I’m becoming pretty familiar with my feet.
More specifically, I’m becoming familiar with how much abuse they’re getting while I’m training for this half-marathon. My ankles are covered in blisters, the sides of my pinky toes have never-ending peeling skin, and I get weird toe cramps after a long run.
It’s not that I’m wearing the wrong shoes, it’s just that I’m running like a maniac. All the time.
Which, recently, got me thinking about the whole concept of the “foot strike.” In running, this refers to how your feet land on the ground when you run. If you’ve never thought about it while on a run, you will now.
In recent years, the “Chi Running” method made the foot strike concept a little more popular, mostly because it advocates a mid-foot strike as opposed a heel strike—the one that most people use. Talk to 10 different running experts and you’ll probably come away with 10 different opinions about foot strikes. Some believe in toe, some mid-foot, some heel, and some just say to run “naturally.”
Here are the basics behind each type of foot strike. Try them all out and see if you notice a difference in your pace or how you feel after a run:
Just run around barfoot for a while and feel what your feet automatically do…landing on the heel is very painfull because there is nothing smoothering the impact of your weight.
Landing on the toes/midfoot will be smooth because the foot and leg can ‘roll out’ the power of the impact.
Same when you make a Judo/Karate jump and roll..if you roll and ‘roll out’ the impact of your landing you can endure a much harder impact than when you land straight on your feet..ouch…
Spreading the force of the impact over a larger area, no matter if over the foot during running or over the whole body when making a jump and roll, is the ‘secret’ to less pain.
Shoes will always change ‘the impact’ and running on the toes may not feel comfortable with some shoes, so better try them out in the shop.
The “Girl on Trail” series is great, especially this story! Thanks Frugivore!
When I was training for the marathon 2 years ago, I got injured around mile 15. I see now that it probably had something to do with the WAY I was running (ie my foot strike). I can’t wait to start running again, now properly.