Running: front-foot vs. back-foot (opinion poll)

Discussion in 'Triathlon' started by Manfred Dötsch, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. Hi, after having done my first IM in August I am currently training for next year's season where I
    would like to do two or three IM's. I wonder wheather it would be advantageous to change my
    running style.

    Back-Food First: If you wear running shoes, you intuitively run in such a way that the back part of
    your foot (the heel) touches the ground first, before the front-foot follows.

    Front-Foot First: However, if you run without shoes, you intuitively avoid the hard impact by
    touching the ground with your front-foot first, followed by the heel.

    Observations: After starting to run "front-food-first" for only half an hour, I had extremely sore
    muscles in my calfs and it took me some weeks to get my calfs accustomed to "front-foot-frst".

    When switching back to "back-foot-first" after running "front-foot-first" for, say, one hour, you
    suddenly notice the comparatively hard impacts on your body.

    My conclusion on this: From the evolutionary point of view, humans are designed to run
    "front-food-first". The "back-food-first" is only made possible by modern running shoes.

    The sore muscles in my calfs indicated that I didn't use this muscle. Since it's not effective to
    carry around "useless weight" I might just as well put this muscle to work, too.

    Running in such a way evolution designed us, putting to work all the muscles we have (including the
    calf) and avoiding hard impacts suggests to me a more effective way of running using the
    "front-foot-first" style. Theoretically. But, more important, what is your experience ?

    It would be great if you could post your preferred running style and if possible any experiences
    while switching from one style to the other.

    Thank you, Manfred (Germany)
     
    Tags:


  2. Astaebell

    Astaebell Guest

    Interesting post on running, Manfred, and something I am currently struggling with. After reading
    the Tri-Bible, I decided that my usual heel-first style was slower and less efficient that running
    forefoot- or midfoot-first. So at my gym, I decided to try striking midfoot-first (forefoot-first is
    only for sprinting for me). It was an awkward method, but I noticed a greater "cadence" or foot
    turnover, which made me feel like I was going faster, and I was. I felt more efficient and I felt I
    got as good a cardiac workout.

    The problem is, as you noted, the use of different muscles with this method (or the same running
    muscles in a different way). I was sore for several days, but I have committed myself this
    off-season to working on becoming a more efficient runner, and for me that means becoming a
    midfoot-striker rather than a heel-striker.

    So the short answer after the long answer to your question is that I am a heel-striker aspiring to
    be a midfoot-striker, just as I aspire to a half IM next year. (I think these aspirations are more
    attainable than my Cervelo aspiration, but I digress).
    --
    Aaron M. Staebell [email protected] 4700 Mexico Road St. Peters, Missouri 63376
    (636) 498-4000 voice
    (637) 498-8880 fax

    This communication is for use by the intended recipient and contains information that may be
    privileged, confidential or copyrighted under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient,
    you are hereby formally notified that any use, copying or distribution of this e-mail, in whole or
    in part, is strictly prohibited. Please notify the sender by return e-mail and delete this e-mail
    from your system. Unless explicitly and conspicuously designated as " E-Contract Intended", this
    e-mail does not constitute a contract offer, a contract amendment, or an acceptance of a contract
    offer. This e-mail does not constitute a consent to the use of sender's contact information for
    direct marketing purposes or for transfers of data to third parties.
     
  3. MJuric

    MJuric Guest

    On Wed, 1 Oct 2003 15:54:41 +0200, "Manfred Dötsch" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Hi, after having done my first IM in August I am currently training for next year's season where I
    >would like to do two or three IM's. I wonder wheather it would be advantageous to change my
    >running style.
    >
    >Back-Food First: If you wear running shoes, you intuitively run in such a way that the back part of
    >your foot (the heel) touches the ground first, before the front-foot follows.

    Although this is partially true it is not entirely true. Myself, and many people I know land
    mid or forefoot while running in running shoes. Some people gravitate to fore foot naturally
    while others gravitate more towards the heel strike. Part of the problem and reason people
    tend to heel strike is in the construction of current running shoes. Since many people are
    heel strikers the shoe manufactures decided to build up the heel area for more cushion.
    Unfortunately this not only promotes heel striking but makes a mid foot and fore foot strike
    more difficult.

    >
    >Front-Foot First: However, if you run without shoes, you intuitively avoid the hard impact by
    >touching the ground with your front-foot first, followed by the heel.

    Yes. This would also indicatate that the proper, less shocking method of "with shoe" running
    would be for or mid/fore foot strike.

    >
    >Observations: After starting to run "front-food-first" for only half an hour, I had extremely sore
    >muscles in my calfs and it took me some weeks to get my calfs accustomed to "front-foot-frst".

    This is not unusual. Figure that if you are a heel striker you may not be using your calves
    nearly as much as what a fore foot striker is. They will need to build up just like
    everything else.

