Welcome to another edition of Running Coaches’ Corner! More details below, but in short, this is a super awesome link up held by myself, Rachel at Running On Happy, Suzy at Suzlyfe and Debbie at Coach Debbie Runs. We share our advice as running coaches, and invite other running coaches and bloggers to link up with us and share their thoughts, too!
Since it’s March Madness (I LOVE MARCH MADNESS…so much excitement!), I’m continuing the theme this week (did you see last week’s post? All about the madness of crazy running myths) and talking about foot strike.
What is your running foot strike?
Your running foot strike is how you hit the ground when you run. Sprinters, for instance, traditionally hit the ground on their toes — which is why they are so fast (and why they can’t run that far of distance). Long-distance runners are said that they should hit the ground in their mid-foot — so like the ball of your foot — for the most efficient strike with the ground.
But, a lot of runners who go the distance (in fact, 94% in one study!) are heel strikers (including yours truly). However, this type of strike is often considered bad.
Why does it matter?
Your foot strike matters because it can impact how fast you can run. For sprinters, as you can imagine, this can be a huge difference between first and last. For long-distance runners? Not so much. Maybe for elite runners, but not for us middle-of-the-pack marathon runners.
Specifically —> when you are a heel striker, it’s said to be less efficient and can make you more prone to injuries because of the force that you put on your heel and the effort it takes to roll off your heel.
Should you change your foot strike?
One of the things that truly drives me crazy, both as a runner and as a coach, is the idea that your foot strike is wrong. Yes, it’s true –> sometimes we don’t strike the best way per what the “experts” say. However, we strike the way we do because of the way that our bodies are made. I do not recommend changing your foot strike based on an article that you read on Runner’s World.
If you change your running foot strike, it is something that you should do under the supervision of a medical professional. If this isn’t done right, this can cause serious injuries. It not something that you can just “think” yourself to do.
That being said, I have no desire to ever stop being a heel striker. Yes, it’s inefficient. Yes, it’s not the best (say the experts). But it works for me, so I’ll keep doing that until I hear otherwise. There are shoes designed specifically for heel strikers (and mid-foot runners) that help keep you injury-free.
What’s your foot strike? Any other fellow heel strikers?
Would you ever change your foot strike? Why or why not?
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