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hey everyone i a new to the forum so am not sure as to whether this has been discussed before but i was wondering if you could help me.

i am currently in training for my first marathon in barcelona next year at the age of 18 and have only recently started doing longer runs.

my question is what is the best running technique, i have always ran with the classic technique landing on your heel and then rolling through and pushing of your toes but my dad seems convinced after reading a book that the best technique is with shorter strides to land on the ball of your foot and then push off again quickly.

does anyone have a view or seen anything to suport either of these techniques.

many thanks
 

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each too their own - personally I say do what comes naturally to you! running on the forefoot puts extra strain on your calfs, and I would agree it can be better for speed, but i've no idea what effect it has over longer distances - I would imagine fatigue is higher! (my opinion/thought only of course)

Kelly Holmes runs/ran on her forefeet, but that was how she naturally ran. As far as I'm aware the majority run with the 'classic' technique. I've heard of people 'converting' to forefoot running, but it usually involves a few weeks of calf pain trying to adapt.
 

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Your Dad isn't reading a book on pose techniue by any chance is he? There is also another technique called Chi Running that advocates mid-foot striking but it takes a great deal of concentration and practice to change your running style as you have to re-educate your body.

Where you foot lands can be determined by your natural biomechanics. For instance over pronators tend to heel strike and neutral runners are often forefoot strikers but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Advocaters of pose technique recommend barefoot running if you want to learn to runn on the balls of your feet but as Richard says I wouldn't bother unless you are having problems with your style.

Running for 26.2 miles is a long time to be on your feet and you want to be as comfortable as you can.
 

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richardsimkiss said:
I've heard of people 'converting' to forefoot running, but it usually involves a few weeks of calf pain trying to adapt.
Ah yes, but surely it's worth a bit of calf pain if learning to strike with your forefoot is going to make you into a better and faster runner (and have you never heard of Ibuprofen?). I could be proven wrong, but I'd venture to say that NONE of our top class runners (not just Kelly Holmes) are heel strikers. Neither do they race in fancy built up heels that encourage such an injury inducing technique.
Cheers!
 

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To answer myself, lol, a quick google search found this:
Good short (but detailed) read on a study done over 1/2 mara distance for elite athletes;
Rearfoot strike was observed in 74.9% of all analyzed runners, MFS in 23.7%, and FFS in 1.4%
EDIT: The percentage of midfoot strikers did increase with the in the quicker runners group, through RFS'ers were still in the majority.

Though it would appear that shorter distances lend themselves to MFS or FFS, particularly in sprints (which would explain why I was never a very good sprinter!).
 

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OK, old Runningfox is 'proven wrong'. When I referred to forefoot striking, I meant landing with the ball of the foot as opposed to striking with the heel, i.e dividing the foot into two, not three. I personally regard it as the most economical way to run with far less stress and jolting to my ancient joints (ankles, knees, back, or whatever). I still think it is the preferred method of elite athletes. And I still think heel striking is the most harmful. And considering I've been able to carry on charging around the hills and run eighteen races since my 75th birthday in May without once having to resort to this Forum for advice about injury problems, it may go some way towards proving a point.
Cheers!
 

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I hope you don't think I posted the above info with the intent of proving you wrong Running fox, if so then my apologies as that certainly wasn't the case. It was merely the result of finding out further detail for my own interest.

I've heard mentioned many times about the injury prevention benefits of forefoot striking, and it does make sense, there's certainly a lot less jolting of joints going on! I tend to strike with the forefoot myself when i'm running uphill and it's undeniably a lot 'smoother'.

Another thought, does anyone know of those sort of walking/running springy stilt things (they were on a recent TV advert)?? I think they're designed in such a way that sort of works on the principle of a calf muscle and so replicates and exaggerates it mechanically.

Are you a convert to forefoot striking running fox or have you always ran that way? Regardless, your racing resume is undeniably impressive and FFS certainly works for you (together with great training discipline i'm sure!)
 

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richardsimkiss said:
Kelly Holmes runs/ran on her forefeet, but that was how she naturally ran.
I must point out that Dame Kelly spent a great deal of her career on the injured list...:(
...Go figure.
Sprinters run on their toes. Distance runners (as a general rule) are heel-strikers. I would recommend (not only to you, but to any runner), not to try altering your running style. Just get out there and run with the style you were born with
(Actually, are we born with a style or do we develop a natural progression from walking?)
 

