What Forefoot Running Actually Means

What Forefoot Running Actually Means?

Forefoot running is the most common type of running technique used by runners today. It’s also one of the best ways to improve your speed and endurance. There are many advantages to using forefoot striking style:

• You get better balance from landing on your heels, which helps with your agility and balance.

• Your body weight is distributed over your front foot, which improves your center of gravity and reduces the risk of injury.

• You can land faster because you’re not putting all your weight on one side of the foot. (You do put some weight there, but it’s spread out evenly.)

• Your legs don’t bend at the knee when you run on your toes, so they aren’t as likely to hurt or tear.

• You’re less likely to injure your ankle if you land on it during a hard step.

However, there are disadvantages to using forefoot running:

• You may have trouble landing on your feet if you use the same foot for both running and walking. This isn’t necessarily a problem for everyone, but it could be for someone with a certain anatomy.

Forefoot running is a very technical running technique, and it can take quite a while to get used to. Many people have trouble adjusting to the new style of running, especially those who have been using heel-striking running for most of their life. If you decide to try this method of running technique, be prepared for some pain in your shins, ankles, knees, hips, and back.

This is temporary, and will go away with time and practice.

One of the most common mistakes that heel-striking runners make is to try to keep running in the same way they always did. If you want to use the forefoot running style, you need to make some changes to your normal stride. If you don’t, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up with an overuse injury from landing on your heels too much.

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Here are some tips on how to avoid injury when you first start using this technique:

1. Go Slowly

A lot of runners make the mistake of trying to go too fast and too far during their first few sessions of forefoot running. This is a big mistake that will almost certainly cause you an injury somewhere in your feet, ankles, legs, hips, or back. To avoid getting hurt, start off slow and easy during your first few sessions.

Also, don’t increase your speed or the length of your runs too quickly. It’s better to increase your speed and distance gradually as your body gets more accustomed to this style of running.

2. Stretch

The biggest cause of injuries for new forefoot runners is tight calf muscles. It’s essential that you do plenty of stretching before and after your runs to make sure that you avoid pulling a muscle. Fortunately, calf muscles are pretty easy to stretch.

All you have to do is squat down and touch your toes. You should feel a nice, comfortable stretch in the back of your legs. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds, then stand back up. You can also do some additional stretching of your calves by leaning forward and putting your hands on your knees, then pulling your heel towards your butt. If you don’t feel much of a stretch, try putting a small weight (such as a book) in your back pocket. This will take your body’s balance away from your feet, making it harder for you to keep your feet on the ground.

3. Wear the Right Shoes

When you first start using the forefoot running style, make sure that you only do it in shoes designed for running or walking. Don’t try to use basketball or tennis shoes since they’re not built to help absorb the shock of striking your foot. If you wear the wrong kind of shoe, you’re very likely to get injured.

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Also, make sure that your shoes are broken in and comfortable before your first run. You should break in the upper part of the shoe (the part that touches the top of your foot) before moving on to break in the sole. If you try to break in both at the same time, you’ll increase your chances of getting blisters or other foot injuries.

4. Run on Even Surfaces

You’ll run into fewer problems if you run primarily on flat, even surfaces. This will allow your body to get used to the impact associated with this style of running. If you want, you can also run on the treadmill at the gym to make sure that you won’t be running into any surprises.

If you do run on grass, try to pick a nice, soft field where you’re unlikely to step on a rock or a root.

5. Don’t Listen to Music

You may like to listen to music when you run, but this can actually make things more dangerous if you’re not used to this new style of running. The reason is that it will be more difficult for you to hear potential hazards in your environment (such as cars). It might also be difficult for you to hear people calling out to you.

For these reasons, you may want to wait until you’re more used to this style of running before you plug in your headphones.

6. Watch Your Step

Make sure that you pay attention to where you’re stepping. This is especially important during your first few sessions of forefoot running since your feet are going to be landing harder than they are used to. It only takes a second of distraction to cause you to twist your ankle or fall completely.

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So make sure that you’re always focused on where you are stepping.

7. Keep Your Cadence High

Most running experts will tell you that you should take short, quick steps when you run, rather than long strides. While this is good advice for traditional running styles, it’s even more important when running on your forefoot. A quick cadence will lessen the amount of time your feet are in the air and therefore decrease the amount of time that it’s exposed to potential danger.

8. Watch Out for Shoes

Take off your old shoes. Seriously, do yourself a favor and throw them away. Especially if they have lifts in them.

You definitely don’t want any part of your old running style mixed in with this new one. Also, shop for shoes that fit your new running style. Your feet are going to be landing a lot harder than they’re used to, so you want a shoe that’s going to provide a lot of protection.

9. Don’t Overdo It

You’re going to be tempted to go really fast since running on your toes feels so much faster and easier than traditional running. However, you really need to pace yourself at first. Your calves are going to be fatigued much quicker and you’re going to face a greater risk of injury.

Start off slow and then slowly pick up the pace as your body adapts to this new style.

10. Always Warm Up

Just like with traditional running, you should always warm up before engaging in forefoot running. However, when you’re just starting out, you may want to take it easy for your first few sessions. This is especially important if you’re going directly from a sitting position (as you might be if you drive to the track) since this will cause your muscles to be even more tight and prone to injury.

11. Don’t Overdo It

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As with traditional running, you need to make sure that you’re not overdoing it. This is especially true in the beginning since your body is going to be unaccustomed to this style and you’re going to be more prone to injury. Make sure you allow time for your body to adapt before increasing the length and intensity of your sessions.

12. Cool Down

Just as when you were running traditionally, it’s important that you end your sessions of forefoot running with a cool down. This will help prevent muscle cramps and other problems. Just gently jog for 5-10 minutes or until you feel your muscles relax.

Starting off

When you first start running on your forefoot, start off slow. Don’t engage in any sessions that are going to be longer than 20 minutes in duration since you’re going to already be prone to muscle cramping and other problems. For the first couple of weeks, just do a series of short sessions throughout the day.

Sources & references used in this article:

Authenticity: What consumers really want by JH Gilmore, BJ Pine – 2007 – books.google.com

The shock attenuation characteristics of four different insoles when worn in a military boot during running and marching by CM Windle, SM Gregory, SJ Dixon – Gait & posture, 1999 – Elsevier

Why forefoot striking in minimal shoes might positively change the course of running injuries by IS Davis, HM Rice, SC Wearing – Journal of sport and health science, 2017 – Elsevier

Footstriker: An EMS-based foot strike assistant for running by M Hassan, F Daiber, F Wiehr, F Kosmalla… – Proceedings of the ACM …, 2017 – dl.acm.org

Choosing the Right Running Shoes by SD Smith – livestronghealthyhappy.com

What we can learn about running from barefoot running: an evolutionary medical perspective by DE Lieberman – Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 2012 – journals.lww.com

Ankle plantarflexion strength in rearfoot and forefoot runners: A novel clusteranalytic approach by D Liebl, S Willwacher, J Hamill… – Human movement science, 2014 – Elsevier

Sever’s disease: what does the literature really tell us? by RW Scharfbillig, S Jones… – Journal of the American …, 2008 – meridian.allenpress.com