Week 3 TEAM Running Program

Technique: Foot strike

Working on running technique can be overwhelming. Theres somany things to think about, and essentially you're unpacking a lifetime habit and starting all over again. Even smokers don't have to endure that when quitting!

The best thing you can do if you want to change your technique is to keep things simple. Only focus on 1 thing at a time, and make *very* gradual changes. Changing how your foot lands can be useful if you experience pain while running, or feel like you can't break through a plateau, and increase run efficiency. If you're using less energy on each step, it will lead to you running faster, and for longer.

Foot Strike:

There are 3 main categories of how your foot lands:

1. Heel Strike: This is how most of us hit the ground. We're only able to do this because of the softness of the footwear we have underneath us, so a heavy heelstrike is biologically unfamiliar for our body to cope with over 1000's and 1000's of reps. Landing heavily on your heel out in front of your body initiates a 'braking force' that your body needs to overcome, making your stride less efficient and putting more shock through the knees, hips and back, increasing the chance of injury.

2. Midfoot Strike: If you're a heavy heelstriker, you might want to consider migrating toward this. landing midfoot encourages the foot to land under the body, and letting your legs move efficiently underneath your body without that braking force.

3. Forefoot Strike: A lot of elite marathon runners land like this, and it's not for everyone. If you're not used to it, it can put immense load on the calves, and moving quickly from a heel strike to a toe strike can lead to soreness for days after a run. It does provide an extra hinge for shock absorption at the ankle, so can be a very efficient way to run if practiced over time.

So how do i implement this?

The best way is to incorporate short intervals during your run. The reality is, your body wont want to switch quickly to a different gait, as its been conditioned over a long time to run or walk a certain way. Also, your mind will drift and you'll revert back to the way you've always done it.

For example: on a 30 minute run, see if you can focus on a midfoot strike for 20, 30 ,40 steps, or between telegraph poles, or use the distance on your smart watch for 100 meters. If you do this 5 times on a run, you can increase the distance and frequency over time.

It won't feel natural, so listen to your body. Play around with the intervals too slow down a little bit, speed up, try shorter steps. But most importantly, if changing is important and could lead to better outcomes, be patient!

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