Why Not Flat Foot Strike?

OldAssDude
OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
There is much debate over heel striking, mid foot striking, forefoot striking, etc...

I am basically a flat foot striker. Depending if I'm going up or down hill, my heel or forefoot may touch the ground first, but either way it goes right to the flat foot, and that is where the actual impact is. I try to run with good posture, and strike center weight.

People say humans have evolved for running for 2 million years, and that they should have a forefoot strike.

I say, humans have evolved pads on both the heel and the forefoot for a reason.

I do try forefoot striking once in a while without letting my heel hit the ground, and it feels like my calf muscles are going to tear right off the bone. And if feels like way too much stress on my ankle and achilles.

I can run with a flat foot strike in barefoot running shoes, and it feels fine.

Lets discuss...
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Replies

  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,741 Member
    I just run...
  • EmbeeKay
    EmbeeKay Posts: 249 Member
    I, too, just run. I try to alternate each mile where I’m striking. Sometimes the cadence of a particular song I’m listening to helps me stay on the balls of my feet. My husband is absolutely convinced you need to strike on the ball, but that just won’t work for me 100% of the time. I haven’t researched it extensively : )
  • RunsWithBees
    RunsWithBees Posts: 1,508 Member
    I think everyone should just run the way that feels most comfortable to them. Running should be fun :)
  • VioletRojo
    VioletRojo Posts: 594 Member
    I think you should just run in a way that feels natural and that doesn't cause injury. Where I land on my feed depends on how fast I'm running and I don't worry about it.
  • MelanieCN77
    MelanieCN77 Posts: 4,053 Member
    I also think you should just run however feels natural to you. Trying to alter stride seems like a sure fire way to injure oneself.
  • dewd2
    dewd2 Posts: 2,449 Member
    The more time you waste changing foot strikes, worried about heart rate, and doing other things not relevant to actual running the more time you lose that could be used for getting faster, running longer, or just having fun.

    You want to work on something? Work on your stride. How far are you legs extending behind you as you run? Are you feet landing under you? Are you pushing off with force or are you just gliding along? Some of the gadgets you own can help you figure this out but you can't get lost in the numbers.
  • RunsWithBees
    RunsWithBees Posts: 1,508 Member
    I used to just run. Until 3 summers in a row with no changes to mileage or terrain I ended up with stress fractures. I researched shoes, forefoot striking, all of everything I could read. Happened to mention it to the new Physio I was seeing for low back issues and he was all for the transition. So I started slow. 1 mile a week in a zero drop shoe with cushioning. Regular miles ran in my “regular” shoes. Then more miles in the new shoes. After a year of added mileage I changed to a zero drop shoe with zero cushioning and again started with one mile. My skinny lower legs suddenly gained an inch around in muscle and I have not had a stress fracture or a hint of pain since. Can run over half marathon distance with a forefoot/almost flat footed landing. I find running this way has me a bit slower but I am ok with that as I am in it for the enjoyment not for the numbers.

    I’ve been running barefoot for almost 5 years now and I have noticed that my lower legs have increased muscle as well as strength, I simply love how it’s shaped my legs! And I do think that running with a midfoot strike makes me run a bit slower but I only run for fun so it doesn’t bother me and who knows maybe it even prevents me from getting other injuries by making me slow down and not overdo it.
  • fishgutzy
    fishgutzy Posts: 2,807 Member
    I can't run. Hurts too much. Don't want to another foot surgery. :D:D:D
  • OldAssDude
    OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
    dewd2 wrote: »
    The more time you waste changing foot strikes, worried about heart rate, and doing other things not relevant to actual running the more time you lose that could be used for getting faster, running longer, or just having fun.

    You want to work on something? Work on your stride. How far are you legs extending behind you as you run? Are you feet landing under you? Are you pushing off with force or are you just gliding along? Some of the gadgets you own can help you figure this out but you can't get lost in the numbers.

    I'm not getting lost in the numbers, and I am having fun. I don't think there is anything wrong with working on/experimenting with different forms of running.

    You gotta remember... you have been running for decades, and many other people have not.

    You have helped me a lot on this forum, and if you had not challenged me to do that running program, I would not be able to run over 13 miles today.

    But, I don't think it's a waste of time to experiment. To me it's part of the fun... :)
  • OldAssDude
    OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
    I used to just run. Until 3 summers in a row with no changes to mileage or terrain I ended up with stress fractures. I researched shoes, forefoot striking, all of everything I could read. Happened to mention it to the new Physio I was seeing for low back issues and he was all for the transition. So I started slow. 1 mile a week in a zero drop shoe with cushioning. Regular miles ran in my “regular” shoes. Then more miles in the new shoes. After a year of added mileage I changed to a zero drop shoe with zero cushioning and again started with one mile. My skinny lower legs suddenly gained an inch around in muscle and I have not had a stress fracture or a hint of pain since. Can run over half marathon distance with a forefoot/almost flat footed landing. I find running this way has me a bit slower but I am ok with that as I am in it for the enjoyment not for the numbers.