    >
    >When switching back to "back-foot-first" after running "front-foot-first" for, say, one hour, you
    >suddenly notice the comparatively hard impacts on your body.
    >
    >My conclusion on this: From the evolutionary point of view, humans are designed to run
    >"front-food-first". The "back-food-first" is only made possible by modern running shoes.
    >
    >The sore muscles in my calfs indicated that I didn't use this muscle. Since it's not effective to
    >carry around "useless weight" I might just as well put this muscle to work, too.
    >
    >Running in such a way evolution designed us, putting to work all the muscles we have (including the
    >calf) and avoiding hard impacts suggests to me a more effective way of running using the
    >"front-foot-first" style. Theoretically. But, more important, what is your experience ?
    >
    >It would be great if you could post your preferred running style and if possible any experiences
    >while switching from one style to the other.
    >
    >Thank you, Manfred (Germany)
    >

    Here is my overall experinace. Nearly all of the good runners around here from 5K'rs to
    marathoners are fore-foot to mid-foot strikers. Few if any are heel strikers. My defination
    of good ranges from consistant age group and overall winners, state level competitors and
    olympic contenders. When I decided to pay more attention to how I was striking the ground I
    lost many aches and pains both in the knees and feet. Rather than concentrating on how I was
    striking the ground I concentrated on a higher turnover rate. By simply raising and holding
    my turnover rate to 180+ at all speeds I nearly naturally ended up as a mid to fore front
    striker. Raising turnover rate shortens ones stride. Shortening the stride causes the foot
    to land closer to midline of body and thus makes it more likely to land fore foot. Picture
    marching in place were a heel strike becomes awkward and difficult. I've found for me trying
    to run entirely on the fore front "prancing" is not the best either. What has worked the
    best for me is a fore foot strike, rolling back to a full foot plant. This seems to put less
    stress into the calf area by supporting some of the impact and weight with the mid foot.
    Maybe as I continue I will become more of a fore foot planter as my calves strengthen
    however I'm not really working on it.

    ~Matt
     
  4. I'm a mid-to-front foot striker.....I converted from heel strike this spring. Yes, calf muscles
    were sore to start with, but the aches and pains generally were less. I now find heel strike
    feels strange.

    Front/mid strike is (for me) definitely good in a triathlon. I was shown it like this....
    - shoes off, stand on one leg with other leg bent, foot at calf height
    - lean slightly forward
    - you will find you automatically put your foot down....try not to straighten your body position
    - pick the other foot up .....if you are still leaning, the foot will again automatically
    come forward
    - that was 2 steps front-foot strike!
    - because you are using gravity to assist the leg motion, if you can keep this body position when
    you run, all you have to think about is picking the legs up, not stretching them out to make the
    stride. (Not sure if this makes sense - try it and you might understand)

    Try it out on soft surface with no shoes and with your eyes shut (makes you more likely to trust
    what your body will do, rather than thinking "must put heel down").

    Of course what suits me may be a nightmare for you !

    Cheers/Gruesse, Hedgehog "Manfred Dötsch" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi, after having done my first IM in August I am currently training for next year's season where I
    > would like to do two or three IM's. I wonder
    wheather
    > it would be advantageous to change my running style.
    >
    > Back-Food First: If you wear running shoes, you intuitively run in such a way that the back part
    > of your foot (the heel) touches the ground first, before the
    front-foot
    > follows.
    >
    > Front-Foot First: However, if you run without shoes, you intuitively avoid the hard impact
    by
    > touching the ground with your front-foot first, followed by the heel.
    >
    > Observations: After starting to run "front-food-first" for only half an hour, I had extremely sore
    > muscles in my calfs and it took me some weeks to get my
    calfs
    > accustomed to "front-foot-frst".
    >
    > When switching back to "back-foot-first" after running "front-foot-first" for, say, one hour, you
    > suddenly notice the comparatively hard impacts on your body.
    >
    > My conclusion on this: From the evolutionary point of view, humans are designed to run
    > "front-food-first". The "back-food-first" is only made possible by modern running shoes.
    >
    > The sore muscles in my calfs indicated that I didn't use this muscle.
    Since
    > it's not effective to carry around "useless weight" I might just as well
    put
    > this muscle to work, too.
    >
    > Running in such a way evolution designed us, putting to work all the
    muscles
    > we have (including the calf) and avoiding hard impacts suggests to me a
    more
    > effective way of running using the "front-foot-first" style.
    Theoretically.
    > But, more important, what is your experience ?
    >
    > It would be great if you could post your preferred running style and if possible any experiences
    > while switching from one style to the other.
    >
    > Thank you, Manfred (Germany)
     
  5. Swamprun

    Swamprun Guest

    Manfred, you may find this page interesting reading. Good luck !

    http://www.mindfulness.com/mrb4.asp

    On Wed, 01 Oct 2003 15:54:41 +0200, Manfred Dötsch wrote:

