Stride question

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by M. Mulligan, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. M. Mulligan

    M. Mulligan Guest

    I'm interested in advice regarding the proper stride -
    specifically, how should the foot contact the ground while
    running? I'm in an urban area, and I'm limited to sidewalk
    surfaces for my routine runs. I believe this is taking a
    toll on my knees, but I've found recently that staying
    exclusively on my toes (little or no heel contact during
    run) significantly diminishes the shock to my knees and
    joints. However, a friend - and marathoner - recently
    advised me that this is not proper technique, that running
    this way will diminish my speed and ultimately could lead
    to injuries to the achilles and connective tissues in the
    lower leg.

    Anyone have any advice here? What is the consensus
    recommendation for proper foot/surface contact during
    stride?

    Thanks, Roger
     
    Tags:


  2. Topcounsel

    Topcounsel Guest

    >I'm limited to sidewalk surfaces for my routine runs. I
    >believe this is taking a toll on my knees

    It will, due to all the ups-and-downs and odd angles of the
    many "curb cuts" and also from having to jump up and down
    whole curbs sometimes.

    >staying exclusively on my toes (little or no heel contact
    >during run) significantly diminishes the shock to my knees
    >and joints. However, a friend - and marathoner - recently
    >advised me that this is not proper technique, that running
    >this way will diminish my speed and ultimately could lead
    >to injuries to the achilles and connective tissues in the
    >lower leg.

    It will likely injure you for a wide variety of reasons, not
    the least of which is that you will invariably turn an ankle
    eventually (and possibly trip regularly) if you try to run
    this way with such poor footings. More important is that
    this can give you a painful case of Plantar Fascitis ("PF").
    I once spent an afternoon chasing my little tyke around
    outside, wearing beach sandals. To keep them on, and run,
    you must stay on your toes. This left me unable to run for a
    week afterwards.

    I think your better answer lies in inquiring: (1) whether
    you "really" have to be on the sidewalk as opposed to the
    roadway or somewhere else (e.g., a highschool or college
    track); and (2) whether your current shoes are adequately
    cushioned to let you run on uneven concrete surfaces. What
    shoes are you running in now? There are some shoes made now
    that are literally like running on marshmallows! Maybe you
    need some recommendations? If so, myself and many others
    who hang out here can definitely recommend some highly-
    cushioned models.
     
  3. M. Mulligan

    M. Mulligan Guest

    TopCounsel, Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I'd appreciate some
    advice for shoes. My current shoes are probably not ideal -
    have a couple pairs of Adidas (purchased out of habit,
    really), but I'm doing most of my running these days in a
    pair of New Balance 806 - an 'all-terrain' shoe, which I
    purchased with the intention of hitting area parks - I find
    them to be softer than my other shoes, though I should say
    here that I haven't put forth any significant effort to find
    the right shoe for my needs.

    I should also point out that I've only just become serious
    about running over the past five, or so, months. I'm 5'10,
    175lbs - a rather heavy runner, I suppose - more time on the
    weights than the road in past years, I regret to say. I'm
    currently running an average of 15 miles a week, and I'm
    looking to aggressively increase distance and improve
    performance over coming months.

    I've been experiencing some pain in my right knee, which I
    attribute to the relatively flattened arch of my right
    foot - the result of an old injury. As I mentioned, I've
    been experimenting with staying on my toes during runs.
    Running this way has improved symptoms, in fact, but it's
    also created considerable fatigue and muscle pain in my
    lower calves (to your point), so that I find it difficult
    to sustain this form over consecutive days. For this
    reason, and in light of your advice, I don't consider it a
    viable solution.

    I think that I need more arch support than I have currently,
    and I'm sure I'd benefit from a good motion control shoe.
    So, I'd very much appreciate your advice for good shoes.
    Thanks for your help.

