Nearly 75% of runners land on their heels. Joggers, runners, even walkers should not to land on their heels with great impact. To prevent shin splints, ankle, knee, hip and back pain, all field athletes should try to land on the midfoot and avoid heel striking, especially in football, baseball and softball. In more enduring athletic efforts like soccer, rugby and distance running, landing on the flat foot, minimizing the intensity of heel contact protects the leg from destructive and compressive joint impact. Players are victims of over striding. The angle of heel strike may be the physics problem we must solve.
Recent discussion suggests the need for firmer soles, based on the premise that running shoes offer too much cushion. Changing your running style to foot flat or forward on the foot may take concentration, but improves the whole leg’s ability to absorb shock. If you exercise on a treadmill, elevate the incline 5% to easily learn this technique, and perhaps instantly reduce your pain.
When you land on your heels, you are decelerating, or braking. Stay off your heels, and avoid slapping your feet. To run faster, lean forward, leading with your chin, holding your spine straight with core muscles. This puts the center of gravity in front of the planted, or stance leg. The more you lean, the faster you MUST move.
Learning to run is well managed by speed coaches who help teach athletes to recognize inefficient running in others and to take responsibility for their own peculiarities. Some people say you canâ€™t coach speed, but athletes with talent and horrible techniques are prime arguments to the contrary. Becoming stronger while the season progresses (with speed training and progressive weight training) are the key elements of our most famous success stories.