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running form ?

Jo-n-NY2010-05-01 22:58:29 +0000 #1
First just a running form question. How do you plant your feet when you run. When I am on the treadmill I plant the ball of my foot. That is what feels natural to do. If I try to run outside, my heel is what goes done first. The book I am reading says to go down with the mid-foot. Working near the Westside Hwy bike/jog/walk path in Mahatten I am notice runners mostly going down on their heel. I was just wondering if there is a correct way.

Although I take lunch walks on the path, I am thinking of beginning my run/walk program during lunch 3 days a week. I keep cross trainer sneakers here at work for my walks, but I think I now should probably bring in fitness clothes. I probably have a few months before the lunch hour will be too hot to run. This will leave me time to take after work bike rides which I hope to begin at some point this month. I was wondering how I was going to juggle beginning a running program that would not interfer with my outdoor rides once the weather breaks for that. (to my satisfaction anyway

Sorry, my second paragraph is me thinking out loud but any input on my idea is welcome. hmmmm another thought, I guess I should get another pair of running sneakers instead of using the cross trainers for this.

~ JoAnn


KSH2010-05-01 23:04:51 +0000 #2
Well, there are two forms for running.

The "older" form is landing on your heel, rolling to the ball of your foot and pushing off there.

The "newer" form is you land mid-foot and push off from there. I'm sure the ball of the foot is fine too, but a coach of some sort might argue this.

The idea of why you do not land on your heel is this... it's like you are putting the breaks on when you heel hits the ground. BAM! Hit the ground with the heel... then roll off. And when you think about it, it makes sense.

The idea of landing mid-foot is that you are not putting on the breaks... and you focus on high cadence to speed up... not stretching out your legs to speed up. This is how we all learn to run though... to speed up you stretch out your stride. The "new" form says this is not a good.

I would NOT watch other people run to learn how to run. Most people just go run and don't think twice about what they are doing or their form.

I went to a running coach for 6 months to learn how to run. To change my form from a heel strike to a mid-foot plant.

As for your shoes, get shoes that are made for you to run in. This will prevent injury from occurring. Go to a store that specializes in running and running shoes and have them help you pick a shoe that works for your stride.

Good luck and keep at it!
Jo-n-NY2010-05-01 23:27:23 +0000 #3
Thank you so much KSH. You make perfect sense, not that I would think otherwise given your experience.

I bought a pair of running shoes for the treadmill which I have not used all week because of busy evenings. I did get them in a running store and they were great and very knowledgable. Looks like I will go this weekend to get a 2nd pair to keep here at work.

At least next week I can begin the program and not have to worry about missing days because of after work things to do

~ JoAnn
Wahine2010-05-01 23:09:24 +0000 #4
The single most important thing about running form in terms of efficiency is where your foot strikes the ground relative to your body. Heel strikers tend to stride out in front too far and actually cause a loss in momentum. Mid foot strikers tend to land with their foor under their hip and maintain momentum throught the stride. There are people that heel strike that still land with their foot under their pelvis and are very efficient this way, but they are the exception to the rule. As for running on the treadmill, if you're running closer to the front or using even a slight incline there will be a tendency to land more towards the fore foot.

As for shoes. Get out of those cross trainers!! Running in cross trainers for anything other than short treadmill runs is asking for a tendinitis in your lower leg because the shoe is too stiff to allow for the normal torsion through the foot that occurs with running. That means your foot is constantly working against the shoe. The other thing is that you need to be properly fit. Fit is the one most important thing in biomechanical efficiency. More so than getting a shoe for a pronator or supinator. If you're not comfy, you change your natural stride and any other biomechanical advantage you get from the shoe goes out the window.

Hope that helps.
Jo-n-NY2010-05-02 00:28:19 +0000 #5
Thank you Wahine, this makes very good sense. In fact I bet outdoors I have the tendance to take too large of a stride just because of the surroundings being larger. I will be more conscience of this when I start which will not be until next week for my new lunch routine since I will be getting sneakers over the weekend and needless to say, will wait until then.

Wow, this section is great for a newbie runner. It is as good as cycling above for the newbie cyclist. I have to consider TE a very "well rounded forum".

~ JoAnn
Wahine2010-05-01 23:46:20 +0000 #6
There's a really great drill for training your body to land with the foot under the pelvis and it's fun. SKIPPING!! After you warm up for 5 min, skip for 30 seconds, concentrate on landing with your foot under your pelvis and lifting the opposite knee quite high with that foot almost tucked up to your sit bones. The skipping strides should be very short and compact forward to bakc. After skipping for 30 sec, jog for 2 min, repeat until you've got 5 to 10 min left in your workout and then finish off with a cool down of light jogging. this is best done on a track or in a grassy field.
VeloVT2010-05-02 00:14:45 +0000 #7
I'm totally onboard with the midfoot-striking, not overstriding, increasing speed by increasing cadence thing (Jo, you might want to pick up a copy of Chi Running). Just to be clear though, to increase your speed beyond a certain point, you will have to increase BOTH cadence and stride length -- this is because you can't endlessly increase your cadence, and so you will have to pick up the difference by playing with the other limiting factor to speed... However, it's possible to increase stride length without overstriding by increasing forward lean and increasing the stride "out behind you" rather than by throwing your footstrike way out in front.
teigyr2010-05-02 01:26:41 +0000 #8
And Wahine, I love the idea of skipping because I was wondering how to change where my footstrike is. I heelstrike and I know I overstride. It doesn't feel like it but I've seen pictures and I do.

So while we're on the subject, what else helps with either running or running stride? Are weights beneficial? What types of stretching is best?

Jo-in-NY, this was a fantastic topic.

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