    Regards, Roger

    "TopCounsel" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
    m07.aol.com...
    > >I'm limited to sidewalk surfaces for my routine runs. I
    > >believe this is taking a toll on my knees
    >
    > It will, due to all the ups-and-downs and odd angles of
    > the many "curb
    cuts"
    > and also from having to jump up and down whole curbs
    > sometimes.
    >
    > >staying exclusively on my toes (little or no heel contact
    > >during run) significantly
    diminishes
    > >the shock to my knees and joints. However, a friend - and
    > >marathoner - recently advised me that this is not proper
    > >technique, that running this
    way
    > >will diminish my speed and ultimately could lead to
    > >injuries to the
    achilles
    > >and connective tissues in the lower leg.
    >
    > It will likely injure you for a wide variety of reasons,
    > not the least of
    which
    > is that you will invariably turn an ankle eventually (and
    > possibly trip regularly) if you try to run this way with
    > such poor footings. More
    important
    > is that this can give you a painful case of Plantar
    > Fascitis ("PF"). I
    once
    > spent an afternoon chasing my little tyke around outside,
    > wearing beach sandals. To keep them on, and run, you must
    > stay on your toes. This left
    me
    > unable to run for a week afterwards.
    >
    > I think your better answer lies in inquiring: (1) whether
    > you "really"
    have to
    > be on the sidewalk as opposed to the roadway or somewhere
    > else (e.g., a highschool or college track); and (2)
    > whether your current shoes are
    adequately
    > cushioned to let you run on uneven concrete surfaces. What
    > shoes are you running in now? There are some shoes made
    > now that are literally like
    running
    > on marshmallows! Maybe you need some recommendations? If
    > so, myself and
    many
    > others who hang out here can definitely recommend some highly-
    > cushioned
    models.
     
  4. Bill

    Bill Guest

    M. Mulligan wrote:
    > I'm interested in advice regarding the proper stride -
    > specifically, how should the foot contact the ground while
    > running? I'm in an urban area, and I'm limited to sidewalk
    > surfaces for my routine runs. I believe this is taking a
    > toll on my knees, but I've found recently that staying
    > exclusively on my toes (little or no heel contact during
    > run) significantly diminishes the shock to my knees and
    > joints. However, a friend - and marathoner - recently
    > advised me that this is not proper technique, that running
    > this way will diminish my speed and ultimately could lead
    > to injuries to the achilles and connective tissues in the
    > lower leg.
    >
    > Anyone have any advice here? What is the consensus
    > recommendation for proper foot/surface contact
    > during stride?

    Some have claimed success with a toe strike, though they
    bring the heel down before pushing off. Otherwise, they
    claim it does demand too much of the lower leg. Typical
    running training shoes probably assume a heel strike or
    perhaps a level foot.

    You can control shock to your knees without making a risky
    transition to a different foot strike, however. The most
    obvious, get shoes suited to your needs as advised by a
    mentor or someone you discover in a specialty running shop.
    Unfortunately, I have not found many who can objectively
    advise. They all seem to take a party line based on their
    own preferences, and the model that fit you this month, may
    not be the right one six months from now. You can even buy a
    shoe and not find it adequate until taking a few long runs.
    Beware that cushioning for one brand, e.g., Mizuno, might be
    10 times firmer than cushioning for another, e.g. Nike. Each
    has its own devout following.

    Running on grass or other unpaved surface can make a big
    difference, as can padded tracks and absorbent treadmills.

    The most common advice to adjusting form would be to avoid
    overstriding, which means bringing the leg forward with an
    overextended knee and impacting on the heel, well forward of
    the body center. Couple this with too much vertical bounce
    to get a noisy, clunky, jarring run.

    Form awareness:

    Listen to your running and set yourself a goal to be a
    stealth runner, to be able to overtake some walkers without
    them knowing you are coming.

    Become aware of your vertical bounce and work to minimize
    it. Obviously, this may or may not be your particular need.

    Try to plant your foot under, not in front of, the body.
    Become conscious of the degree to which you make foot
    contact with an overly straight knee and adjust. Maybe, push
    off sooner, with a shorter stride and higher cadence.

    Let the legs rest on occasion, so you have spring in your
    legs and punish the body less.

    Learn how to anticipate a lower footstrike when running
    downhill, to avoid jarring impacts. Use a shorter
    stride on hills.

    Make your own observations in the spirit of the above to
    find what helps you "glide over" rather than pound the road.
    If you have access to a treadmill with mirrors, you can self-
    regulate. Also, at a quiet time in the gym, you can listen
    to your feet and try and quiet your form, literally.

    Conditioning:

    Short-arc squats with one leg or two, to protect the knees.
    Massaging and rolling muscles to reduce soreness and
    compensate for tightness that affects muscle balance. ITB,
    Psoas, hamstring, piriformis, calf, glute, quad, back ....
    flexibility improvements can help the stride, though typical
    static stretching of cold or depleted muscles can make
    things worse.

    If you google search rec.running, you can find volumes to
    expand on any of these topics.
     
  5. Phil M.

    Phil M. Guest

    "M. Mulligan" <[email protected]> wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    > I'm interested in advice regarding the proper stride -
    > specifically, how should the foot contact the ground while
    > running? I'm in an urban area, and I'm limited to sidewalk
    > surfaces for my routine runs. I believe this is taking a
    > toll on my knees, but I've found recently that staying
    > exclusively on my toes (little or no heel contact during
    > run) significantly diminishes the shock to my knees and
    > joints. However, a friend - and marathoner - recently
    > advised me that this is not proper technique, that running
    > this way will diminish my speed and ultimately could lead
    > to injuries to the achilles and connective tissues in the
    > lower leg.

    Sidewalks can certainly cause injuries over the long term.
    However, in order to avoid the short-term, very serious,
    instantaneous injuries, it may be necessary to occassionally
    run on the sidewalk. There are a few of these stretches of
    road where I live where I am forced on to the sidewalk.
    Frequently, along the sidewalk there is a small strip of
    grass between the curb and the sidwalk. If possible, this is
    where I run. Especially on the downhill portions. Do you
    have that option?

    -Phil
     
  6. TopCounsel <[email protected]> writes:
    :>I'm limited to sidewalk surfaces for my routine runs. I
    :>believe this is taking a toll on my knees

    : It will, due to all the ups-and-downs and odd angles of
    : the many "curb cuts" and also from having to jump up and
    : down whole curbs sometimes.

    I run most of my weekday runs on sidewalk, and what with
    wheelchair ramps, etc, I don't have to step up or down curb
    more than 3 or 4 times in a 5 mile run. And they are all
    square up or downs.

    Larry
     
  7. Phil M.

    Phil M. Guest

    [email protected] (TopCounsel) wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    >>I'm limited to sidewalk surfaces for my routine runs. I
    >>believe this is taking a toll on my knees
    >
    > It will, due to all the ups-and-downs and odd angles of
    > the many "curb cuts" and also from having to jump up and
    > down whole curbs sometimes.

    FWIW, I have developed my own technique to negotiating
    sidewalks and curbs. I try to keep a straight line,
    regardless of the turn of the sidwalk into the street. When
    hopping off the curb into the street I land lightly, toe
    first with the leeding leg. Then, when hopping back up on
    the curb/sidewalk, I push off the ball of my trailing foot
    (as opposed to lunging with the leeding leg. For me this
    minimizes the chance for twisting a knee or ankle.

    -Phil
     
  8. Don Kirkman

    Don Kirkman Guest

    It seems to me I heard somewhere that Larry McMahan wrote in article
    <[email protected]>:

    >TopCounsel <[email protected]> writes:
    >:>I'm limited to sidewalk surfaces for my routine runs. I
    >:>believe this is taking a toll on my knees

    >: It will, due to all the ups-and-downs and odd angles of
    >: the many "curb cuts" and also from having to jump up and
    >: down whole curbs sometimes.

    >I run most of my weekday runs on sidewalk, and what with
    >wheelchair ramps, etc, I don't have to step up or down curb
    >more than 3 or 4 times in a 5 mile run. And they are all
    >square up or downs.

    Probably more than 90% of my ~25 years of running has been
    on sidewalks and roadways (including all of my 27
    marathons). Like Larry, I don't have to go up or down curbs
    all that often; cutting up to the sidewalk or down to the
    roadway by going diagonally on a driveway cut makes a very
    easy transition.

    I'll throw in my personal opinion that with shoes being as
    padded as they are and the human structure being so flexible
    and trainable, the feared hardness of paved courses seems
    beside the point for me. My only serious knee problem was
    precipitated by having to do some plumbing in an awkward
    position, and it's basically rehabilitated now so I'm doing
    longer runs that I was before it started.
    --
    Don [email protected]
     
  9. Eno

    Eno Guest

    "M. Mulligan" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I'm interested in advice regarding the proper stride -
    > specifically, how should the foot contact the ground while
    > running?

    Many opinions around these parts, I guess as many kinds of
    legs and feet. Here are my own observations from personal
    experience:

    1) Heel striking, which I used to do quite a bit, is simply
    not good. You are landing on the narrowest part of your
    foot, jarring your leg, and slamming on the breaks with
    every landing.

