Skip navigation
Community: Exchange advice in the forums and read running commentary Resources: Personal running log, calculators, links and other tools for runners News: Running news from around the world Training: Articles and advice about fitness, race training and injury prevention Races/Results: Find upcoming races and past results Home: The Cool Running homepage
Cool Running homepage  Search Cool Running Community

12171 Views 52 Replies Latest reply: Jun 24, 2010 4:30 PM by rolyone Go to original post 1 2 3 4 Previous Next
  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,400 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    You really need to do more research before you talk about heel-striking.  Good form does not preclude heel-strike.  In fact, some of the best distance runners in the world heel-strike.  In this article (http://www.runblogger.com/2010/05/elite-males-in-slow-motion-at-2010.html), the author looked at slow motion video of the 2010 Boston Marathon leaders and determined two are heel-strikers (including Meb) and two more heel-strike on one foot and land midfoot on the other (not as unusual as you might think).  Another article (http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008/04/running-technique-footstrike.html) reported on a video study of 283 elites in a half-marathon - 75% of them were heel-strikers!

     

    Perhaps what you were doing was over-striding.  Then I would tend to agree with you.  But heel-striking is not the culprit.

     

    Len





    Len

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,400 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    dfitz* wrote:

     

    Forget the road or the gym -- the next time I see a professional running magazine publish an "artful" photo of some guy or gal extending their foot way out in front of them, toes skyward, heel about to take an appalling strike -- I'm going to complain to the editor!

     

    You have no complaint!  Because you can't (necessarily) tell anything about footplant when both feet are in the air.  I have viewed video frame-by-frame where I thought the same thing.  Yet when it got to footplant, the runner had a very nice midfoot strike, directly under the c-o-g.

     

    So, yeah, you don't like the picture.  Sometimes annoys me too. But it doesn't begin to tell the whole story.  Show me what it looks like when the foot finds the ground.

     

    Len





    Len

  • architeuthis Amateur 32 posts since
    Dec 14, 2008

    I didn't claim to be some sort of expert so I don't know why you are picking on my post. It's just my opinion and anecdotal experience, just like every other post on this board. I guess I didn't make that sufficiently clear, and you are correct in that it's unclear whether the midfoot strike or shorter stride helped me more -- I  have no way of knowing really.

     

    The heel strike vs. midfoot debate has raged on for ages and shows no   signs of letting up, so instead of "doing more research" I will stick to   just letting people know what worked for me. In my personal experience, which may or may not help anyone else, I followed some of the advice of the "Chi Running" style and it helped my knees, helped my efficiency, and played a part in cutting my half-marathon pace significantly. It is not clear if the benefits are from midfoot strike or from shorter stride -- both are emphasized in the articles I read.

     

    For what it's worth, I don't think it's right for you to assert that since a bunch of superelite marathoners heel strike that automatically means heel striking is perfectly fine for everyone including beginners -- that doesn't really follow logically, but certainly it suggests that there's nothing inherently wrong with heel striking. Valid theory.

  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009

    animahngo wrote:

     

    If I see one more person at the park or at the gym or on the road land heel first while running, I'm gonna kill something.

     

    Wow. I'm glad to see you have your priorities for life.

     

    Yah, those heel-strikers are a real threat to civilization, liberty, and all that is decent and good.

     

    Go get'em killer!





  • Haselsmasher Legend 514 posts since
    May 25, 2009

    I don't think there are any "universal truths" when it comes to running.  The key reason I say that is that each of our bodies and styles vary enough that what works for one may not work for someone else.  Therefore, asserting "all heel striking is bad" is just as bad as saying "all midfoot striking is good".  The fact of the matter, like Len said, is that most people heelstrike.  For some it works just fine.  If it does - why change it?  And even that statement focuses on the heel strike.  That may not be the issue at all.  It's hard to get scientific to prove what the issue is - because each of our bodies respond differently.

     

    Here's an example of where a group of people think they know cause-and-effect when, in reality, they may not:  Injecting cortisone for Plantar Fasciitis works for some and not for others.  To a certain degree it appears (and maybe still is) a crap shoot as to whether it will work for someone.  Well, someone discovered, if the Plantar Fasciitis had been going on a while and an injection of cortisone helped, it apparently got better not because of the cortisone at all, but rather because the aggravation caused by the needle itself caused the body to go into heeling mode.  There now is a Plantar Fasciitis treatment that involves inserting an EMPTY hypodermic needle into the foot for the sole purpose for aggravating the tissue to cause the healing response.  Prior to this belief/knowledge, for some cases, what was thought to be the cortisone curing the problem, was in actuality the NEEDLE curing the problem.

     

    Therefore, my assertion is that Len's assertion is entirely plausible:  We may find that heel striking is just fine, it's overstriding that is the problem.  To a certain degree - I don't care.  What I care about is that people are able to run as they want - whether it's heel striking, overstriding, barefoot, Pose Method, Chi Running, or as that great Monty Python skit shows - The Ministry Of Silly Walks.

     

    Jim





    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • Carrie36440 Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 12, 2010

    well great, now I am all paranoid about how I look while running...being totally new to the sport, not really the first thing I need.

