Improper running technique and injury derives from high-tech running shoes with thickly cushioned heels, causing runners to strike the ground on the heel with more force compared to habitual barefoot runners:
Hello, I’m Bretta Riches, founder of Run Forefoot. I research biomechanics, specifically foot strike mechanics of forefoot running. I am an avid minimalist, forefoot runner who was once a heel striker. I launched Run Forefoot to help others understand and learn forefoot running.
The effortless forefoot strike running style of Ethiopian elite distance runners, Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele fuels my interest in foot strike mechanics. Unlike most joggers, Dibaba and Bekele are forefoot strikers and ran barefoot in their earlier years, which most likely accounts for their forefoot strike running style.
With regards to foot strike, I have been on both sides of the fence. When I began running, I was a heel striker, always sore, battling injuries to the point where I had difficulty walking.
After intensive research on biomechanics, I found that the scientific literature painted a grim picture of heel striking running, implicating that this style of running is the underlying cause of most running-related injuries.
Statistically speaking, running injuries in habitually forefoot strike running populations were either very low, or rare, demonstrating that a forefoot strike provides better impact protection than a heel strike when running.
Lastly, I became inspired by Dibaba’s forefoot running style which motivated me to learn forefoot running.
Although my transition to forefoot running certainly did not happen over night, as a forefoot striker, my landings are softer, regardless of surface hardness, running feels easier, more natural, I flow.
Though I am far from elite status, having adopted a forefoot strike allows me to run consistently with great results, without discomfort and injury.
I want to share my past transition process with you and provide key information from the scientific literature that helped me along the way. And, I want aspiring forefoot runners to learn from my mistakes by avoiding the ‘too much, too soon’ pitfall.
Nevertheless, my goal is to advocate the importance of running with a forefoot strike and raise awareness on the potential health harming effects of heel strike running.
Finally, by showing that forefoot running is safe and easy to learn, I hope to inspire more people to run and banish the false perception that running is ‘dangerous’. Less pain, more gain with forefoot running.
Do whatever works for you. In my opinion, I believe the human form was designed to run with a forefoot strike, not a heel strike. Again, that is just my opinion which is certainly biased based on my bad experience with heel striking.
Many runners believe runners aren’t built for ‘this and that’ and that is fine, to each their own. However, I also believe that if you are a heel striker, or a midfoot striker who has never been injured, keep doing what you are doing. But, for those who are chronically injured, adopting a forefoot strike might be a sensible alternative to consider.
What are your thoughts on this post? Were you impacted? Looking forward to hearing from you!
More From Run Forefoot:
Harrison, PC and Davis, IS. Gait retraining to reduce lower extremity loading in runners. Clin Biomech (2010); 26: 74-83.
Copyright © 2014 | By Bretta Riches Run Forefoot