    > Hi, after having done my first IM in August I am currently training for next year's season where I
    > would like to do two or three IM's. I wonder wheather it would be advantageous to change my
    > running style.
    >
    > Back-Food First: If you wear running shoes, you intuitively run in such a way that the back part
    > of your foot (the heel) touches the ground first, before the front-foot follows.
    >
    > Front-Foot First: However, if you run without shoes, you intuitively avoid the hard impact by
    > touching the ground with your front-foot first, followed by the heel.
    >
    > Observations: After starting to run "front-food-first" for only half an hour, I had extremely sore
    > muscles in my calfs and it took me some weeks to get my calfs accustomed to "front-foot-frst".
    >
    > When switching back to "back-foot-first" after running "front-foot-first" for, say, one hour, you
    > suddenly notice the comparatively hard impacts on your body.
    >
    > My conclusion on this: From the evolutionary point of view, humans are designed to run
    > "front-food-first". The "back-food-first" is only made possible by modern running shoes.
    >
    > The sore muscles in my calfs indicated that I didn't use this muscle. Since it's not effective to
    > carry around "useless weight" I might just as well put this muscle to work, too.
    >
    > Running in such a way evolution designed us, putting to work all the muscles we have (including
    > the calf) and avoiding hard impacts suggests to me a more effective way of running using the
    > "front-foot-first" style. Theoretically. But, more important, what is your experience ?
    >
    > It would be great if you could post your preferred running style and if possible any experiences
    > while switching from one style to the other.
    >
    > Thank you, Manfred (Germany)
     
  6. Manfred Dötsch wrote:

    > My conclusion on this: From the evolutionary point of view, humans are designed to run
    > "front-food-first". The "back-food-first" is only made possible by modern running shoes.
    >
    > The sore muscles in my calfs indicated that I didn't use this muscle. Since it's not effective to
    > carry around "useless weight" I might just as well put this muscle to work, too.
    >
    > Running in such a way evolution designed us, putting to work all the muscles we have (including
    > the calf) and avoiding hard impacts suggests to me a more effective way of running using the
    > "front-foot-first" style. Theoretically. But, more important, what is your experience ?
    >
    > It would be great if you could post your preferred running style and if possible any experiences
    > while switching from one style to the other.
    >
    > Thank you, Manfred (Germany)

    An interesting idea and perhaps the answer to a puzzling observation of mine. For years I've notice
    that my body likes to run mid 6 to low 7 minute pace. At high 7s to 8 minute pace everything starts
    hurting. The problem of course is that unless I'm in top shape and the weather is a bit cool I can't
    hold sub 7 minute pace for my long runs. During the summer and during injury recovery periods I have
    to back it down to get any decent mileage in. I've always suspected it was something in my running
    form that changed at the quicker pace and I'll have to pay close attention to see if this is it. I
    know I've always been a "toe runner" at faster paces and have been primarily a short distance runner
    for the last 15+ years. My current foray into distance running is following the same pattern. A
    quick 10 miler last sunday at 6:55 pace was hard but didn't bother any of the dozens of running
    injuries I live with. Kicking the mileage up to 15 and backing the pace to high 7's takes constant
    attention and adjustments to running form to be able to survive it without everything hurting me to
    point I can barely walk when I'm finish. I find it strange that in 15 years I can't remember running
    across a major article on the subject. (I'm sure this will generate 50 links in a reply). I've
    certainly seen hundreds of references to heel striking, toe running, mid foot landings, etc, but
    nothing that ever hit my radar screen as something I needed to seriously investigate.

    JJ
     
  7. Hi Aaron ! after the first heavy soreness for several days it got better pretty soon, so stay with
    it - at least for a while. It's worth it: Yesterday I was running for 2 hours. After running
    "front-foot-first" for half an hour it suddenly felt really, really good. You could literally feel
    that the energie from hitting the ground was stored somewhere in the foot/leg and released as the
    foot left the ground. It felt like an really gentle and elegant way of running for the next 15
    minutes - before some muscle got tired and the feeling went away. I hope that feeling will stay with
    me longer as my calf is more and more trained ...

    After one hour I switched back to "back-foot-first" to prevent too much soreness in my calf, but I
    was o.k. next day.

    Manfred

    PS:Thinking about it: maybe it helps during an IM when you have the option to switch between one
    style and the other - using different sets of muscles ...

