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Optimal Foot Strike When Running

This is one of the most hotly discussed topics in running today. For years we have been told that a heel strike when running is best. All trainers were designed with this in mind. All sorts of different technology was patented and placed in the heel of the shoe to encourage the ‘correct’ technique and to cushion the impact going through the foot/knees etc when running.Recently, however, views have started to change. I may be wrong but I believe this was initiated by a book called ‘Born To Run’. Along with a number of other runners, I read the book and loved it! Ever since, the bare foot (minimalist) running shoe has been all the rage. From big companies like Nike and Adidas to less well known companies like the makers of the Vibram Five Finger, everyone is jumping on the band wagon! I did also. I immediately bought a pair of minimalist shoes and hit the roads with my new fore/mid foot running style. I learnt a valuable lesson straight away:Changing from a heel strike to a fore/mid foot strike is not easy! I do believe in and encourage a fore/mid foot strike but it’s not as easy as just landing on the front of your foot as apposed to the back. The entire biomechanics of your running gait will need to change to allow the transition to happen smoothly. For example, by landing on the front of your foot, the point of contact with the ground will shift forward slightly. If your foot contacts the ground too far in front of you it can increase the stress going through your leg, mainly your knee joint. It will also affect the muscles you use when running amongst other things. A good way to overcome this particular problem is to increase your cadence when running (see my other blog).Like I said, I do believe a fore/mid foot strike is the most efficient when running but if you want to make the change, find a running specialist to help you. Good luck and enjoy.