Midfoot vs Heel vs Speed

edited October 2012 in Running Science

I have been attempting to run more efficiently with a focus on midfoot landing. I have been able to run many miles in a less traditional shoe. There are many times while running that I can sustain a midfoot strike for 5-7 miles, but once I become tired the heel strike happens. Now granted the heel striking is very slight because I am able to maintain my cadence and still feel very 'soft ' on my feet. But I know that the strike is different. This feeling is very noticeable in a zero drop shoe, less noticeable in a 4-6mm drop shoe. (Don't laugh I have more than my fair share of shoes)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

But my dilemma is this: My mile times can and usually do improve with this less than perfect form. I'm not reaching out with my heel to gain distance; I'm simply running more relaxed. I have even recorded myself running to look at the difference. To my untrained eye, the only difference is my foot position at impact to the ground.

Has this journey into trying to land on my midfoot been in jest? Any other readers experiencing the same?



  • edited October 2012
    I made the change to minimalist shoes and a midfoot strike a little over three years ago. My stride change happened unconsciously. At first I was definitely slower. It felt unnatural, like I was taking little baby steps to avoid hurting my feet. Like walking on eggshells... or on hot coals. Over the course of a few weeks the "unnatural" feeling disappeared but it took several months to regain the speed. I was noticeably slower especially running downhill on trails. In traditional trainers I always associated speed with lengthening my stride but now my first instinct is to pick up cadence when I want to surge. Give it some time. I also noticed that the tendency for my form to fall apart when tired disappeared quickly as well. I'm now faster, running higher mileage and injury free. 

  • Thanks you for the response, Meister.

    I keep hearing stories of huge accomplishments with midfoot landing and going minimalists. The fact that you took several months to regain your speed shows me a glimmer of hope.

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