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richardsimkiss said:
Are you a convert to forefoot striking running fox or have you always ran that way? Regardless, your racing resume is undeniably impressive and FFS certainly works for you (together with great training discipline i'm sure!)
When I began running 21 years ago I was most definitely a heel striker. The main area of wear on my shoes was the outside rear heel which wore down in no time at all. I used to consider building the heel back up with 'Shoo-goo' but never got round to it because I didn't think it would last very long with the amount of punishment I was giving them - and clocking up to two thousand miles a year.
The transition to forefoot striking could be partly associated with beginning to run faster, but a really conscious effort was made after reading Gordon Pirie's book - Running Fast and Injury Free - which anyone can read, or download from the internet, by going to: http://www.gordonpirie.com. Pirie was perhaps clocking up to 200 miles a week with seemingly no ill effects. I'm not sure his book made me run any faster, I could never match his punishing schedules, but I could certainly run farther and easier with less aches and pains - which made it a more enjoyable experience.
Looking at my shoes now, most of the wear is on the outside in the ball of the foot area. As an added bonus, I'm getting more mileage from them too.
Cheers!
 

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Thanks for the link runningfox, will be downloading the book shortly - As you mention, I think running faster naturally increases your tendancy to strike the ground less on the heel.

I played around a little last night on my short run to see what effect striking the floor with different parts of the foot had on my running style. 'heavy' heelstriking was slow and certainly not smooth, my natural style (landing slightly on the heel) I found to be most comfortable (obviously), striking on the midfoot (I struggled with this, I kept still catching my heel on the ground) I found caused me to naturally pick up my pace. And striking with the forefoot I just couldn't do! I felt like I was tiptoe'ing and I couldn't do it smoothly at all, I could feel myself slowing each time my foot hit the ground.

Conclusion I came to was that I was never meant to be a forefoot striker, and I willingly accept that my FFS technique was probably far from ideal, and that a short minute or two really isn't a good gauge, but it isn't for me. I'm a heel striker by nature and will continue to do so, but expect that as my times improve i'll be spending less time on my heels and striking closer to the midfoot.

Pedestrian, I agree that Dame Kelly did spend a lot of her professional career injured, but so do a lot of athletes and whilst Forefoot striking may well have contributed, it'd be wrong to assume her injuries stemmed from her running style.
 

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I would be interested to try forefoot striking, particularly if I go in for a short-ish race. RF, how hard was it to adjust your natural foot posture? Did it take long?
 

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have to admit i tried it a little again tonight, and whilst I managed it a lot better than last night, I can't help but feel like i'm 'braking' everytime my foot hits the ground!

Started reading the Gordon Pirie book, really enjoying it so far! I'm one of those people who rarely reads - wizards & goblins, or intergalatic robots simply don't do it for me, but a good read of fact and/or opinion on subjects i'm interested in always grabs me from cover to cover!
 

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Katten said:
Although goblins are terrible over-pronators
HAHA! Nice one Katten :d

Just finished Gordon Pirie's book over a cup of coffee at work. Would recommend it to anyone - very interesting read, and whilst parts are undoubtedly a little outdated there's plenty in there to help your running regardless of your running style (though he does talk a lot about the importance of using the forefoot striking technique which he refers to as the correct running technique).

Since reading the book and various other sources on the net (and watching some youtube vids last night) i'm very much of the opinion that there's very little between running styles of heel striking and forefoot striking. I had a pre-conception of forefoot striking being pretty much running along on your tiptoes/ball of foot... obviously it's much the same technique as heel striking (i.e. foot rolling inwards) but striking the floor further forward in the foot.

The cushioning of training shoes would appear to accentuate the action of heel striking and make forefoot striking much harder. I reckon plenty of heel strikers are closer to mid-foot strikers if they ran barefoot, and as has been already said, increase of pace will naturally make you strike the ground further forward the foot. I did some 100m sprints last night (after wanting to know what times I could achieve having not ran 100m since school) and when sprinting I'm most certainly a midfoot to forefoot striker.

Enough of me waffling anyhow, I've got work to do :rolleyes:
 

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Download menu on the right hand side of the page TT.

Under Send to a friend, Embed and Share.
 

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Me too TT.

Havn`t had a chance to read it yet.....
 

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Dave said:
Me too TT.

Havn`t had a chance to read it yet.....
me neither I posted it home, so I didn't have to carry it :embarrassed:

Until I go my good news yesterday, I was looking at other options for running, I am still going to look at it however, it looks very interesting.

Thanks for your help :d
 
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