    I am experimenting with sorta the same thing.

    I have Altra Escalante's for zero drop cushioned shoes, and Merrell Vapor Glove 4's for zero drop non cushioned shoes. I have been taking it slow, and can run 10 miles in the Escalante's, and am up to about 3 miles in the Vapor glove's. I run mostly on asphalt, and using the Vapor Glove's, and being able to feel the details of the ground, really does change my form (in a good way). It's like my brain won't let me strike wrong, because I know it would hurt. I run slow anyway, so pace does not really matter to me.

    I may even have a go at completely barefoot this summer.

    What shoes do you use?
  • youngmomtaz
    youngmomtaz Posts: 1,081 Member
    OldAssDude wrote: »
    I used to just run. Until 3 summers in a row with no changes to mileage or terrain I ended up with stress fractures. I researched shoes, forefoot striking, all of everything I could read. Happened to mention it to the new Physio I was seeing for low back issues and he was all for the transition. So I started slow. 1 mile a week in a zero drop shoe with cushioning. Regular miles ran in my “regular” shoes. Then more miles in the new shoes. After a year of added mileage I changed to a zero drop shoe with zero cushioning and again started with one mile. My skinny lower legs suddenly gained an inch around in muscle and I have not had a stress fracture or a hint of pain since. Can run over half marathon distance with a forefoot/almost flat footed landing. I find running this way has me a bit slower but I am ok with that as I am in it for the enjoyment not for the numbers.

    I am experimenting with sorta the same thing.

    I have Altra Escalante's for zero drop cushioned shoes, and Merrell Vapor Glove 4's for zero drop non cushioned shoes. I have been taking it slow, and can run 10 miles in the Escalante's, and am up to about 3 miles in the Vapor glove's. I run mostly on asphalt, and using the Vapor Glove's, and being able to feel the details of the ground, really does change my form (in a good way). It's like my brain won't let me strike wrong, because I know it would hurt. I run slow anyway, so pace does not really matter to me.

    I may even have a go at completely barefoot this summer.

    What shoes do you use?

    I have been running in Vibram 5 fingers for over 10years now. They are some of my favourite! What I don’t like about them is the $$. When I can find other acceptable shoes on sale I snatch them up. I am wearing a pair of Merrell trail glove 4 right now. And love them! If I could get all the colours and styles offered in the US I would be so happy but we seem to have very slim picking here in Canada. I have them in my “true” size, and a full size up for winter running with wooly socks or for when I hike 20+ miles with a heavy pack and need socks to help prevent friction. I would love to buy some vivobatefoot too. Maybe I will come across a shop that stocks them on my travels this summer so I can check out the sizing for future online orders.
  • OldAssDude
    OldAssDude Posts: 1,436 Member
    OldAssDude wrote: »
    I used to just run. Until 3 summers in a row with no changes to mileage or terrain I ended up with stress fractures. I researched shoes, forefoot striking, all of everything I could read. Happened to mention it to the new Physio I was seeing for low back issues and he was all for the transition. So I started slow. 1 mile a week in a zero drop shoe with cushioning. Regular miles ran in my “regular” shoes. Then more miles in the new shoes. After a year of added mileage I changed to a zero drop shoe with zero cushioning and again started with one mile. My skinny lower legs suddenly gained an inch around in muscle and I have not had a stress fracture or a hint of pain since. Can run over half marathon distance with a forefoot/almost flat footed landing. I find running this way has me a bit slower but I am ok with that as I am in it for the enjoyment not for the numbers.

    I am experimenting with sorta the same thing.

    I have Altra Escalante's for zero drop cushioned shoes, and Merrell Vapor Glove 4's for zero drop non cushioned shoes. I have been taking it slow, and can run 10 miles in the Escalante's, and am up to about 3 miles in the Vapor glove's. I run mostly on asphalt, and using the Vapor Glove's, and being able to feel the details of the ground, really does change my form (in a good way). It's like my brain won't let me strike wrong, because I know it would hurt. I run slow anyway, so pace does not really matter to me.

    I may even have a go at completely barefoot this summer.

    What shoes do you use?

    I have been running in Vibram 5 fingers for over 10years now. They are some of my favourite! What I don’t like about them is the $$. When I can find other acceptable shoes on sale I snatch them up. I am wearing a pair of Merrell trail glove 4 right now. And love them! If I could get all the colours and styles offered in the US I would be so happy but we seem to have very slim picking here in Canada. I have them in my “true” size, and a full size up for winter running with wooly socks or for when I hike 20+ miles with a heavy pack and need socks to help prevent friction. I would love to buy some vivobatefoot too. Maybe I will come across a shop that stocks them on my travels this summer so I can check out the sizing for future online orders.

    I have the Merrell Trail Gove 5's, but they are more a minimalist shoe than a barefoot shoe, because they have a mid sole. I also have a pair of Vivobarefoot Stealth 2's which I use sometimes too, but I think my favorites are the Merrell Vapor Glove 4's. The sole is shaped more like a food than the Stealth 2's.

