365Runners
Welcome to 365Runners! We are here because we all share a running addiction. Whether training for a first marathon, a new PR, a new race distance, or anything else... welcome!

To stop the banner ads, please register and login. Otherwise, please enjoy browsing as a guest.

Heel striking

Go down

Heel striking

Post  John Kilpatrick on Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:46 am

We've had this discussion before, but does heel striking matter?  Really?  I know there are extreme cases where running efficiency is altered dramatically from overstriding, but I've not met many people that have altered a stride with very positive results. 

Is there something to simply running more and thus naturally improving stride? 

I remember reading born to run and thinking that I was worse than Pol Pot because of my running style - now, I've sort of embraced it.  It has improved over the years, but I'm still a heel striker.

Is this why I get hurt?  Is it as simple as that.  I know it would be easy to say sure, but I have a friend who is a midfoot striker and has gotten hurt too. 

I've also read that pro triathletes work on running form and efficiency quite a bit as it relates to fore/mid foot striking.  I'm not sure if I understand that more from triathletes than from pure runners.  Do they work on it more and we just don't hear about it?  Why are Newtons popular with triathletes but not so much with pure runners?

I've been sort of confused about it all and finally decided to just not think about it and run. 

Thoughts?

John Kilpatrick
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1542
Points : 4384
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 48
Location : Leesburg, GA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  mul21 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:11 am

For most people, as they run more, they naturally become more efficient and end up as more of a mid foot striker than anywhere else.  I think the biggest thing to look at, especially for you with your injury history, is to make sure your cadence is at 180 or better all the time.  I know I got much more efficient when I started paying attention to that on a regular basis.  It can be tough to do on recovery runs, but it helps get you in a much better rhythm even at slower paces in my opinion.  Also, I'm betting you're less of a heel striker than you think you are.

As to the triathlete thing, I would bet that they spend more time on it because they're not primarily runners and don't come from that background on top of the fact that with spending so much time on other disciplines, it's probably easier to get your running form out of whack.  Also, as much time as they spend out there, it's probably at least partly muscle memory exercises to make sure they maintain good form when fatigue sets in at hour 7 or 8 of a triathlon.
avatar
mul21
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1481
Points : 4757
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 41
Location : St. Louis

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Nick Morris on Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:12 am

When I first started running I was a heel striker.  Over the years as I have transformed into a mid-foot striker as I began to work on form and efficiency.  

I think that just because you are a mid-foot striker, it doesn't mean that you are resistant to injuries.  There are many factors that lead to that.  Pronation and supination play a part, as well as, running form.  Little tendencies or inefficiencies over time can create injuries.  

Then, of course, there is the overuse factor or trying to build up miles or pace too fast.  This too can cause injuries no matter if you are a heal striker, mid-foot striker, or toe striker.

I think that triathletes may use the Newton shoes more often, because they help teach you how to become a mid-foot striker.  And for triathletes efficiency is key when they are on a course much longer than the average marathoner.
avatar
Nick Morris
Talking To Myself
Talking To Myself

Posts : 5109
Points : 12085
Join date : 2011-06-16
Age : 37
Location : Madison, WI

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Mark B on Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:13 am

There are so many questions in such a short post, John! Not as many easy answers, though.

There are so many different reasons people get hurt while running, it's hard to blame just one thing. Form can play a big role, but so can other training errors (like running aerobic runs too fast, or not giving yourself enough time to recover). And purposefully changing up how your body moves can reveal - or even cause - a bunch of other problems if you're not careful. So it's tricky.

Still, from everything I've seen and experienced, landing on the heel causes more shock to pass through the system than landing more on the forefoot. That could certainly lead to a greater chance of injury. Of course, I've also seen people who land on their forefoot improperly and have all sorts of other problems, too.

So heel striking may or may not be the root of your problems.

If you're really curious about it, you could try to find a coach who teaches running form (search for Chi running, or the Pose method), or pick up a book on barefoot running, try it, and see what happens.

I think people who do triathathlons tend to be more open to experimentation than pure runners partly because their sport is so new. But it's also because they see how much proper technique matters in the swim and cycling portions of the event. Nobody would suggest that you just jump in water and simply swim more to naturally improve your technique - all that does is reinforce bad technique. Lessons can help swimmers understand their form problems and overcome them.

When you think about it, why shouldn't the same concept apply to running? It's a skill like anything else.
avatar
Mark B
Needs A Life
Needs A Life

Posts : 7397
Points : 16080
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 54
Location : Vancouver, Wash.

