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please can I have an idiots guide to heel and forefoot strikes in running.

(9 Posts)
meglet Thu 18-Jun-15 09:23:44

I heel strike and I think it's not doing my knees any good. However whenever I attempt forefoot strikes it feels like I'm running on tiptoes.

does it come with practice or are some people built for different styles? I think I might actually be better off with barefoot shoes, my current trainers are bendy but they still feel like they inhibit my feet IYSWIM confused .

off to work, back later......

CMOTDibbler Thu 18-Jun-15 10:56:44

It does sort of feel like you are running on tiptoes at first. I sort of visualise just pulling my knee up, then pushing it down with my foot under me. Biggest thing is stopping your lower leg swinging out in front of you as that makes you want to heel strike

bigbuttons Thu 18-Jun-15 11:03:05

you can't really mid or fore strike in normal running shoes because the heel is too built up. I have barefoot shoes and some sketchers trainers which are very minimalist, they give more protection than barefoot but still allow a fore strike.
A word of advice though, take changing you running style very very very very slowly. Forefoot striking is very hard on the calf muscles. You WILL cause yourself an injury if you don't transition slowly. HTHsmile

AggressiveBunting Thu 18-Jun-15 13:12:34

Yes- a mid foot strike in a high drop shoe (i.e. one where the heel sits higher than the toe- most traditional road running shoes) is very difficult. You need to find a low or zero drop shoe. I run in Hokas which are a "maximalist" shoe- i.e. minimal drop but big cushion underneath. Look slightly like you're running in MBTs but if Hokas are wrong I don't want to be right grin

Also agree re pressure on calves. The first time I raced in Hokas I thought my calves were going to explode.

AggressiveBunting Thu 18-Jun-15 13:13:51

Sorry- meant to add, bendiness doesn't have any bearing on it really- for example a lot of trail shoes encourage a forefoot strike but also have a reinforced midsole which means they are very unbendy.

ultrathule Thu 18-Jun-15 13:41:22

Very few people are true forefoot runners. If you force yourself onto your toes, you will risk calf and achilles problems. Instead of thinking about your toes, try to keep your stride short and your body upright, and increase your leg turnover. Think more about the upwards flight of your legs rather than the placement of your foot.
Re: shoes - It is very hard to change your running form in shoes with a large heel drop. But barefoot shoes can be really unforgiving. Lots of companies now make a minimal drop shoe with some cushioning; they market them as racing shoes quite often but I wear them for everything. Adidas do some brilliant ones (Adizero Boost range).
A lot of true barefoot shoes are actually quite stiff. I have a pair of Merrell pacegloves which are true barefoot shoes with no padding at all, and they are very stiff. Very comfortable but I am a natural midfoot runner.

meglet Thu 18-Jun-15 13:45:48

on my lunch now, will read and learn! thanks.

bigbuttons Thu 18-Jun-15 14:26:58

I have several pairs of vibram 5 fingers. I bloody loved them. I used to run over the south downs in them, so freeing. Can't do hill running any more as my right knee complains when I come down.
I find flat running very boring and won't use my vibrams on concert. The sketchers shoe has been great as a compromise.

holmessweetholmes Thu 18-Jun-15 15:05:56

I changed from a heel strike to a forefoot strike a few years back after reading Born to Run. It feels a bit weird at first but I find it better. I am prone to stress fractures in my feet, but much less so since I changed strike. (I have one right now, but that's my own stupid fault for increasing my distance too fast hmm ).

If the 'running on tiptoe' feeling makes you doubt the benefits of the forefoot strike, try running along the pavement barefoot - it soon reminds you that we are 'designed' to forefoot strike.

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