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Article written byAnn Edwards

How Heel Striking Affects Your Running?

Running is technically the first thing that we learn as we start to grow up and yet according to Harvard health most people do not learn to walk while maintaining a healthy posture throughout their life. This is mainly because we take running and walking for granted. Most people have knee-knocking, others have flat feet whereas others bounce on their heels. Apart from this, the quality of hoes, any injury, and various postures changes and clothing items also impact the overall method of walking. Although, as we grow up our gate changes a little bit however, most people when adjusting their gate never really think about the technicality. Although an aesthetically pleasing walk is very important your body needs to adjust according to the need of your walking form as well.

What Are Some Of The Forms That People Use While Running?

Technically when you are running, you use your muscle memory and just amplify the speed. So, next time you run pay close attention to the way you lift your feet and the way you land them. Most people are heel strikers. This means that when you pick up your feet you basically pick it up fully and then when you land, your heel strikes the ground first. On the contrary, some people are toe strikers or front footers who touch their toe on the ground first. Most people never land on the full foot or use their heel when they run. Their landing is on the toes and it stays on the digits throughout. This might offer you more control and better speed but constantly hitting the ground on your toes mean you are more likely to get injured. Apart from these two options, there are mid-foot strikers as well. As a mid-foot striker, you will land on the palm of your heel and this will evenly distribute the weight of your body. However, just like the other two options, might end up with some injuries involving the ankle, foot, and sometimes Achilles pain.

What Landing Posture Is Better And How Can You Avoid Heel Striking?

Most people think that being a heel striker they have some disadvantage or they have been losing the race. There is no doubt that you might have an impact on your run but being a heel striker doesn’t affect your speed. Your speed is independent of the overall running pattern that you follow. If you think adjusting your running or striking method will magically make your winning rate better, you might be surprised. According to recent research by Harvard health, most people are heel strikers but it doesn’t offer them any advantage or disadvantage. If you still think that you need to adjust your landing form then you can do so. However, you need to stay mindful of the fact that this will not impact your run rate. In case you have some kind of injury that you want to avoid. Then you can change your landing form. Your goal should be to land on midfoot so your body can evenly distribute the weight and it reduces the chance of injury.

Can You Change Your Heel Striking Habit And How?

Although no research states that it is dangerous for you or can slow you down if you are running, it can surely make the whole process painful for you. In case you have an injury and you want to change the way you lift and land your feet your goal should be to attain stability. The best posture is to rely on the mid-foot landing. This also means that you will mainly focus on the way you run but since it is a gradual process there is no way you can master it within a few days. For the first few days, your focus will be on the technique only. However as you become better, you will see improvement in your landing then you can work on the speed. Here are some simple steps that will help you with better running.

For the first few days practice by shifting your landing for just a few minutes. This will help you know if it can become painful for you.

Then shift your landing but prolong the process for at least a few hours. You can take your time as this can take a few hours as well.

Record yourself as you do this. This will help you know if you are following the way you have practiced or you are gradually falling into old habits. Most people start with the landing but as they practice they usually think they have made progress but they are doing the same.

Now take this video and see if you have made some progress. You can also take some professional advice from an expert.

Make sure you practice it regularly so you do not end up forgetting it.

Bottom Line

To sum it all up, there is no link to the way you lift and land your feet on the ground. There are so many other things that will directly impact your speed. Most professional runners do not follow the front foot or heel striking method. They look at the natural posture and see how they land on the surface without an effort. Although most people like to set a pace and enjoy the way they run, professionally people are appreciated if they run while landing on their midfoot. Standing on the midfoot means you will be evenly distributing your body weight on your foot and your body will face no serious impact. There is the majority of researchers who still believe that landing on the heel will injure you which will only make things worse for your knee and foot. You also need to know how you will be striking the position for the change. When you think that it is the right time to change your running form. Do it gradually. When your body has no muscle memory it learns the new technique as a skill. So you don’t want to strain your feet too much. Let it gradually distribute the whole weight without thinking about landing on the toes and the heel. You can also consult a podiatrist to have good physical therapy that will help you fix your landing and lifting posture.

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