Focus On Form: Foot Strike
The plan was to do my usual 5K route along Hove promenade, taking things nice and slowly once again to make sure that I didn’t over do it before Saturday’s long run. I set off at a deliberately slow pace and decided to focus on my form to avoid the temptation of pushing too hard.
Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that my left calf usually feels pretty tight and needs a lot more stretching that the right one after even a short run. I assumed that this was just due to the weakness in my ankle and achilles, but I read an article this week (can’t remember where though, sorry!) about how runners who have a fore foot strike often suffer from calf pain.
Basically, what it said was that while heel striking puts a lot of added pressure on the bones, fore foot striking puts more pressure on the muscles, which can lead to calf strains – which is me down to a tee!
So, I decided to take the advice offered in the article and use this evening’s run to focus on landing mid-foot. The idea is to try to land to the rear of the ball of your foot, with your foot beneath your knee and your toes pointing forward rather than downwards. Sounds complicated, I know! But I gave it a go anyway.
Because I was running so slowly and, determined to master the mid-foot strike, I decided at about 3 kilometres in that I would run a bit further than the planned distance. So, instead of turning around at the usual spot that would bring me back to the start at an even 5K, I decided to run to the Lagoon and turn back at the end of the path to bring me back home at a very uneven 6.26 kilometres.
In the end, I didn’t quite master the mid-foot strike and my left calf was still pretty tight, but I did run the whole way without a walk break and logged another nice little run for Jantastic!
Do you think much about your running form? Do you tend to strike the ground with your heel, fore foot or mid foot? Have you found that changing the way your foot lands on the ground has improved your running or helped with preventing injuries? Please share your thoughts in the comments.