HEEL-STRIKING IS THE WORST WAY TO RUN
With various running styles available these days, it is now common to hear forefoot, ball of foot, midfoot (still can't digest this one since midfoot is actually the arch of the foot and it's not possible to land on it
, but hey, I guess such mental imagery can help some?) or flatfoot striking recommended over the heel striking style. So, today, let's talk about what we can safely call "the worst way to run" - heel striking style
Before we go any further, let's state what the problem with heelstriking is. Majority of runners are heelstrikers and running is associated with injures more than any other sport. It is considered dangerous because of the jarring impact it has on the body....if you heelstrike. It is also inefficient, since landing heel first while running, actually produces a braking effect....and here I was thinking that you want to run? Then why are you acting like you're trying to stop with every step you take?
Majority of runners have never learned to run because everybody can put their shoes on and out the door they go... Whatever training a few underwent was never technique oriented. Running was never accepted or assumed to be a technique sport
Heelstriking is wrong and is not good for you no matter how you twist it. Plus there is no scientific research to back it up. Just because some elite runners are heelstrikers doesn't mean anything. They are human just like you and nobody taught them any better. Have you thought about how many world records could've been shattered, if heelstriking wasn't an issue?
First, let's see why is this referred to as the "natural" way to run. What exactly does "natural" mean? From dictionary.com one can get the following:
- existing in or formed by nature (opposed to artificial): a natural bridge.
- based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature: Growth is a natural process.
- of or pertaining to nature or the universe: natural beauty.
Now let's get a la naturale... take your shoes off and run... 99.9% of people will immediately run on any other part of their foot, but the heel. If you're a member of the 0.01% group insisting on "heel first" approach while doing it barefoot, then I'd like to see what you have to say after, say, mile 10... don't forget to pick up a first aid kit to clean up your bloody tortured heels. The fact is, human heel is not meant to bear such beating.
There is nothing natural about heel striking way of running, as a matter of fact heel striking alone is responsible for countless seriously injured runners - pro, amateur, everyone
. I bet you anything that every runner you know is or was injured.
Interestingly, there is not a single scientific study that states that heel striking is good or bad for you.
Strangely enough, all the scientific studies carried out on running were at best simply descriptive with collected data, but nothing definitive was ever pronounced. That is until recently.
The only scientific proof that exists in the world of running today belongs to the Pose Method of Running
. Done by the top level members of the "running community" such as Timothy Noakes, the author of "Lore of Running" and a famed exercise physiologist and others, the study showed that runners' that use the pose method experience 50% less impact on the knees.
In a later article in Runner's World, T. Noakes also stated that no other running style can offer that
. He simply said: "Nothing else does it."
50% less impact on the knees compared to heel striking and midfoot striking.
That fact alone should prompt you to question your heelstriking ways and re-think your flatfooting or midfooting.
Heelstrikers have a whole list of running related injuries, maybe it should be said "bad-running related injuries" such as:
Constant impact on the heel bone produces numerous implications that like a domino effect spread through the entire body and before you know it there are pains and aches that don't seem to be related to running, but they are. Take for example back pain
. Did it ever occur to you that if you experience back pain and you're a heelstriking runner that your back pain could be eliminated by simply running better?
It is a fact that you can eliminate at least half of your current running related issues by simply learning to run better. Countless runners have already done so. The best thing is to learn the Pose Method® Running since it offers the most benefits compared to any other running style
. And if anyone wants to argue that heel striking is the way to go, then please produce a list of definite and solid benefits and a scientific proof of such. Until then...
Article by Dr. Nicholas Romanov
Composed by L. Romanov