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5 Ways to Build Your Running Specialty Practice

Updated: Dec 16, 2022

I wish I could say that I went from doing gait analysis as a side hustle in my basement to opening a successful running clinic overnight. The reality is that it took me years to make the leap. I had to refine my skills, develop a systematic approach and gather the tools and resources I needed to learn how to work with runners. I've found such fulfillment and success specializing in runners that now I’ve dedicated my career to saving others the years it took me to become a Running Specialist so that you can enjoy all that it has to offer... starting today! If you're just getting started working with runners and athletes who run, you’ll find this really helpful. If you’re growing an already established business… congrats and happy to chat about how our official testing sites are setting themselves apart! Read on to add to what you’re already doing and we will be sending out a future newsletter on growing your Running Specially business in a few weeks. Here’s my tried-and-true steps to efficiently build a running specialty (on a budget): 1. Start now & start small The only thing I would have done differently is start earlier! A lot of people think everything has to be perfect before starting their own specialty or offering a new service. I started doing gait analysis with friends and family from my basement. Starting small and sharpening my skills is what helped me eventually open a clinic on my own. Plus, the early wins are what fuels us to keep going! 2. Get the skills If you want to work with runners, the first step is getting the skills you need. The RunDNA courses provide a movement based systematic approach to evaluating and treating running injuries. While many physical therapists, chiropractors, and athletic trainers take these courses, they are excellent for any coach or running shoe store looking to add gait analysis to their offerings and stand out among competition. It took me years to create these courses, and now they can save you years in becoming a running specialist.

3. Find a mentor Bouncing ideas off a colleague or mentor will help you avoid some of the early mistakes I see many people make when trying to establish themselves as a running specialist. (Here is our Facebook group if you are looking for a great place to start connecting with fellow industry enthusiasts). 4. Get the equipment In order to start using your skills and getting clients through the door, you need a few pieces of equipment. Below is a list of the bare bones to get you started on the right foot.

  1. Portable Table - $144 Cheap and essential to save your back from leaning over as you check out how a client moves. A yoga mat is a low cost alternative if you are on a tight budget.

  2. Video cameras or an iPad ($419) can work just as well as higher speed cameras. Whatever you use needs to have at least 60 frames per second and allow you to review what you see with your client.

  3. Tripod ($27) - If you are not doing 3D, make sure you are being consistent with your 2D assessment by using a tripod and setting it up at the same spot each time for an accurate assessment.

  4. Super band ($21.90) - Bringing some exercise equipment with you will help you demonstrate proper form. You can also use this super band for resisted running, which is a great gait retraining tool

  5. Dowel - ($5) for a PVC pipe at hardware store. Cheap and a great tool for gait retraining. (Check out Level 2 to see how I use this effectively with some of my top runners).

5. Create your network Get involved! Find the coaches, running specialty stores, and athletic trainers that the runners in your area trust and be helpful to them. Doing free injury screens for local cross country teams and gait screens at running specialty stores was a big part of creating a name for myself in my local area. Get out there and be useful... and make sure to bring business cards! 6. Schedule your clients and get paid Starting off, you can use text or email to schedule and Venmo to get paid. As you build your business, check out scheduling apps like Calendly, payment apps like Square or Stripe, and QuickBooks to keep track of everything. Our mission is to provide running specialists the education, tools, and technology they need so that all runners can enjoy the benefits of running. We appreciate you being part of that! If you have questions about getting started, or taking your business to the next level, email Blog contribution by Dr. Doug Adams, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS; RunDNA, Founder/CEO; Omega Project, Co-Founder

If you're a runner interested in getting a personalized plan, take the assessment with our Plan Builder. If you're a running professional interested in learning more about RunDNA's Systematic Approach to getting excellent results with runners, check out our Education Courses!

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