    2) Ball landings are also, in my experience, wasteful. You
    are shock absorbing with your foot, then pushing off
    again. This puts a lot of stress on the calf, and if you
    have never run this way, is a sure way to get you a nice
    set of calf injuries.

    3) Landing mid-foot and rolling forward/pushing off is best.
    Regardless of many claims for #1 or #2, when I watch
    elite runners, this is what I see. They quietly land mid-
    foot, roll forward and keep on going.

    4) Whatever landing you end up choosing, it must happen
    beneath your center of gravity. This pretty much rules
    out heel landings, which by default take place in front
    of, not beneath you.

    5) Shortening your stride will help with #4.

    6) Stride rates of 176-180 steps/min will also help #4, and
    arise almost naturally as you practice #5. Don't bother
    too much with this one, but rather, let it happen
    naturally (use it as a measurement to gauge your
    progress). Trying to enforce 180 steps/min yielded me a
    couple of nice injuries. Note also that as you get
    faster, the 180 stride rate becomes more natural. In my
    experience, 180 steps/min when running 11 min/mile or
    above is nearly impossible. Once I get below 10
    min/mile pace, I find it nearly impossible *not* to be in
    the 178-180 steps/min range.

    Hope this helps. Above all, try to enjoy your running as
    much as possible.
     
  10. On 17 Mar 2004 08:51:54 -0800, [email protected] (eNo) wrote:

    >4) Whatever landing you end up choosing, it must happen
    > beneath your center of gravity.

    I know what you're TRYING to say, but if that's the best you
    can do you really shouldn't have bothered. Explaining a
    specific running technique requires precision in speech or a
    series of pretty explanatory drawings. As you've been unable
    to provide the former perhaps you could make an attempt at
    the latter?
     
  11. Eno

    Eno Guest

    "I tan I epi tas" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On 17 Mar 2004 08:51:54 -0800, [email protected]
    > (eNo) wrote:
    >
    > >4) Whatever landing you end up choosing, it must happen
    > > beneath your center of gravity.
    >
    > I know what you're TRYING to say, but if that's the best
    > you can do you really shouldn't have bothered. Explaining
    > a specific running technique requires precision in speech
    > or a series of pretty explanatory drawings. As you've been
    > unable to provide the former perhaps you could make an
    > attempt at the latter?

    This is USENET, a pure text environment. I do not claim to
    be the best written communicator, but around here we try to
    be as helpful as possible. Perhaps you would be so kind as
    to provide us a web site for your drawings? Sniff-sniff. Oh,
    wait, I smell a troll. My bad.

    --
    ø¤º°`°º¤ø,,,,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,,,,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,,,,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¤º°`°º¤ø,,,,ø¤º
    eNo
    "If you can't go fast, go long."
    ø¤º°`°º¤ø,,,,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,,,,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,,,,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¤º°`°º¤ø,,,,ø¤º
     
  12. I tan I epi tas <[email protected]> writes:
    : On 17 Mar 2004 08:51:54 -0800, [email protected]
    : (eNo) wrote:

    :>4) Whatever landing you end up choosing, it must happen
    :> beneath your center of gravity.

    : I know what you're TRYING to say, but if that's the best
    : you can do you really shouldn't have bothered. Explaining
    : a specific running technique requires precision in speech
    : or a series of pretty explanatory drawings. As you've been
    : unable to provide the former perhaps you could make an
    : attempt at the latter?

    And what's not clear about this? I think it is pretty good
    advice, as heel strikers tend to land *behind* their center
    of gravity and must wait for their center of gravity to pass
    over the place where they are standing before they apply any
    more forward force.

    Larry
     
  13. On Wed, 17 Mar 2004 09:28:06 -0800, "eNo" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >Sniff-sniff. Oh, wait, I smell a troll. My bad.

    Smell whatever you wish. It does not alter the fact that if
    you communicate poorly in writing in a 'pure text
    environement', you fail to communicate at all.
     
  14. On 17 Mar 2004 12:39:17 -0700, Larry McMahan
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >And what's not clear about this? I think it is pretty good
    >advice, as heel strikers tend to land *behind* their center
    >of gravity and must wait for their center of gravity to
    >pass over the place where they are standing before they
    >apply any more forward force.

    Larry, may I suggest you undertake a basic physics course
    before you continue to embarrass yourself on a public forum?
     
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