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  John Kilpatrick on Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:39 am

I didn't mean me so much, as just runners in general.  I've never looked into it Jim, but I'm guessing a high cadence forces you to not overstride.  I will say that I've watched some of Blake's friends and many of them overstride and heel strike when running around the neighborhood - including 4-6 year olds.  I'm not sure than running on the forefoot is as genetically "normal" as it has been billed.  I don't know that triathletes need to be more efficient than runners - aren't most marathoners pretty fatigued by the end of their races too?  I disagree Mark on your point with swimming - swimming is largely technique, but you can absolutely get faster with running and cycling by just hopping on a bike or throwing on a pair of shoes and just running, with no focus at all on technique.  Proper bike fit and a pair of running shoes surely help and technique is involved - but not so much as in swimming (imo).  I'm by no means fast nor am I an expert on anything - it just is sort of a confusing topic. 

And no offense to chi or any other form of running, but why bother to run like someone else instead of like ourselves?  Will it make us faster?  I'm not closed to the idea, but am just looking to spend time most efficiently...

John Kilpatrick
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1542
Points : 4384
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 48
Location : Leesburg, GA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Dave-O on Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:44 am

I believe there is such a thing as proper, and biomechanically efficient, running form. Part of this means that your foot doesn't land far out front of your center of gravity.  That sort of "heel striking" is not good. 

But if your stride is landing correctly with your center of gravity, and it just so happens your heel makes contact first, I don't think that makes a lick of difference.
avatar
Dave-O
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 1736
Points : 4612
Join date : 2011-06-14
Age : 36
Location : Chicago

View user profile http://www.fleetfeetchicago.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Diego on Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:19 am

John,
Heel striking has been disproven as a primary source of injury. Biomechanical and functional weakness over the entire kinetic chain and training errors are more to blame.

I like the cadence suggestions.
It is also important if you are injury prone to make sure you are working the core and the hips and performing the same dynamic exercises FS1 and FS2 that Dave-O mentioned.
avatar
Diego
Regular
Regular

Posts : 599
Points : 3279
Join date : 2011-06-17
Age : 54
Location : Maine

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Mark B on Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:48 am

@John Kilpatrick wrote:And no offense to chi or any other form of running, but why bother to run like someone else instead of like ourselves?  Will it make us faster?  I'm not closed to the idea, but am just looking to spend time most efficiently...

Well, I never took a running class myself, so I can't claim any expertise on that issue. But I do remember how I "taught myself" how to ski many years ago, and managed to improve to the point to where I could make it down the hill without falling and enjoy myself more often than not. I felt pretty confident and competent.

Then, years later, I took lessons from a professional coach and was amazed at how much energy I was wasting in my self-taught skiing style, and how much faster, smoother and easier it was to fly down the mountain using proper technique -- even it it was "someone else's" technique I was using.

Similarly, unless you're one of the genetically gifted ones out there with perfect biomechanics, simply running isn't the same as running well. Better form, within the limits of one's genetic constraints, can make you faster, more enduring and less injured. It's worth considering, at least.
avatar
Mark B
Needs A Life
Needs A Life

Posts : 7397
Points : 16080
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 54
Location : Vancouver, Wash.

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  John Kilpatrick on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:56 pm

Hey Mark - I understand your point and don't disagree necessarily - I am just still sort of confused about the whole thing.  So many different opinions out there. 

What really got me thinking about it was an interview with a professional triathlete talking about how he spent a lot of time learning to run efficiently.  But, we don't hear about pro runners so much talking about the same kind of stuff (maybe they do it and don't talk about it?). 

Anyway, I've had my own set of issues for which I've gotten some good advice - just seems like some (not all) of the running form thing might be overblown.  I completely get the heel strike (not necessarily bad) vs. overstriding (inefficient and slow).  I've heard more than a few people suggest that if you simply run more you will move towards being more efficient.  Now that might be because the inneficient ones get hurt and drop out or something else, I don't know.