    I do like the Trail Gloves, but because they have a mid sole, I lose a lot of the ground feel.
  • DX2JX2
    DX2JX2 Posts: 1,921 Member
    People evolved pads on the ball and heel because those match the natural mechanics of full on sprinting/athletic running (ball) and walking (heel).

    You could argue that slow long distance running has not been a large enough proportion of human activity so as to be a driver of how we evolve; the body simply doesn't have a universal adaptation to deal with it. Therefore, fore, mid, or heel doesn't matter. All that matters is landing your foot center of mass.

    Whether you're talking foot strike position or stride length, those are never the goals in and of themselves. Those are only a means to an end; that end being to reduce the impact forces that travel up the leg and through your joints. This is why landing center mass is the key.

    Re: OP's mechanics...I can think of no case where one would land forefoot and then roll their foot backward to flat? While I absolutely advocate not overthinking your footstrike, if that is your current running mechanic then you probably do want to change.
  • klrenn
    klrenn Posts: 245 Member
    DX2JX2 wrote: »

    Re: OP's mechanics...I can think of no case where one would land forefoot and then roll their foot backward to flat? While I absolutely advocate not overthinking your footstrike, if that is your current running mechanic then you probably do want to change.

    I may be misunderstanding you, but if you have a forefoot strike, isn’t that the pattern you have to have?

    I land on my forefoot, roll down through flat then spring back through to push off.
  • klrenn
    klrenn Posts: 245 Member
    OldAssDude wrote: »
    There is much debate over heel striking, mid foot striking, forefoot striking, etc...

    I am basically a flat foot striker. Depending if I'm going up or down hill, my heel or forefoot may touch the ground first, but either way it goes right to the flat foot, and that is where the actual impact is. I try to run with good posture, and strike center weight.

    People say humans have evolved for running for 2 million years, and that they should have a forefoot strike.

    I say, humans have evolved pads on both the heel and the forefoot for a reason.

    I do try forefoot striking once in a while without letting my heel hit the ground, and it feels like my calf muscles are going to tear right off the bone. And if feels like way too much stress on my ankle and achilles.

    I can run with a flat foot strike in barefoot running shoes, and it feels fine.

    Lets discuss...

    It sounds to me like what you’re calling flat foot strike is what I would call a midfoot strike. You’re landing not on the ball of the foot, nor in the heel...so midfoot?

    If you’re comfortable with it and your center of gravity is in the right spot when you land, I would think you’re fine. But then I never gave my footstrike a second thought after getting my shoes.

    I’ve heard that a common problem with a heel strike is overstriding, but in and of themselves the heelstrike and midfoot strike are fine.
  • DX2JX2
    DX2JX2 Posts: 1,921 Member
    klrenn wrote: »
    DX2JX2 wrote: »

    Re: OP's mechanics...I can think of no case where one would land forefoot and then roll their foot backward to flat? While I absolutely advocate not overthinking your footstrike, if that is your current running mechanic then you probably do want to change.

    I may be misunderstanding you, but if you have a forefoot strike, isn’t that the pattern you have to have?

    I land on my forefoot, roll down through flat then spring back through to push off.

    Forefoot striking is what the body naturally does when sprinting. Basically, you land on the ball of your foot and dig from there without lowering the rest of your foot. You're on your toes the entire time. It's a naturally athletic move and the same reason that any athlete will move the the ball of their foot when preparing to act.

    Mid-foot striking is much the same but not quite as far up the ball of your foot. Same general mechanic, just to a lesser degree. Your heel can touch the ground with a mid-foot strike but it will more or less touch the ground at the same time as the rest of your foot.

    Your foot should never land on the ball and then roll backward to flat before rising back to the ball for toe-off. That's a terribly unnatural motion. Unless you've consciously forced yourself to learn to run this way, chances are that you're actually running mid-foot and the movement just feels more exaggerated than it really is.
  • dewd2
    dewd2 Posts: 2,449 Member
    OldAssDude wrote: »
    dewd2 wrote: »
    The more time you waste changing foot strikes, worried about heart rate, and doing other things not relevant to actual running the more time you lose that could be used for getting faster, running longer, or just having fun.

    You want to work on something? Work on your stride. How far are you legs extending behind you as you run? Are you feet landing under you? Are you pushing off with force or are you just gliding along? Some of the gadgets you own can help you figure this out but you can't get lost in the numbers.

    I'm not getting lost in the numbers, and I am having fun. I don't think there is anything wrong with working on/experimenting with different forms of running.

    You gotta remember... you have been running for decades, and many other people have not.

    You have helped me a lot on this forum, and if you had not challenged me to do that running program, I would not be able to run over 13 miles today.

    But, I don't think it's a waste of time to experiment. To me it's part of the fun... :)

    Fair enough. And you are having fun. :D