Transition from heel strike to mid strike

6 messages
19/05/2011 at 19:48
Hi all,

Having taken up running about a year ago and having suffered a fair bit with ITBS and a minor inner ankle problem, I've decided to gradually try to modify my running technique. Currently I'm a heel striker and mild over-pronator, and I'm hoping that a gradual transition to mid/fore striking will make my running more efficient and help me to avoid injuries.

I'd be grateful for thoughts from anyone who has been through a similar process, especially on what kind of time period you took to make the transition and whether you also changed running shoes straightaway or later?
20/05/2011 at 07:45
Im curious to know what makes you believe that changing your form will resolve your issue, or that its even necessary.
I personally believe that when changing running sytle people make greater effort to achieve and keep good form as such this is where the majority of improvement comes from. If people took the same level of interest in making their natural running form better then I expect they would also see improvements and less injury.

Im a natural midfoot striker and would not consider changing it as it is simply how I run. I do however make effort to work on my form and technique, so often midfoot striking is presented as a solution to ITBS, Knee Issues and poissibly world peace, its not midfoot strikers still get injured and still have issues.

I personally would advise having a biometric check and finding out what your issues are, the taking the appropiate steps to address them.
20/05/2011 at 12:48
I changed my style from a massive heel striker to more efficient midfoot, but concentrated on posture more than feet, I saw a coach but it has taken me a year and I am still not there completely, but much much improved, the best thing I did was ditch the cushioned shoes. I now run in racing flats or Vibram five fingers and find the feedback from the ground is very important.
20/05/2011 at 13:17

I decided to make the change to reduce the long-term wear and tear on my joints (particularly knees & hips). I like the way I feel running barefoot-style with a midfoot landing.

I found it useful to use minimalist shoes (Terra Plana Neos in my case) because you get more feedback from the ground (and if you stop thinking about what you're doing and drift back to heel striking, your heels tell you so PDQ).

It IS about changing your running style - shorter strides, landing with your foot under you rather than out in front, faster cadence (180 steps/minute, or so) - not just which part of the foot you land on.

Note, it does put more stain on your achilles tendon and calf muscles, also, going minimalist increases strain on foot tendons etc., so it's advisable to strengthen those (see info on barefoot running forums). Maybe start with short runs in minimalist shoes (cheap starter option is water shoes, £3.99 from Lidl last week, or use a pair of racing flats if you've got them) for improved biomechanical feedback, while doing longer runs in the more padded shoes you're used to. Also, drop the mileage right down to start with - you'll really feel it in your calves initially. Not sure about changing gradually - might be confusing; other people may be able to advise you on that.

Note that purists will say run barefoot to improve your running form. May be true, but personally I like the protection from dog poop, glass, thorns etc. hidden in the grass!

20/05/2011 at 13:21
thanks for your responses - very helpful!
20/05/2011 at 13:24

Not really intentionally, my running style moved from a heel striker to more of a midfoot striker simply by training more on softer surfaces in trail/x-country shoes (without all the cushioning).  I have suffered less from injury, but I think that is more to do with improved core strength and stronger knees and ankles as a result of running on uneven surfaces and a bit of gym work.  I broadly agree with Squeakz in that I think form is important, and I doubt that simply moving to a midfoot striker will help your injury issues. 


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