John Kilpatrick
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1542
Points : 4384
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 48
Location : Leesburg, GA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:19 pm

I think Dave-O said it best here.  I have found over the years that my own form and stride have become so much more efficient.  I don;t heel strike by nature (although I used to have a photo here that showed me heal striking as I crossed the finish line - I know that I do it to slow down/stop).  I have worked a little bit on form, but like Jim stated, if I'm right at the 180 cadence, I'm as efficient as i'm going to be and I let my natural stride and form take over.  I also find that when I am in the groove of training, I get hurt less since I'm letting that natural stride and form win.
avatar
Michele "1L" Keane
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 4804
Points : 11432
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 56
Location : Cleveland (Bay Village), OH/Atlanta, GA

View user profile http://1lranthere.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Chris M on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:41 pm

@mul21 wrote:For most people, as they run more, they naturally become more efficient and end up as more of a mid foot striker than anywhere else.  I think the biggest thing to look at, especially for you with your injury history, is to make sure your cadence is at 180 or better all the time.  I know I got much more efficient when I started paying attention to that on a regular basis.  It can be tough to do on recovery runs, but it helps get you in a much better rhythm even at slower paces in my opinion.  Also, I'm betting you're less of a heel striker than you think you are.

As to the triathlete thing, I would bet that they spend more time on it because they're not primarily runners and don't come from that background on top of the fact that with spending so much time on other disciplines, it's probably easier to get your running form out of whack.  Also, as much time as they spend out there, it's probably at least partly muscle memory exercises to make sure they maintain good form when fatigue sets in at hour 7 or 8 of a triathlon.

 I was going to give my answer and then read Jim's and basically agreed with every single thing he said.  I'd venture to guess that most people with a really really pronounced heel strike have low cadences well below 180.  And those that are at a cadence of 180 or higher may have a degree of heel strike but its still an overall efficient stride.   Getting the cadence right rather than focusing on what part of your foot is landing is (to me) a far easier thing to focus on while training and adapting your stride.  I HATE the concept of Newtons or other shoes that artificially try and "encourage" a particular type of landing.   The right stride is the one you can repeat a lot (180 or more footstrikes a minute) with the least amount of energy drain possible.   But there's huge variations even among pro runners about how that stride looks exactly except for the cadence piece.
avatar
Chris M
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1061
Points : 3877
Join date : 2011-06-14
Age : 49
Location : Washington, DC

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Mark B on Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:14 pm

@John Kilpatrick wrote:Hey Mark - I understand your point and don't disagree necessarily - I am just still sort of confused about the whole thing.  So many different opinions out there.

There are a lot of options out there, absolutely. I didn't meant to sound like a zealot. (Look at photos of my landings and you'll see that I'm not exactly landing like an elite, myself.) I just don't think that you should rule out the possibility that working to improve your running technique (including the 180 approach, which I also try to follow) might help you get faster... and stay uninjured, which eliminates downtime... which also helps you get faster.
avatar
Mark B
Needs A Life
Needs A Life

Posts : 7397
Points : 16080
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 54
Location : Vancouver, Wash.

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Jerry on Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:55 pm

My feeling is triathletes' running form is more appropriate for us to learn/copy. The elite runners are simply too elite to copy.
avatar
Jerry
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 2710
Points : 1004346
Join date : 2011-06-15
Location : Where I'm Loved

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Paula Sue on Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:22 am

I don't know for certain, but I think most kids are heel strikers.  Could be because they are still growing and developing.  Don't think it has anything to do with how they will run as adults.
avatar
Paula Sue
Poster
Poster

Posts : 240
Points : 2894
Join date : 2011-06-16
Age : 70
Location : Ohio...Florida...one or the other!

View user profile http://oceanbreeze-lake-erie.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  amyjoann on Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:16 pm

I don't know if it's correct or not but I run n my toes a lot more due to my trail running. I've learned to run light and pick-up my feet or literally land on my face:shock: . My stride has changed a lot due to all my trail miles my stride I think is shorter but maybe quicker not sure. try trails so how that works
avatar
amyjoann
Poster
Poster

Posts : 222
Points : 2874
Join date : 2011-07-18
Age : 51
Location : Crown Point IN

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  John Kilpatrick on Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:36 pm

Checked stride cadence during a recovery run today about 6-7 times for one minute each.  Stride rate is 177-180 without realizing it...

John Kilpatrick
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1542
Points : 4384
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 48
Location : Leesburg, GA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Schuey on Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:33 am

@Dave-O wrote:I believe there is such a thing as proper, and biomechanically efficient, running form. Part of this means that your foot doesn't land far out front of your center of gravity.  That sort of "heel striking" is not good. 

But if your stride is landing correctly with your center of gravity, and it just so happens your heel makes contact first, I don't think that makes a lick of difference.

 Bam, I feel that Dave hit it on the head and beat me to the punch!
avatar
Schuey
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 2160
Points : 5586
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 46
Location : So Many Roads To Ease My Soul

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Heel striking

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum