No Cerveza... No Trabajo
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Where's my beer?
When I ran this morning (an easy 8 miler), I paid attention to my foot strike.
In fact, my foot strike is actually ball-heel-ball-toe, not heel-ball-toe. I strike first with the ball of my foot, allow my body forward motion, flatten to the heel, roll back to the ball (body now past 1/2 of the foot), finally pushing off on the toes.
I tried to hit with the heel first and was impossible to get any speed.
Amazing what you find when you actually think about what you are doing. So, I researched it a little farther and here is what I found from a book, "Run Fast" by Hal Hidgon (a stud running coach, in my opinion)
1. Running form is completely an individual issue. Each athlete differs in to a minute extent in height, weight, bone structure, length and size of muscle, etc., etc. Therefore no two runners should ever use identical form.
2. It is a form error of the highest magnitude to run without permitting your heel to touch the ground with each stride, without reservation, in a ball-heel grounding action. This is true at all running speeds, especially sprinting. (not sure on this one)
3. It is physically possible to land heel first in running, but quite incorrect. Can only be done at low speeds and and jars the body excessively. Landing heel first and "toe running" are both incorrect.
4. Ideally, the foot position in running is one in which the inner borders fall approx. along a straight line. Athletes should run in a straight line, but not necessarily on the line.
5. Runners in distances greater than a sprint should use a natural stride: not exaggerated, not long, not short, but a stride keeping with the maximum economy of effort.
6. Understriding/overstriding is always a mistake, each runner has an optimal stride length based on their own bodies.
7. At uniform top speed with zero acceleration, if the athlete was running in a vacum with no wind resistance, there will be no body lean at all.
8. Hands should be carried relaxed, cupped at all running speeds. Clenching fists causes tension, which produces unnecessary fatigue.
9. Head should be aligned naturally with the trunk, looking a few meters ahead while running.
10. Usually the best solution to form problems is many reps of running short distances, 100 meters, at fast, though not exhausting pace.
Another blurb from Applied Kinesiology:
"At a slow running speed, complete foot contact is used. The foot-surface contact with each stride goes from the ball of the foot to the heel and back to the ball (restful to calf muscles). As running rate increases, the amount of foot contact becomes less, until finally at full speed only the forward part of the foot contacts the surface. The sprinter "runs on the toes." (Oz's view: Actually it is the front of the ball of the foot just behind the toes)"