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Foot Strike - Does it Matter? ABSOLUTELY!

Hey everyone! Get psyched for another edition of Thoughtful Thursday! A blog from your friends at Tempo Training and Performance that explains the various techniques, tips, and training strategies to help make you more successful in your training and racing!

Today we are going to talk about foot strike! We’re going to talk about what it is, why it matters, and how to improve your foot strike to maximize your gait pattern. Well that’s enough chitter chatter, here’s the stuff you actually want to read!

The term foot strike refers to the moment when your foot first contacts the ground when running. There are three main types of foot strike that are all named for the part of your foot that hits the ground first. The names of the groups are: forefoot strike, midfoot strike, and rearfoot strike. There has been a lot of debate in the running community about which strategy is best and honestly, the part of your foot that lands first DOES NOT REALLY MATTER!!! In a cool biomechanics study done by BYU biomechanist Ian Hunter, he took photos of foot strike of the athletes competing at the 2012 USA Olympic trials 10k.

As you can see from the photos, there are many different types of foot strikes among the best runners in the country, which in my opinion is a strong argument for the fact that the part of your foot you land on first, doesn’t really matter. I would argue instead, that where your foot lands in relation to your hips is what really makes the difference. Allow me to explain.

Most runners tend to over stride and as a result tend to land with their foot out in front of their hips like this.

As you can see, the foot is WAY out in front. What this does is it causes a braking effect which slows you down and puts more force on your ankles, knees, hips, and back. It also means that your body has to then overcome that braking, get your foot under your hips, and then use your energy to propel you forward.

The alternative is to land with your foot underneath your body and your hips like this.

Here you can see that the foot is under the hips and that there is no braking that is occurring with the running form. This allows most of the energy to be used to propel the runner forward as there is no braking force to overcome with running. This allows you to put less stress on your joints and also use less energy to run at the same speed compared with over striding.

Now you may be wondering, How do I know if I’m over-striding? Well the best way to know is to have someone film you running from the side on the treadmill making sure to include the hips in the video. This will allow you to see where your foot lands in relation to your hips when running.

Well great, you just realized you are an over-strider. Let me be the first to say, WELCOME TO THE CLUB! Most runners are over-striders even with the recent trend in minimalist shoes and barefoot running. You are probably wondering how to correct your stride and reduce the amount of over-striding you do. Well you’re in luck.

The first way is to increase your cadence! For a quick refresher on how to calculate your cadence click here ( . By increasing your cadence you reduce the length of your stride, take quicker steps, and don’t allow your foot enough time to land far out in front of you. This helps bring your foot under your hips and prevent over-striding.

The other way is to practice landing under your hips while performing running drills! There are several different drills out there but a few examples include high knees, A-skips, and bounding. By practicing form drills, you can practice landing under your hips and allow it to transfer over into your running form!

Well guys, that’s all I’ve got for the blog today! If you want to learn more about foot strike, check out this video!

Thanks again for checking out the blog!

Until next time,


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