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Should I Land on My Heels When I Run?

March 2, 2009

Since I started doing triathlons a few years ago, I took a closer look at my running mechanics.  I was slow and getting injured a lot – especially when I increased my mileage.

My problem was that I was a classic heel striker – I landed on my heels on impact/landing causing my knees to absorb most of the shock from landing.

I challenged myself to change my running mechanics so that I landed on my midfoot first.  By doing this, I avoided the naturally braking forces of heel striking and allowed my anatomy to naturally absorb the shock of the landing more efficiently.  Also, I became more efficient with my running technique.  Now I’m almost obsessed as I enjoy watching people run – analyzing how they land.

A great post on midfoot versus heel landing by Mark Friel, one of the authorities in triathlon, can be found here.

There’s some great literature out there on proper running technique (ie. Chi, Evolution, and Pose running).  I think I have the Evolution DVD floating around somewhere.  Contrary to what most people think, you CAN change the way you run.  It just takes a bit of discipline and perseverance.

My brother, Will Wu, PhD, also does running analysis for those looking for more help in correcting their running technique.

One Comment leave one →
  1. lori permalink
    March 5, 2009 11:59 am

    I’m very interested in this subject as I seem to be a heel striker when running long distance and I hit the forefoot (ball of the foot) when sprinting. Landing on my midfoot seems odd.

    You’re analogy would be helpful.

    Thanks Scott.

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