I'm new to running. Up to week four of the C25K. Trying hard to avoid injury - especially shin splints, which sound horrible.
I'm not sure how my feet should hit the ground. At the moment I land with pretty flat foot and this feels heavy.
Advice online is conflicting. it ranges from: "your heel should definitely hit the ground first" to "under no circumstances should your heel make any contact with the ground". What should I be doing? And does this change as you get faster/fitter?
Also I'm jogging quite slowly (a tip from a friend to avoid shin splints), but I've read that slow running is pointless and you are better to walk quickly, which has the fitness benefits without injury-risk associated with impact.
thanks for the help.
I'm not an expert, but I find that usually running slightly forward on the foot is best. If you hit too hard on your heal, you can risk injuring your legs. Also, run at a speed you're comfortable with, but try a speed for the run. My weekly routine includes short easy runs two to three times a week with slower speeds, one long day with slow speeds and then days where I do speed workouts once or twice a week. Try mixing it up, it will keep the running more fun and get you into shape faster. I hope that helps.
Avoid overstriding, which has your foot landing out in front of your body. Work on shortening your stride, increasing cadence (footfalls per minute) and planting your feet as much as possible directly under your hips/center of mass. The following is a general description and you should do a little research if you want details. Heel-striking is not necessarily bad and there is no evidence that it makes you more prone to injury (consider that something like 70% of runners heel-strike). Midfoot/forefoot striking is considered more efficient, therefore a better way to run. The different footstrikes appear to change where the stresses occur on your muscles and joints more than diminishing them. Also the heel generally touches the ground in all but extreme forefoot plant, just later in the footstrike as you go from heel to midfoot to forefoot.
Run at a pace where you can talk in short sentences - a "conversational pace". I guess "slow running is pointless" if you don't want to be a runner.
Slow running (or any running) isn't "pointless" depending on what your point is! If you are looking to get the best overall workout for cardio fitness or weight loss, then you will do just as well walking very briskly as running very slowly. If you want to train to be a runner, then you have to run. So again, it depends on your goal.
I guess that attitude comes from the fact that there is an overlap where it is easier to run a certain slow pace than to walk a certain brisk pace. It probably varies among individuals, but for me that pace is about 5 mph - or a 12 minute mile. I have walked 12 minute miles which is VERY challenging (for me). Running a 12 minute mile isn't challenging at all (for me). Back many years ago, when I first started running, I was doing fast walking for my workouts and at the 12 min/mile pace I would find myself taking jogging "breaks" because it was easier than walking that fast! Even now when I sometimes go walking with my DH, who is quite a brisk walker, I find it easier to jog along very slowly beside him. I can't account for the physiology of why this is, but if you do a little experimenting, you will see what I mean.
But in the long run (pun intended!) any exercise that gets you moving forward is beneficial and will eventually get you where you want to go if you stay consistent and increase your speed and distance gradually. You aren't doing anything wrong if you run very slowly and you aren't doing anything wrong if you do intervals of fast walking with it. Just keep moving and getting into condition and you will be on your way to reaching your goals. Good luck!
Thanks everyone. Just to clarify, I'm not suggesting slow running is pointless (I have no idea), but I was a bit disheartened to read this elsewhere.
I do want to run (it seems like a great hobby and great exercise) and I want to do it right. I'm trying to make a good start, with sensible warm-ups, decent shoes, a recommended training program and good advice. But I've been quite confused by a lot of what I've read.
thanks so much for all the tips so far. If anyone else has anything add, I'd appreciate it.