22 Mar Learn to Run 3: Put Your Best Foot Forward
‘If the shoe fits, wear it’…except as runners we need to be much more particular. Those running shoes are our most important piece of gear. We can run without expensive watches, fancy outfits, etc. But running without proper footwear leaves us vulnerable to possible injuries, sidelined with all sorts of potential problems.
Do you need a stability shoe to keep your body aligned? Is a neutral shoe better for your running form and foot strike pattern? Find a shoe expert who will gladly assist you in your ‘Not-Just-Any-Shoe-That-Fits-Or-Looks-Pretty-Will-Do Quest‘.
Foot Strike: One issue is what part of your foot hits the ground first:
- where you strike the ground (relative to your centre of gravity) is one concern, and another is
- how you strike the ground
Some people are more comfortable using a certain type of foot strike. If you are a new runner, experiment with different foot strike techniques. Use the one that is least fatiguing and allows for a light and quick turnover rate of about 180 steps per minute.
Effects of Where you Strike:
- Mid- or Rear-foot Landing: This reduces stress placed on the calf muscles. (The landing stress is shifted more to the larger thigh muscles.) Try to imagine ‘rolling over your feet’ as your body moves forward after each landing.
- Forefoot Landing: Beginners sometimes develop calf pain and forefoot landing adds to that possibility.
- If you are experiencing calf or shin discomfort, try to concentrate on a mid- or rear-foot landing technique, and see if that solves your problem.
- A turned-out foot on landing often leads to shin pain along the inside of the lower leg. See if you can fix that.
- Focusing on taking 180 steps per minute will often result in a mid- or rear-foot landing. You won’t have to think about how you are striking the ground.
Make it Easy: Don’t count each foot when counting your stride rate. Count just the right or left and look for 90. (You are going to take as many steps with the left as you do with the right? Just sayin’)
Thanks for reading, Smile and enjoy the run,
Credit for Information: Jack Daniels, PhD ‘Daniels Running Formula’
Jack Daniels has decades of experience as a track and cross country coach. He has logged years of graduate study and research on distance running in both the United States and Sweden. He holds a doctoral degree in exercise physiology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He also studied exercise science at the Royal Gymnastics Central Institute in Stockholm under renowned sport scientist Per-Olaf Åstrand. In recent years, Daniels has been an associate professor in the human movement program at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona, in addition to coaching Olympic runners. ‘He truly enjoys helping relative beginners improve as much as seeing one of his elite runners make it to the Olympic Games.’