Toe-first vs Heel-first running...
Several months ago a buddy of mine who is a serious runner mentioned that landing on your toes when jogging or running helps increase running performance. He mentioned something about more cushion per step, using more muscles in each stride, and no wasted body up motions to straiten up.
I shrugged it off as nonsense as I couldn’t see running where I did not hit my heels first.
Well…After the Olympics where I noticed the runners/sprinters never touching there heels to the ground…I shut my pride off for a while and tried it a few months ago. Forcing myself to hit the balls of my feet first felt very awkward, but after a while I noticed longer distances getting much easier and my joints no longer hurt after a run.
Has anyone else experienced this or was my natural heel first approach out of the norm for runners/joggers?
I run on my toes sometimes to strengthen my feet for martial arts, it feels weird at first, but I got used to it.
Wouldn't that be bad for your knees?
i don't remmeber, but my mom who's a senior citizen was told to walk heel first since she had intense pain (i think that's what the therapist said).....she felt better within days!
It is better for your knees than heel first. When you land on the ball of your feet, you are using you claves as an additional shock absorbers. It may sound weird, but my joints (hips, knees, and just about everything else) used to ache after and durring a long jog. They don't effect me at all now.
I am not a professional runner so I couldn't tell you how this method would work for senior citizens.
I just know it worked for me...
first two weeks it felt weird
After the first month I was noticing I was running further and easier
After the second month it felt natural and heel first running just felt jarring.
I don't run great distances on my toes, its just a strengthening exercise to strenghten the balls of my feet for front thrust kicks and roundhouse kicks where the toes are pointed up and contact is made with the balls of my feet. Most of my running is heel-toe. I think where a lot of people get into trouble running is they run flat footed when they think their running heel-toe.
when sprinting, i always noticed myself running on my toes leaning forward. and of course i was faster than most everybody else, untill i stopped running and picked up more than terrible habits....sigh
All world class sprinters are toe first runners. This stride is more efficient and faster than heal first for sprinting.
Last edited by RoRoCo; Mar. 23/05 at 11:54 AM.
I got this from the following article...
I still don't know about a 3 mile jog though. I am going to stick with toe running for the time being. I need to work on my calves more (need to increase my vertical.
When you foot strikes the ground it will land either; toes first, ball of the foot first, or heel first. So which landing is best? Most runners have a foot plant that comes natural. The most natural and efficient style is ball of the foot first. The heel of the foot contacts the ground a split second later. Landing heel first causes more impact and can be the cause of some injuries. A heel first foot plant also means you are overstriding. Your foot should be touching down almost directly under your center of gravity which is under your hip. If you are reaching out in front of your body, you will land heel first and will be putting on the brakes with each step. If you naturally land heel first, it may not be a good idea to try to change your foot plant. Trying to change the mechanics of the foot can be the cause of injury. Landing toes first is not an efficient style for distance running. Toe first landings result in a lot of up and down motion and puts a lot of stress on the calf muscles. Toe running is more appropriate for sprinting than for distance running.
I used to only jog toe first. While training for my Mardi Gras marathon I tore the sheath of my achilles tendon (achilles tendonosis) during a 14 mile run. It turns out that it was completely due to the fact that I was running on my toes.
It was extremely painful and took a bit of doing to heal. Now when I run (because I run such long distances) I mostly land on my heels first. I found that the associated knee and hip pain from heel first running went away pretty quickly as I advanced and became stronger. I am sure that proper break-in and strengthening of the achilles would have aliviated this issue.
I only tell you guys this so that you can learn from my mistakes. If you plan on going long distances with this form, please make sure you strengthen your achilles slowly. Remember that muscles strengthen considerably faster than tendons.
All of that said, my tendon is completely healed now and I ocassionally switch up to running on my toes. I will prolly never do longer than 8 miles on only toes though. That pain was enough to remind me to NEVER do that again.
My coaches always got onto me in school cause when I ran I would tend to run flat footed...akward I know. I find it easier for me to run on my toes than heel first. and it strengthens your shins instead of your calves...I'm trying to find a way to reduce my calves....anyone have some suggestions?
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