In forefoot running, the only time braking is acceptable is when you run around a sharp turn. Jindrich et al., (2006) revealed that runners brake around a sharp turn to prevent over-rotations of the body.
The researchers measured body rotation, center of mass deflection and constrains leg force production when subjects ran around 3 types of cutting turns.
The researchers found that without braking, the body would rotate 140%-300% more than if braking was present during running turns.
- The researchers speculated that this body over-rotation misaligns body orientation and movement direction.
Another concern is that impact forces are greater when braking during running turns because of the posterior movement of the center of mass. Additionally, the leg is swung across the body (crossover running) during running turns, which increases inertia on the leg, thereby increasing impact forces (Jindirch et al. 2006).
Evidently, running turns seem hard on the body, however braking is necessary when running turns are greater than 90°, anything less (i.e. the turns on a track), braking is not necessary (Walter, 2003).
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Jindrich DL., Besier TF and Lloyd DG. A hypothesis for the function of braking force during running turns. J Biomech, 2006, 39:1611-1620.
Walter, R.M., 2003. Kinematics of 90 degree running turns in wild mice. Journal of experimental Biology 206, 1739–1749.
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.