Running Form: Is It OK To Be a Heel Striker?

If you typically run on your heels, there are ways to make changes that’ll improve your running form—starting with becoming a midfoot striker.

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I’m a heel striker, but on runs I’ve been trying to change to more of a midfoot strike. Should I be doing that, and if so, what’s the best way to do it?

When you heel strike, the weight of your body compounds with the impact from gravity and the ground, concentrating an enormous amount of force in your lower legs. Over time, this puts you at a higher risk for injury. Trying to change to midfoot striking is something that should be done gradually as to not alter your running form too quickly, which also puts you at risk for injury. The best way to make a smooth transition is to start by focusing on midfoot striking for portions of your run. If you go on a 3-mile run, focus on staying on your midfoot every half mile. Over time you will find that your body has picked up on the new habit and you are hardly ever heel striking. Every now and then, do some barefoot running on a grassy field or a sandy beach. Without shoes on, you will have a better feel as to how your foot is landing so that you can practice really landing on your midfoot. Plus it’s a good excuse to play in the grass or sand!

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