If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times. “You shouldn’t land on your heel when running.” How should you land when running? Well, of course, not on your heel, but making the transition might be harder than you think.
You’ve taken millions upon millions of steps one way. It’s a habitually hardwired activity. We’ve all had runs where we shut our brain off, literally running on autopilot. Rewiring circuits and altering your autopilot takes persistent effort.
Thinking to yourself, “well if I’m not supposed to hit my heel, I’ll just land on my forefoot” is a dangerous thought–shelf it. Too often runners over compensate, landing too far forward on their foot. Not only will an exaggerated forefoot strike place potentially damaging stress to the Achilles, it can also hamper any gains in efficiency.
Where most runners go wrong
From experience, I can tell you that most of you run too tall. Remember this: a bent joint (knee, hip, elbow, whatever) is one that can generate force. A tall runner generally straightens their joints, significantly dampening their ability to generate force. Keep your joints bent and relaxed.
Focus on running relaxed. The new form shouldn’t feel forced. Most runners become rigid in their lower and upper body, limiting the ‘natural’ feel it offers. Plan on transitioning over a few weeks, adding a few minutes per mile to the new way. Landing with a perfect mid foot strike introduce new stresses to your body. Too fast of a transition can cause soreness or injury.