    "astaebell" <[email protected]> schrieb im Newsbeitrag news:[email protected]...
    > Interesting post on running, Manfred, and something I am currently struggling with. After reading
    > the Tri-Bible, I decided that my usual heel-first style was slower and less efficient that running
    > forefoot- or midfoot-first. So at my gym, I decided to try striking midfoot-first (forefoot-first
    > is only for sprinting for me). It was an awkward method, but I noticed a greater "cadence" or foot
    > turnover, which made me feel
    like
    > I was going faster, and I was. I felt more efficient and I felt I got as good a cardiac workout.
    >
    > The problem is, as you noted, the use of different muscles with this
    method
    > (or the same running muscles in a different way). I was sore for several days, but I have
    > committed myself this off-season to working on becoming a more efficient runner, and for me that
    > means becoming a midfoot-striker rather than a heel-striker.
    >
    > So the short answer after the long answer to your question is that I am a heel-striker aspiring to
    > be a midfoot-striker, just as I aspire to a half
    IM
    > next year. (I think these aspirations are more attainable than my Cervelo aspiration, but I
    > digress).
    > --
    > Aaron M. Staebell [email protected] 4700 Mexico Road St. Peters, Missouri 63376
    > (636) 498-4000 voice
    > (636) 498-8880 fax
    >
    > This communication is for use by the intended recipient and contains information that may be
    > privileged, confidential or copyrighted under applicable law. If you are not the intended
    > recipient, you are hereby formally notified that any use, copying or distribution of this e-mail,
    > in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited. Please notify the sender by
    return
    > e-mail and delete this e-mail from your system. Unless explicitly and conspicuously designated as
    > " E-Contract Intended", this e-mail does not constitute a contract offer, a contract amendment, or
    > an acceptance of a contract offer. This e-mail does not constitute a consent to the use of
    > sender's contact information for direct marketing purposes or for
    transfers
    > of data to third parties.
     
  8. > Rather than concentrating on how I was striking the ground I concentrated on a higher turnover
    > rate. By simply raising and holding my turnover rate to 180+ at all speeds I nearly naturally
    > ended up as a mid to fore front striker. Raising turnover rate shortens ones stride. Shortening
    > the stride causes the foot to land closer to midline of body and thus makes it more likely to land
    > fore foot. Picture marching in place were a heel strike becomes awkward and difficult.

    Hi Matt, interesting point (turnover rate). I am going to try it next time I run. Thanks for
    the hint !

    Manfred
     
  9. > Front/mid strike is (for me) definitely good in a triathlon. I was shown
    it
    > like this....
    > - shoes off, stand on one leg with other leg bent, foot at calf height
    > - lean slightly forward
    > - you will find you automatically put your foot down....try not to straighten your body position
    > - pick the other foot up .....if you are still leaning, the foot will
    again
    > automatically come forward
    > - that was 2 steps front-foot strike!
    > - because you are using gravity to assist the leg motion, if you can keep this body position when
    > you run, all you have to think about is picking
    the
    > legs up, not stretching them out to make the stride. (Not sure if this makes sense - try it and
    > you might understand)

    Hi Hedgehog ! well it didn't make sense reading it only, but standing up and trying to do it I found
    out what you meant. I find the "gravity assist the leg motion" part very interesting: doing the
    marathon after the 180km biking calls for a very economical way to run. I am just about to go to the
    gym. Maybe I can monitor a difference in the heart rate on the treadmill using both methodes ...

    Thanks for the information, Manfred
     
  10. Mark

    Mark Guest

    I just ran my first 30 minutes straight last night using the "toe method". A couple things I found:

    My nagging shin splints were not an issue whatsoever. I was able to run without an ounce of pain in
    them at all. My ITBS was also not an issue at all. I was also running faster, with a higher leg
    turnover rate at about 1bpm over what I would "normally" run at.

    Moreover, I feel great today aside from a little tightness in the calves. Although the below page is
    an interesting read, I noticed the "10 tips on running" came from a book that was copyrighted in
    1992. I would disagree quite strongly that there have been no improvements or research done in the
    past 11 years to contradict anything in that book. Not criticizing, just noting. :) For whatever
    that is worth.

    "swamprun" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    > Manfred, you may find this page interesting reading. Good luck !
    >
    > http://www.mindfulness.com/mrb4.asp
    >
    > On Wed, 01 Oct 2003 15:54:41 +0200, Manfred Dötsch wrote:
    >
    > > Hi, after having done my first IM in August I am currently training for next year's season where
    > > I would like to do two or three IM's. I wonder
    wheather
    > > it would be advantageous to change my running style.
    > >
    > > Back-Food First: If you wear running shoes, you intuitively run in such a way that the
    back
    > > part of your foot (the heel) touches the ground first, before the
    front-foot
    > > follows.
    > >
    > > Front-Foot First: However, if you run without shoes, you intuitively avoid the hard impact
    by
    > > touching the ground with your front-foot first, followed by the heel.
    > >
    > > Observations: After starting to run "front-food-first" for only half an hour, I had extremely
    > > sore muscles in my calfs and it took me some weeks to get my
    calfs
    > > accustomed to "front-foot-frst".
    > >
    > > When switching back to "back-foot-first" after running
    "front-foot-first"
    > > for, say, one hour, you suddenly notice the comparatively hard impacts
    on
    > > your body.
    > >
    > > My conclusion on this: From the evolutionary point of view, humans are designed to run
    > > "front-food-first". The "back-food-first" is only made possible by
    modern
    > > running shoes.
    > >
    > > The sore muscles in my calfs indicated that I didn't use this muscle.
    Since
    > > it's not effective to carry around "useless weight" I might just as well
    put
    > > this muscle to work, too.
    > >
    > > Running in such a way evolution designed us, putting to work all the
    muscles
    > > we have (including the calf) and avoiding hard impacts suggests to me a
    more
    > > effective way of running using the "front-foot-first" style.
    Theoretically.
    > > But, more important, what is your experience ?
    > >
    > > It would be great if you could post your preferred running style and if possible any experiences
    > > while switching from one style to the other.
    > >
    > > Thank you, Manfred (Germany)
     
