Foot Strike in Running
Landing on your heels (red shoes) is, essentially, hitting the brakes with every stride. You have to overcome that deceleration by hitting the gas pedal hard at every toe off. And the time it takes to get from heel to toe is just lost time—time spent going no where.
Landing with a flat foot (orange shoes) greatly shortens ground contact time and moves you forward more quickly. This is the way fast runners run. In fact, the research (below) also supports this method and shows that the longer your foot is on the ground, the slower you are running. Makes sense.
To see a video clip of an elite triathlete running with a flat foot strike, go here and then click on “video clip.” Watch for my article in the June issue of Inside Triathlon magazine in which I discuss in greater detail the advantages of flat-foot running.
Ardigo LP, LaFortuna C, Minetti AE, Mognoni P, Saibene F. 1995. Metabolic and mechanical aspects of foot landing type, forefoot and rearfoot strike, in human running. Acta Physiol Scand 155(1): 17-22.
Paavolainen L, Hakkinen K, Hamalainen I, Nummela A, Rusko H. 1999. Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. J Appl Physiol 86(5): 1527-1533.
Paavolainen L, Nummela A, Rusko H, Hakkinen K. 1999. Neuromuscular characteristics and fatigue during 10-km running. Int J Sports Med 20(8): 516-521.