Is Forefoot Running Better Than Heel Striking?

All runners have their own shape, stride, and footprint. While there are some universal guidelines to follow for proper running, the fact that your feet touch the ground is often a matter of personal preference.

There is no definitive answer as to which is the best step, but there are arguments for and against each technique. If your current step is working for you, there is no solid reason to change it. However, if you have leg pain or other problems, consider trying a different technique. Here's a closer look at the trampling debate.

Forefoot run

If you're a heel striker, the foot tapping pattern preferred by most elite runners, you may have heard the latest advice that barefoot, minimalist running patterns favor landing on the ball or toes. the feet, also known as forefoot.

Although research in this field is still ongoing, several studies report the benefits of landing first in the middle or front of the feet when running and then rolling on the toes.

Proponents of forefoot running claim that this technique increases forward thrust compared to heel strike and puts less strain on the knees. In fact, some research shows an association between running with the forefoot and a reduced risk of running-related injuries.

But running on tiptoe can also lead to jumping, which is an ineffective form of running. And some studies indicate the possibility of repetitive foot injuries with the use of this technique.

It is important to note that traditionally running shoes have a greater drop from the heel to the toes to help guide the foot in the middle of the foot. But the rise of minimalist low-heeled shoes means this design is no longer the standard.

Midfoot Strike

The execution pattern of the midfoot attack hits the midsole of the foot. Proponents of midfoot running say this technique helps absorb shock, lessening the impact on the joints.

Compared to the heel strike, running in the middle of the foot shortens the amount of time the foot is in contact with the ground, which can help pick up the pace.

But this style is not suitable for everyone and can be uncomfortable and unnatural for some runners. Some research suggests that running to the front and midfoot can potentially increase the risk of injuries to the ankle, foot, and Achilles tendon.

Heel Strike

The heel strike technique is exactly what it sounds like: the heel hits the ground first, followed by the midsole and toes.

Most runners use a rearfoot strike because it generally looks more natural compared to the forefoot or midfoot run. Striking the heel also stretches and strengthens the calf and ankle muscles.

However, kicking the rear foot can make some runners more prone to skating excessively, which can cause pain or injury to the knees and hips. Your ankles and knees absorb most of the impact, so it is important to ensure that you are equipped with the right footwear. Stepping on your heels can also put more stress on your lower legs, which can cause leg cramps.

How to Change Your Footstrike

Many people think that changing your pace can improve running economy or reduce the risk of running-related injuries. However, research says that these benefits have not been proven.

For example, a 2017 review published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that switching to a midfoot or forefoot attack did not have a significant effect on improving running speed or efficiency, it decreased the impact of running. contact between the foot and the ground or reduced the risk of injury.

So if your current footprint hasn't led to injury or poor performance, there's probably no reason to change it. However, if you run on the forefoot or heel, you may want to try a midfoot strike. Although you can't change your pace overnight, here are some tips to help you make the change gradually.

Find your tread pattern

To determine what type of attacker you are, it is best to make a video of yourself running, as one study found that only 68% of runners were able to accurately report their stomping pattern.

Focus on your step

Be careful not to extrapolate. Make sure not to step forward with your feet. Focus on landing in the middle of the sole of your foot, with your foot directly under your body with each step. A short, low swing of the arm is key to keeping your stride short and close to the ground.

Practice running barefoot

Many people will naturally land in the middle of the sole when running barefoot. Practice running on the carpet, lawn, or lawn without shoes for short periods of time so your body can find its natural rhythm. Start with 30 seconds at the beginning and build up to a minute or more.

Try the exercises

Running exercises such as butt kicks, jumping jacks, high knees, running backwards, or shuffling to the sides are another great way to practice landing on the midfoot. When you do any of these exercises, it is impossible to fall on your heels. So the more you practice them, the more you will get used to landing on the forefoot, rather than the heel.

You can do running exercises as part of your pre-race warm-up or put them into practice. For example, you can intersperse 30-second breaks with your knees high or jog backwards every 4-5 minutes during a 30-minute run.

Experiment during short runs

Practice changing your footprint during the shorter races at the beginning, then work to do it during the longer races. Remember to be patient with your progress, as it may take months of practice before you can consistently run this way.

Enjoy Watching This Video About Running

Source: Global Triathlon Network

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