  11. MJuric

    MJuric Guest

    On Thu, 02 Oct 2003 13:00:04 -0500, JJ Waguespack <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >
    >Manfred Dötsch wrote:
    >
    >
    >> My conclusion on this: From the evolutionary point of view, humans are designed to run
    >> "front-food-first". The "back-food-first" is only made possible by modern running shoes.
    >>
    >> The sore muscles in my calfs indicated that I didn't use this muscle. Since it's not effective to
    >> carry around "useless weight" I might just as well put this muscle to work, too.
    >>
    >> Running in such a way evolution designed us, putting to work all the muscles we have (including
    >> the calf) and avoiding hard impacts suggests to me a more effective way of running using the
    >> "front-foot-first" style. Theoretically. But, more important, what is your experience ?
    >>
    >> It would be great if you could post your preferred running style and if possible any experiences
    >> while switching from one style to the other.
    >>
    >> Thank you, Manfred (Germany)
    >
    >An interesting idea and perhaps the answer to a puzzling observation of mine. For years I've notice
    >that my body likes to run mid 6 to low 7 minute pace. At high 7s to 8 minute pace everything starts
    >hurting. The problem of course is that unless I'm in top shape and the weather is a bit cool I
    >can't hold sub 7 minute pace for my long runs. During the summer and during injury recovery periods
    >I have to back it down to get any decent mileage in. I've always suspected it was something in my
    >running form that changed at the quicker pace and I'll have to pay close attention to see if this
    >is it. I know I've always been a "toe runner" at faster paces and have been primarily a short
    >distance runner for the last 15+ years. My current foray into distance running is following the
    >same pattern. A quick 10 miler last sunday at 6:55 pace was hard but didn't bother any of the
    >dozens of running injuries I live with. Kicking the mileage up to 15 and backing the pace to high
    >7's takes constant attention and adjustments to running form to be able to survive it without
    >everything hurting me to point I can barely walk when I'm finish. I find it strange that in 15
    >years I can't remember running across a major article on the subject. (I'm sure this will generate
    >50 links in a reply). I've certainly seen hundreds of references to heel striking, toe running, mid
    >foot landings, etc, but nothing that ever hit my radar screen as something I needed to seriously
    >investigate.
    >
    >JJ
    >

    I've run into similar situation, but not at such high rates of speed. As I mentioned in an
    earlier post what worked for me was turnover rate. When a person runs slower they sometimes
    have a tendancy to keep the same stride length at a slower rate. This promotes heel strike.
    For me I can, within 1-2 miles, feel the aches coming on if I'm running slower than usual
    and not paying attention to turn over. Within minutes of upping the turn over rate the aches
    subside. At first this turnover rate was akward. Felt like I was taking baby steps. I think
    it may be recruiting slightly different muscle groups at lower rates but this is only a
    guess. It was also a wee bit tiring for a while so I had to work up to it, mile on mile off
    kinda stuff. However over a year or two the higher turn over seems natural.

    ~Matt
     
  12. MJuric

    MJuric Guest

    On Wed, 1 Oct 2003 19:26:31 +0200, "Manfred Dötsch" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> Front/mid strike is (for me) definitely good in a triathlon. I was shown
    >it
    >> like this....
    >> - shoes off, stand on one leg with other leg bent, foot at calf height
    >> - lean slightly forward
    >> - you will find you automatically put your foot down....try not to straighten your body position
    >> - pick the other foot up .....if you are still leaning, the foot will
    >again
    >> automatically come forward
    >> - that was 2 steps front-foot strike!
    >> - because you are using gravity to assist the leg motion, if you can keep this body position when
    >> you run, all you have to think about is picking
    >the
    >> legs up, not stretching them out to make the stride. (Not sure if this makes sense - try it and
    >> you might understand)
    >
    >Hi Hedgehog ! well it didn't make sense reading it only, but standing up and trying to do it I
    >found out what you meant. I find the "gravity assist the leg motion" part very interesting: doing
    >the marathon after the 180km biking calls for a very economical way to run. I am just about to go
    >to the gym. Maybe I can monitor a difference in the heart rate on the treadmill using both methodes

    Post what you come up with. It would be an interesting study (Yes I'm aware that one persons
    results is not a study but it be interesting anyway) to see if there is any actual "Economy"
    involved in one way or the other. Several articles I've read state that
    mid/fore striking is more economical due to the stored energy return via the foot and calf. Others
    have stated that heel striking actually acts as a breaking mechanism. If these statements are
    true it would seem that you could see an increse in pace at equal or lesser HR's.

