We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Minimalist shoes help you take advantage of your natural physiology.
Gary Faber/Photodisc/Getty Images
Long lauded by the minimalist running movement, the forefoot strike is the most physiologically natural running form for human anatomy, making it healthier for your joints, muscles and bones. To transition to a forefoot strike, start by identifying your foot-related issues and then practice good form until a forefoot strike becomes second-nature.1.
Run at a leisurely pace without breathing too heavily. This aerobic run is ideal for long distances, and will help you practice a good foot strike. Running too quickly can result in longer strides, which will increase your heel impact and make it harder to master a forefoot strike. Keep your pace consistent, and focus on keeping your body aligned over your feet.2.
Focus on your stride. Your heel and forefoot should land almost simultaneously, with slight emphasis on the forefoot. As your forefoot connects with the pavement, gently roll your weight forward until you are using the muscles in your foot and calf to propel yourself forwards into the next step. Do not attempt to land on your toes, and be careful to keep your weight centered over your feet. Your stride should not be exaggerated.
Relax the rest of your body. Keep your shoulders and arms free of tension, and allow your arms to swing gently with each step, mirroring the natural turn of your torso as you run. Keep your neck relaxed, and your head focused forward and level. As you begin adjusting to the forefoot stride, you can increase your pace. As your stride gets longer, more of your weight will shift forwards to facilitate a forefoot strike on a longer step.4.
Gradually shift more weight to the ball of your foot on the lateral side as you practice the forefoot strike. Dorsiflex your ankle to create a springing motion as you absorb the impact of each step. To determine if your landing is too aggressive, try running completely barefoot on a smooth surface and use sensory feedback from your foot to decrease the impact in each step. Take care not to over-stride.5.
Massage your arches and calves frequently to prevent the buildup of scar tissue. In addition, stretching your ankles and calves after a run will help promote muscle growth. Sit with your legs straight and lifted off the floor, and write the alphabet using the toe of each of your feet, stretching and turning the ankle as you go. Do this several times a day, if possible. Stretching and massaging these muscles will make the transition to a forefoot strike much easier, and encourage strengthening.
- Set distance goals for yourself with your new stride to acclimate it into your running routine. As your foot strength improves, you can transition to less and less support from your running shoes for a more barefoot experience. Instead of reducing your mileage, adjust the proportion of forefoot and mid-foot running you do in relation to your traditional heel strike by increments of 10 percent per week until you've transitioned fully.
- Take time to rest and recover. Never run if you are experiencing prolonged pain or soreness. As your muscles and bones adjust to the new running position, you will be able to increase the frequency and distance of your run, but it is important to adjust slowly so your body can heal the minor damage and your muscles can build in strength.