What is the Best Long Distance Running Form?
Turns out that the proper long distance running form involves a forefoot strike landing pattern. How do I know this?
I am a huge fan of the great Ethiopian long distance runner, Tirunesh Dibaba.
Tirunesh Dibaba is one of the most decorated runners in the world and she also inspired me to learn more about forefoot running, why? Because she is a forefoot runner who learned forefoot running by running barefoot.
By comparison, the problem with heel strike running is that it leads to injury and poor performance, hence why the top distance runners don’t heel strike; they land on the balls of their feet similar to how barefoot runners land.
On that back drop, I believe that the crucial component of good performance in running is the forefoot strike which is powerfully influenced by footwear.
From Heel Strike to Forefoot Strike
I understood that barefoot running improves biomechanics and prevents injury, as per the scientific literature, but I needed ‘real-world’ effects to really convince me; this led me to Tirunesh Dibaba:
- I believe that Tirunesh Dibaba’s barefoot running experience evinced a beneficial lift in her performance as an adult runner.
- Early exposure to barefoot running fosters rich neural connections and pathways that regulate optimal biomechanics, such as a proper forefoot strike landing pattern, suggesting that the desire to land on the forefoot when running barefoot is innate or inborn.
- Forefoot striking while running barefoot is extremely important in minimizing impact: Click here to find out how and why a forefoot strike makes this possible.
Barefoot running is not as bad as we think: it produced the best distance runners in the world.
The Objective of Run Forefoot
After paying close attention to Tirunesh Dibaba’s running form coupled with researching reports on forefoot vs heel strike running, I switched from heel strike to forefoot running, and I now run pain and injury free, finally!
Based on my experience with transitioning, my idea was to create Run Forefoot to help other’s learn the health and performance benefits of forefoot running by providing forefoot running tips and minimalist shoe reviews –note: I am not a full-time barefoot runner. I used barefoot running to help me refine my forefoot running technique. I do barefoot training so I can sustain the proper forefoot strike in minimalist shoes. Click here to read my best choices of barefoot-like running shoes for forefoot running.
More crucially, I also outline the health harming effects of heel strike running to change people’s attitudes towards running –running is not hard on the body, if you run forefoot, not rearfoot.
Who Said Heel Striking Was Safe?
As it stands, I believe runners have been horribly misinformed: “Heel strike running is the proper way to run” –based on what? Let me tell you what the reality is.
Because injury rate remains high in joggers who heel strike, suggests that heel strike running is not the correct running form humans evolved for.
- To date, no evidence, not a single study suggests heel strike running prevents injury –this is why barefoot running (aka forefoot running) is beginning to receive lots of scientific attention.
The long-standing theory suggests forefoot running is an evolutionary leftover from our barefoot running ancestors because it delivers greater impact protection as compared with barefoot-heel strike running.
Need more convincing? Click here to learn the prior work showing the injuries directly caused by heel strike running.
Nevertheless, in the absence of information about biomechanics, runners have no clue about the right and wrong way to run. This is why Im here!
You May Like:
Harrison, PC and Davis, IS. Gait retraining to reduce lower extremity loading in runners. Clin Biomech (2010); 26: 74-83.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.