    ~Matt

    >...
    >
    >Thanks for the information, Manfred
     
  13. > At first this turnover rate was akward. Felt like I was taking baby steps. I think it may be
    > recruiting slightly different muscle groups at lower rates but this is only a guess. It was also a
    > wee bit tiring for a while so I had to work up to it, mile on mile off kinda stuff. However over a
    > year or two the higher turn over seems natural.
    >
    > ~Matt

    You're Right, Matt. I just came back from a 20km run running at a high turnover rate. It feels as if
    you're running really slow. But checking my time I realized that I was doing a good speed (5min per
    km). I finished the 20km in 1:48 which is over the hilly course another 7 minutes less than my last
    run. So what I am saying is that don't be fooled by how slow you "feel" doing little steps.

    But I switch to heel-strike if it goes down-hill. It feels much easier. But I switch back to
    front-foot-first as soon as the track becomes flat again. What about you, Matt, on down-hills ?

    Manfred
     
  14. MJuric wrote:

    > On Thu, 02 Oct 2003 13:00:04 -0500, JJ Waguespack <[email protected]> I've run into similar
    > situation, but not at such high rates of speed. As I mentioned in an earlier post what worked for
    > me was turnover rate. When a person runs slower they sometimes have a tendancy to keep the same
    > stride length at a slower rate. This promotes heel strike. For me I can, within 1-2 miles, feel
    > the aches coming on if I'm running slower than usual and not paying attention to turn over. Within
    > minutes of upping the turn over rate the aches subside. At first this turnover rate was akward.
    > Felt like I was taking baby steps. I think it may be recruiting slightly different muscle groups
    > at lower rates but this is only a guess. It was also a wee bit tiring for a while so I had to work
    > up to it, mile on mile off kinda stuff. However over a year or two the higher turn over seems
    > natural.
    >
    > ~Matt
    >

    I can remember quite a few times going out for a run when the legs were a bit toasted and doing the
    short-step at a slow pace just because it hurt a lot less but before this thread I never stopped to
    think about what was going on. I've always subscribed to the theory that long time runners find
    their own natural rhythm and form and messing with it was potential disaster but I guess you also
    have to consider your range of pace and at some point you leave your natural range at one end or the
    other and efficiency and form go to hell. It's been 12 years since I ran a marathon although almost
    yearly I start training for one. I do fine through 13-15 miles but beyond that I'm forced to slow
    down the runs and that's when the old body gives out. This year I've got a new plan to run more
    mileage and try to build enough speed and endurance early on before pushing the mileage at a faster
    pace. A new age group beckons.

    JJ
     
  15. > Post what you come up with. It would be an interesting study (Yes I'm aware that one persons
    > results is not a study but it be interesting anyway) to see if there is any actual "Economy"
    > involved in one way or the other. Several articles I've read state that
    > mid/fore striking is more economical due to the stored energy return via the foot and calf. Others
    > have stated that heel striking actually acts as a breaking mechanism. If these statements are
    > true it would seem that you could see an increse in pace at equal or lesser HR's.
    >
    > ~Matt
    >

    Well, I am back from the gym ! I did 6 intervalls, running each for 10 minutes at a constant speed.
    Here are the results:

    1. Running at 10km/h front-foot: Max HR=137, Min HR=121, Avg HR=130
    2. Running at 10km/h back-foot: Max HR=138, Min HR=129, Avg HR=133
    3. Running at 11km/h front-foot: Max HR=147, Min HR=136, Avg HR=142
    4. Running at 11km/h back-foot: Max HR=148, Min HR=142, Avg HR=145
    5. Running at 12km/h front-foot: Max HR=156, Min HR=147, Avg HR=152
    6. Running at 12km/h back-foot: Max HR=156, Min HR=151, Avg HR=152

    The results "may" indicate that the front-foot running is more economical. However, next time I
    should start running on the back-foot first and then switching to the front-foot to eliminate a
    possible effect of getting more tired in the second 10 minutes at each speed. Also keep in mind that
    the minimum HR is always low for the front-foot, because it was measured just after I increased the
    speed. So the whole set-up of the test was (unconsciously) in favor of the front-food. This effect
    should be canceled out if I do a second test, this time beginning each time with the back-foot, and
    combining the two test.

