What’s the best foot strike for running?

Foot strike refers to the point at which the foot meets the floor while running but is often used to describe the way the foot lands, says Joel Enoch. Here he explains more

What's the best foot strike for running

Most triathlon runners land either with the heel first (Jan Frodeno); where the whole foot meets the floor – a ‘mid-foot’ landing (Lucy Charles-Barclay); or a forefoot-dominant technique (Vicky Holland).

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Immediately, you’ll see that three really good runners use contrasting techniques. Why? There’s a huge amount of opinion out there on this topic, but two points are key.

Firstly, it’s not the specific foot strike that’s important, but rather that the foot lands under the body when viewed from the side. Secondly, the speed at which you’re running – research shows that at paces of above 4mins/km or 6:30mins/mile, a forefoot landing may be more economical.

Each can be effective, but should you change your technique? First you need to know your current foot strike, so get a friend or coach to film you and look at the bottom of your running shoes to see the wear pattern. Then think about how fast you run off the bike. But, crucially, remember that foot strike is only the end point. Good posture, a cadence above 180spm and good hip/back mobility are all far more important. When adjusting, my two top tips are: a) push hips forward and b) run quietly.

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Joel Enoch is a is an award-winning coach with the Edinburgh Triathletes Squad and has competed for the GB AG team at world and Euro champs.

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