     

    But ya know what, 90% of people cant/dont run....so I might suck with the 90% of runners, but at least I run

     

    And I land on my forefoot...I must really really suck.  But when I get tired I start midfoot to heal striking.  Or at least I think so...gonna have to start thinking more about it when I run.

  • Haselsmasher Legend 514 posts since
    May 25, 2009

    I would specifically NOT think about it too much. 

     

    I think it's way too easy to get caught up in all this theory about footstrike and such.  If you're new and trying to establish a habit - just go run.  If something gets in your way - injuries - not achieving the speed you want - maybe then start looking at form.

     

    Jim





    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,400 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Bingo!  Just go run.  IF you start to have problems, THEN consider possible sources.

     

    When I started running, nobody worried much about footstrike (maybe elites).  The discussion for the average runner is relatively recent.

     

    Len





    Len

  • SlowDue2Beer Rookie 6 posts since
    Jan 30, 2010

    If you hate people, go buy a treadmill and keep your angry self inside and away from the rest of us "heel landing" runners.  Or maybe get a dog you can beat when you see him run incorrectly?

     

    And it wasn't a typo anyway.  When I make a typo it looks like this, "I hjsdate peiupler"  I don't accidentally type real words that I don't even understand the meaning to(lexeme) in order to try to make myself appear smarter.  I recommend you use smaller words to express your anger in the future.

  • DaveReyne Amateur 31 posts since
    Sep 19, 2008

    The photo is interesting. I believe the runner would have OK technique because his motion forward would mean that judging how far off the ground his foot is, it would land OK.

    Also, by the time his foot hits the ground his hips will be over the landing spot. The key element in this photo is that the runner has a good upper body position although he could be forward a bit more.

    Any how, always hard to tell from one still photo. He is probably about 80% OK.

    Have a look at the runner in the banner on the run2rhythm website at www.run2r.com.

    Almost perfect body position.

    Dave

  • dfitz* Legend 612 posts since
    Aug 20, 2008

    There is something I've been wanting to clarify for months now. Len has said before that one can land heel-first while still having a midfoot strike ("midfoot" apparently meaning that the runner's foot lands under the body's center of gravity). That might make sense in a traditional running approach; it seems to works for Len and many others, and evidently it works for lots of elites. (I disregard such comparisons of elites to "the rest of us," though. Elites got that way because they're freakishly gifted. The fact that they're heel-strikers is incidental; they could probably run sideways and still be in a class unto themselves.)

     

    In ChiRunning (a practice which both the original poster and I follow), the definition of "midfoot" is different. In ChiRunning, landing midfoot and heel-striking are mutually exclusive, because ChiRunning precludes dorsiflexion (flexing the foot upward). The only way you can land on your heel while your foot is properly under your center of gravity is to dorsiflect. I'm not saying one definition is right and the other is wrong -- I'm saying they are different and this may explain the root of the debate in this particular thread. If heel-striking works for you, then good for you; it's none of my business. But heel-striking will never, ever work for anyone following the practice of ChiRunning. I'm not saying everyone should be a ChiRunner -- my point is only that "midfoot strike" doesn't always have the same meaning to everyone. This is why we ChiRunners might be over-sensitive about it, and why seeing a photo of someone flexing their foot dramatically upward makes me cringe, personally.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,400 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    dfitz* wrote:

     

    There is something I've been wanting to clarify for months now. Len has said before that one can land heel-first while still having a midfoot strike ("midfoot" apparently meaning that the runner's foot lands under the body's center of gravity).

    I apologize if I gave you that impression.  I'm not sure what I said to make you think that.  But in fact I agree with you 100%.  You cannot both heel-strike and midfoot strike.  Your footstrike basically reflects what part of your foot absorbs the bulk of the force/weight of landing.  On the other hand, planting under the c-o-g is (regarded as) part of good form (as opposed to over-striding, which is not), and can be accomplished with heel, midfoot or forefoot strike.  But dorsiflexing does not preclude midfoot (or forefoot) strike.  Though ChiRunning seems to define it that way.

     

    Len





    Len

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    donnamacd wrote:

     

    Agree, Marykb - LOL  Probably the same people that "loose" weight, rather than losing weight.

    Yes, Donna, thank you!  I used to belong to Spark People and I can't tell you how many people were there to "loose" weight.  It drives me nuts to read that. Of course I'm not so misanthropic as the OP that I want to go out and kill everyone who does something annoying that doesn't affect me personally. 





  • Haselsmasher Legend 514 posts since
    May 25, 2009

    My take is to land midfoot when your foot is under your center of gravity you have to dorsiflex *some*.  I say that because, when both sets of muscles (dorsiflexors  - shin muscles and plantar flexors - calves) of the lower leg are completely relaxed the foot points slighly downward.  When standing still if you pick up your foot under your hip and put it down with those muscles completely relaxed the forefoot hits the floor first.  If the foot is in front of you to a certain degree I could see how you could get it down without dorsiflexing.  But if the foot is close to under your hips some dorsiflexion is going needed to get the whole foot on the ground at the same time.

     

    Jim





    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...