    Manfred
     
  16. MJuric

    MJuric Guest

    On Thu, 2 Oct 2003 21:43:28 +0200, "Manfred Dötsch" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> At first this turnover rate was akward. Felt like I was taking baby steps. I think it may be
    >> recruiting slightly different muscle groups at lower rates but this is only a guess. It was also
    >> a wee bit tiring for a while so I had to work up to it, mile on mile off kinda stuff. However
    >> over a year or two the higher turn over seems natural.
    >>
    >> ~Matt
    >
    >You're Right, Matt. I just came back from a 20km run running at a high turnover rate. It feels as
    >if you're running really slow. But checking my time I realized that I was doing a good speed (5min
    >per km). I finished the 20km in 1:48 which is over the hilly course another 7 minutes less than my
    >last run. So what I am saying is that don't be fooled by how slow you "feel" doing little steps.
    >
    >But I switch to heel-strike if it goes down-hill. It feels much easier. But I switch back to
    >front-foot-first as soon as the track becomes flat again. What about you, Matt, on down-hills ?
    >
    >Manfred
    >
    IMO its pretty much a function of proper turn over again. If you watch alot of people they
    will really bound down hills. Taking extra long steps because they can due to the angle
    and less effort needed to propel the body. This slows down turnover and causes an even
    more severe heel strike than necessary on a downhill. Also if you look at these "bounders"
    Each step is noticeably acting as a break with rather severe impact at each step. Back to
    the marching in place scenario, if you go to a hill and march in place on that hill you
    will know approximately how much of a heel strike you will be getting vs how much you are.
    Some of this heel strike may even be taken out a bit due to a slightly more forward
    posture downhill. OTOH a similar scenario going up hill. You'll end up more on your toes
    with an extremely short stride depending on the extremety of the hill. I've also found
    that short strides high turnover get you up the hill at the same rate with seemingly less
    effort. Almost like shifting gears. Personally I have a tendancy of taking down hills SLOW
    and with purposely shorter steps as I have found that fast downhills really can inflame my
    ITB issues. I know several people that have been done in by hill work. Almost always
    because of the downhills, not the uphills. About the only time I really crank downhill is
    during a race.

    ~Matt
     
  17. MJuric

    MJuric Guest

    On Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:14:14 -0500, JJ Waguespack <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >
    >MJuric wrote:
    >
    >> On Thu, 02 Oct 2003 13:00:04 -0500, JJ Waguespack <[email protected]> I've run into similar
    >> situation, but not at such high rates of speed. As I mentioned in an earlier post what worked for
    >> me was turnover rate. When a person runs slower they sometimes have a tendancy to keep the same
    >> stride length at a slower rate. This promotes heel strike. For me I can, within 1-2 miles, feel
    >> the aches coming on if I'm running slower than usual and not paying attention to turn over.
    >> Within minutes of upping the turn over rate the aches subside. At first this turnover rate was
    >> akward. Felt like I was taking baby steps. I think it may be recruiting slightly different muscle
    >> groups at lower rates but this is only a guess. It was also a wee bit tiring for a while so I had
    >> to work up to it, mile on mile off kinda stuff. However over a year or two the higher turn over
    >> seems natural.
    >>
    >> ~Matt
    >>
    >
    >I can remember quite a few times going out for a run when the legs were a bit toasted and doing the
    >short-step at a slow pace just because it hurt a lot less but before this thread I never stopped to
    >think about what was going on. I've always subscribed to the theory that long time runners find
    >their own natural rhythm and form and messing with it was potential disaster but I guess you also
    >have to consider your range of pace and at some point you leave your natural range at one end or
    >the other and efficiency and form go to hell.

    I'm of two minds on this. One supposedly we all find a "natural" form and rythm. For the
    most part I think this is true. Unfortunely I don't think that all of us, or for that fact
    many of us find the "natural" form that is the most economical. This is glaringly clear in
    swimming but not so noticeable in most while running. However as you point out must of us
    can tell when, either thru fatigue or "out of normal range", we aren't runnning very
    uneconomicly. Another aspect of this is that many of the top runners display many of the
    same aspects, which would indirectly indicate that some type of form is optimal. (Yes I'm
    aware of the counter argument that potentially the form is the form taken by elite runners
    and not that its the form that made them elite and the rest of us mere mortals are better
    served by some other form of running but I digress.) some of these aspects are little to no
    bounce, many are fore/mid foot strikers, very little lost motion (side to side, head
    rotation, arms out of plane etc) The other side of me says "stay away from changing your
    form" Most of us have been running in some fashion for most of our lives. It's difficult
    maybe even impossible to undo some of these "habits" There is also the potential that
    some/all of these motions are more "instinctual" and may not be able to be changed. It is
    also possible taht trying to change some of these things could be harmful. So the bottom
    line is. I doubt that we can make huge changes in our gait. To me our running gait is like a
    fingerprint. Something unique to each of use. Alterable but not to the point of being
    unrecognizable form the original. Also I would excercise caution while trying to change ones
    form. Changing tiny things in one area can effect motions in other areas blah blah...

