Don’t Run On Your Toes…Or Heels
You may or may not agree with my ideas and practices. But that’s ok. The world would be so boring if we all had the same ideas and philosophies. Don’t you think?
So I would like to share my opinion on running skills. Particularly regarding the strike in this blog post. First of all I base my running technique on POSE Method and Chi Running elements as well as Natural Running. Plus I bring into it some elements from Karate. Yes, Karate and running have common grounds, believe it or not.
About heel strike
I’m not saying heel strike is good or bad but I am asking the following questions:
Why don’t children (up to the age of 5) run heel strike? If heel strike was the natural way.
Why does running feel so heavy when we heel strike? You only notice the heaviness when you experience the opposite, lightness.
Why so many people struggle so much when running? …and most people heel strike
Why does our butt stick out when we heel strike if heel strike is the natural way? Then back arches and we end up with back pain, thus hating running.
Why don’t we run heel strike first when we don’t have padding/platforms (that’s shoes)? The moment we try to heel strike barefoot that impact goes right up the head is it’s too aggressive. Have you ever felt that? I tested.
Why do we feel so much pressure on the knees when heel striking? And why does it look so aggressive on the body when we heel strike? Have you ever notices the aggressive force on the body? I notice it by watching runners every single day…
Why do we lose control and easily slip on ice, snow or mud when we heel strike?
Why is running so difficult for my clients before I teach them the “other way”?
About toe strike
If we run on our toes, without placing the heel on the ground, there are other problems.
As the foot touches the ground, knee bends and if the heel doesn’t touch the ground then the knee bends further passing over the toes and so receives all the pressure and weight. There is a similar principle in Karate.
You can also get shin splints and force the ankle too much. Add to that the poor weight distributions and poor alignment of the body which keeps it in a weaker form. Let’s not mention the strain on the calf.
No heels, no toes….then what?
There’s another option: Ball of foot – Midfoot strike
That is landing with the ball of the foot (has nothing to do with the toes) a fraction of a second before the heel touches the ground. It’s really that long, a fraction.
You should not point your toes and never land on your toes as this can indeed lead to other types of injuries.
Ball of foot is wrongly mistaken for toe landing. It is completly different and the body works in a different way. It is actually heavy and difficult and you bounce up and down all the way. Who’d want that! It can be exhausting.
I do not claim to know the best way to run. All I know is that since I changed my running form my knees are better (having had 15 years of sever meniscus damage, now my knees are in their best shape), running feels light like gliding over the ground and it’s so much easier.
I also have a lot more control when running on different surfaces and can apply the principle of body weight transfer so I don’t push off.
Because push off action, or pushing against the ground, causes will lead to a response an equal and opposite reaction – according to the laws of physics.
When you heel strike you end up pushing off to move forward. Alternatively when you lean from your ankles, using gravity and using the body weight transfer principle you make use of that source of free energy. You also nicely and smoothly lift your foot and place it softer on the ground. More control, more enjoyable run.
And this doesn’t come only from my experience. Once I begin teaching running techinique my clients start smiling and begin enjoying running. Even those who hated it before. They feel lighter and more in control of their own bodies. And they look like runners from their first session. Because it’s about forma AND efficiency.
You must also bear in mind that landing is only ONE element of the running technique I teach. There are many other elements which when brought together transform your running and how it impacts your body.
So there you have it. What I stand for in terms of running and the reason why I stand for this. As mentioned the technique is much more complex but this gives you a glimpse.
Review your running technique
If you’d like me to have a look at your running film yourself running 50m a few times, book a call with me and we will look at it together