running running 101

Running 101: Forefoot, midfoot, whateverfoot?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

After running my first marathon in April this year I started thinking about running technique, mainly because I want to be running until I’m 100 and I want to do it without getting injured.

I had a long session at Vivobarefoot running clinic and after that went on a few runs where I concentrated on increased cadence and landing on my forefoot. The consequence – very painful calves, ankles, achilles.

I think I know now where I went wrong – I concentrated on landing on the forefoot.

After great advice on running form at Write This RunΒ and talking to people on Twitter, I now am doing the following:

  • I run as if I’m leaning forward from the ankles
  • I concentrate on lifting my knees and NOT on pushing my legs down
  • I run with smaller, faster steps

As a result my foot is landing more towards my mid or forefoot (to see exactly where I’d have to take a video of my running) and this kind of running feels natural and efficient, and it is easy on my legs.

I found this video on Kinetic Revolution’s website, it demonstrates very well the lifting of legs thing. Just bear in mind that when running at speed your knees will NEVER come that high :), all that matters is that you focus on the lifting bit.

You can also check out the videos on Good Form Running. There’s plenty there to make you think about how you run and how you could make running easier for your body which in turn hopefully will mean less injuries in your running journey.

One last thing I’d like to mention is foot position. Your body is a complex mechanism with many joints and muscles and ligaments all working together – think about how you step because if your feet are twisted, the rest of the body will have to compensate for that twist somehow.

Your feet should be just underneath your hips, toes pointed straight forward. This applies to running as well as walking, check how you step – are your toes maybe pointed out, or in, are you stepping too wide (this is only allowed if you’re pregnant ;), are you crossing your feet over (if you do this, stop watching America’s Next Top Model :).

If you can’t tell just how wide ‘under your hips’ is, gently hop in place for a little bit and your feet will land in the correct position.

Who else is pondering running style? What interesting facts or tips have you picked up?

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  • MuMuGB Sunday, 16 June 2013 at 13:10

    Great post. My daughter is a sprinter (100m) and I too have been studying running technique for her. One of her problems is that she puts her right foot sideway, because she probably did too much ballet!
    Who would have thought that something that looks so natural requires so much technique?

  • Christy Thursday, 13 June 2013 at 05:36

    I switched from heel strike to mid foot about a year and a half ago. It took about a month+ to get over the calves and Achilles soreness. My cadence naturally sped up, and after a few months I focused on just my cadence. I hear if you do too much too fast you risk hurting your Achilles, but I switched over pretty fast and was ok. Good luck!!! Your shins will thank you. :]