    > It's been 12 years since I ran a marathon although almost yearly I start training for one. I do
    > fine through 13-15 miles but beyond that I'm forced to slow down the runs and that's when the old
    > body gives out. This year I've got a new plan to run more mileage and try to build enough speed
    > and endurance early on before pushing the mileage at a faster pace. A new age group beckons.
    >
    >JJ
    >
    Best of luck.

    ~Matt
     
  18. MJuric

    MJuric Guest

    On Wed, 1 Oct 2003 23:11:02 +0200, "Manfred Dötsch" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> Post what you come up with. It would be an interesting study (Yes I'm aware that one persons
    >> results is not a study but it be interesting anyway) to see if there is any actual "Economy"
    >> involved in one way or the other. Several articles I've read state that
    >> mid/fore striking is more economical due to the stored energy return via the foot and calf.
    >> Others have stated that heel striking actually acts as a breaking mechanism. If these
    >> statements are true it would seem that you could see an increse in pace at equal or lesser
    >> HR's.
    >>
    >> ~Matt
    >>
    >
    >Well, I am back from the gym ! I did 6 intervalls, running each for 10 minutes at a constant speed.
    >Here are the results:
    >
    >1. Running at 10km/h front-foot: Max HR=137, Min HR=121, Avg HR=130
    >2. Running at 10km/h back-foot: Max HR=138, Min HR=129, Avg HR=133
    >3. Running at 11km/h front-foot: Max HR=147, Min HR=136, Avg HR=142
    >4. Running at 11km/h back-foot: Max HR=148, Min HR=142, Avg HR=145
    >5. Running at 12km/h front-foot: Max HR=156, Min HR=147, Avg HR=152
    >6. Running at 12km/h back-foot: Max HR=156, Min HR=151, Avg HR=152
    >
    >The results "may" indicate that the front-foot running is more economical. However, next time I
    >should start running on the back-foot first and then switching to the front-foot to eliminate a
    >possible effect of getting more tired in the second 10 minutes at each speed. Also keep in mind
    >that the minimum HR is always low for the front-foot, because it was measured just after I
    >increased the speed. So the whole set-up of the test was (unconsciously) in favor of the
    >front-food. This effect should be canceled out if I do a second test, this time beginning each time
    >with the back-foot, and combining the two test.
    >
    >Manfred
    >
    >
    Geez that was quick. Did you take a shower? Yes Doing as you suggest and doing the next
    test backwards starting heel run first would be good. It is highly likely that the HR
    differences shown here are from the normal cardiac drift. Once again this is far from a
    proper study but it will be interesting to see the results. So back to the gym now well see
    ya in a few hours?

    ~Matt
     
  19. MJuric wrote:

    > IMO its pretty much a function of proper turn over again. If you watch alot of people they
    > will really bound down hills. Taking extra long steps because they can due to the angle and
    > less effort needed to propel the body. This slows down turnover and causes an even more
    > severe heel strike than necessary on a downhill. Also if you look at these "bounders" Each
    > step is noticeably acting as a break with rather severe impact at each step. Back to the
    > marching in place scenario, if you go to a hill and march in place on that hill you will
    > know approximately how much of a heel strike you will be getting vs how much you are. Some
    > of this heel strike may even be taken out a bit due to a slightly more forward posture
    > downhill. OTOH a similar scenario going up hill. You'll end up more on your toes with an
    > extremely short stride depending on the extremety of the hill. I've also found that short
    > strides high turnover get you up the hill at the same rate with seemingly less effort.
    > Almost like shifting gears. Personally I have a tendancy of taking down hills SLOW and with
    > purposely shorter steps as I have found that fast downhills really can inflame my ITB
    > issues. I know several people that have been done in by hill work. Almost always because of
    > the downhills, not the uphills. About the only time I really crank downhill is during a
    > race.
    >
    >
    > ~Matt

    I'd have to agree that turnover seems to be the trick to hills. Although I rarely get the
    opportunity to run on them I can remember early in my running days doing bridge runs and the
    downhills would just kill my shins. Somewhere along the line I learned to use a very fast turnover
    and shorter stride on the downhills and saw that I could pick up distance on runners that would be
    running stride for stride with me on the flats. The uphills seem to be the problem now and the same
    runners I can match on the flats always pull away from me on the uphills. (every single one of them)
    I've adopted the faster turnover on the uphills and although it helps I still can't stick with
    comparable runners unless it's a short hill I can just power through by going anerobic. I'd guess
    it's because I never get to train on hills but a lot of the runners I'm racing against are in the
    same boat.

    JJ
     
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