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I have run several with traditional heel landings. Then I started experimenting with a more forefoot strike. In the beginning I did it all wrong and my legs was on the edge of getting a bone membran inflammation.

But I didn't give up and now I feel I have a more natural forefoot strike. I am still stribing for better technique and I wonder at what pace should a typical forefoot strike be effective?

I know that running slowly, like 10-11 kmh the forefoot strike feels a bit unnatural to me. When I run 15-16 kmh the forefoot strike comes natural to me now.

But my marathon pace is around 12 kmh, and I don't know if I should go for a forefoot strike in that kind of race?

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Are you running barefoot? What kind of shoes are you wearing? –  Alex Jan 24 '13 at 4:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The best advice i got for forefoot landing that seem to work at any pace: try to land below your center of gravity. At high speeds this mean lengthen your stride behind you instead of reaching in front and, at low speed keep the same landing and shorten your stride and turnover.

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thanks. but do you run forefoot on longer distances as well? –  Martin Feb 16 '12 at 11:16
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@Martin, I do. At any distance, a predominant heel strike is essential running with brakes on so for better form and efficiency, it's forefoot all the way. That said, for distances it's a more relaxed strike than for really fast paces or full out sprinting. –  TyKisha Feb 16 '12 at 18:11
    
what's turnover? –  Martin Feb 17 '12 at 9:50
    
you know what? In yesterday training I completely focused on landing below center and it actually helped me a lot. I have been overdoing the leaning forward thing. my balance was better –  Martin Feb 17 '12 at 11:29
    
How to know when you are landing below your center of gravity? Some youtube videos? Does this infer more usage of hands to push the body to more downward position? –  hhh Jun 4 '13 at 16:15

I'd definitely agree with @solomongaby on landing below your COG. To answer your question directly, a forefoot strike can and should be effective at any pace. Bear in mind that the biomechanics (and resulting efficiency) of your strike has everything to do with your carriage. To that effect here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your posture aligned with ear, shoulder, hip and ankle in a straight line
  • Strive to lean forward at the ankles and not the hips or waist. Think of falling like a tree
  • Aim for a quick turnover and shortened stride with the heels pulling up the buttocks at roughly a 45 degree angle. Just as solomon said, this means lengthening your stride behind you.
  • Try to run as light as possible (to see what I mean, attend a local race and head go to the finish line and listen to the finishers. The first runners to cross the line will be very light-footed...nearly silent. As more of the field finishes, the runners steps will be louder and heavier. I've always been coached to run as if I'm on sand and trying to leave the lightest print possible)

Also, another visualization that has helped me tremendously is to imagine you have dowel rods extending from the inside of each ankle. Naturally, you'll need to step over each rod in order to keep from tripping.

Since this is a lot to swallow I'd also suggest picking one aspect of your form to concentrate on at a time or per training session until you get it down. For a more in-depth look into techniques, exercises and the science behind proper form and subsequent forefoot striking, the Chi-Running (Video Overview of Chi-Running) and POSE methodologies (Comparison of Heel vs Forefoot strike and Form) of running are great to learn and study. Both have videos and written literature available. I don't recommend any one over the other as the both generally teach the same style of running but with different terminology.

Lastly, try 20 - 30 minutes of barefoot running on soft grass. When you remove the barriers of thick soled shoes, it's easier to "feel" proper form and foot strike.

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Here's another great video comparison youtube.com/watch?v=XrOgDCZ4GUo –  Saariko Feb 16 '12 at 20:05
    
thanks for great advice :) –  Martin Feb 17 '12 at 11:29

I think running on slippery icy surfaces is a great way of learning proper technique. We have to land exactly under our center of gravity, otherwise we fall.

I believe that regardless of speed, the steps should have pretty much the same length. To change speed, we change the cadence. We should not make longer or shorter steps.

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