The Run SMART Project. She has a masters in Biomechanics and is a certified exercise physiologist. If you have questions regarding your running form/biomechanics or want to set up a gait analysis with Nikki, email [email protected].