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June 09, 2007



I find it irritating when people say that most of the top finishers in elite racers run with a forfoot strike. If you look at the 2004 and 2008 marathon races you'll see that most of the top finisgers are heel strikers. My observation is that if you look at the top finishers in almost all elite races, you'll in fact see that they are heel strikers, including the African runners.

Everyone who is for forefoot striking talks about running barefoot on grass to see how your foot strikes, however, I have never seen anyone running barefoot on tarmac roads or concrete pavements.

Dan MacD

Actually Jimmy I did watch the Olympic Marathons, men & women, pretty closely in both 2004 & 2008, as well as the Peachtree Road Race the last several years with a view to watching foot strike. You're just wrong. The strongest of the heel strikers in both the men's and women's races this year fell off the pace around 20 miles. In fact, I could predict who would fall out by their running style. The Africans, all of who grew up running barefooted, are forefoot strikers.

Do an experiment--take your shoes off and go for a run barefooted. The ONLY thing that makes heel strike running possible is the modern running shoe. Run heel strike without a modern shoe and you'll hurt yourself bad and quickly.


Jimmy, what you are talking about doesn't exist on the level you are stating that it exists on. I've not only watched the olympics and events like marathons, and triathlons, and ultra marathons, I've seen the changes and differences in a lot of people changing from heel striking to Ball of Foot strike. There is absolutely no research that I am aware of that backs up what you are talking about either, yet, I can find plenty of studies that prove BOF strike is not only more efficient, but will make you less susceptible to injuries. Do your self a favor and get Bio-mechanics of Running by Peter Cavanaugh, there is more information than you'll know what to do with. Beware that you'll need to have an understanding of physics and mechanics... Not to say you don't! But your statements are alluding us to assume you don't understand that a heel strike would slow the runner down, as the foot isn't designed to roll through. That will remove muscle elasticity and ground reaction from the equation... These are 2 of the five important things associated with running... Muscle contraction (which will only be increased and require more energy w/ a heel strike), torque, and momentum are the other factors. You are removing these from a system that needs to be in balance. Just because some people do it doesn't make it right! This is something most people don't understand.


Funnily enough Dan and BMack I've been forefoot running the past year and it definately has made a difference. I have worked on this vey intently my legs are never sore after a training session and my calves are far stronger and have adapted to this type of running very well. But I still disagree with you Dan regarding the top finishers in the 04 and 08 Olympics. Stefan Baldini is a definate heel striker and one of the worlds top runners, does this mean that if he changes his runing technique to forefoot he will become a better runner? Thanks for the info on Peter Cavanagh BMack, I'll look it up, sounds very interesting. I have also read Gordon Pirie's book which I found excellent and in fact gave me my first insight into running differently and realy made a difference to me. It's vey difficult when so called running experts disagree on whether we should heel strike of forefoot strike. When I was younger I just ran, never had and injury and never thought about running technique. Mind you, the extra weight I've been carrying doesn't help!


just putting it out there that though forefoot running has made me faster, I have also had shin splints that persist despite custom inserts, bone density scans, weeks of rest, and special exercises. I can date the shin splints back to the week I finally got the hang of forefoot running. not saying forefoot running shouldn't work for everyone else, just saying that though it's made me faster it certainly hasn't kept me injury free.

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