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How to Train Proper Foot Strike?

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I've been doing a fair bit of research about proper running technique, and each article I read leaves me more confused than the last.  Some say that heel striking is a no-no; others say that heel-striking is okay as long as you don't overstride.  I've been working on proper technique since I'm a beginner runner and don't want to develop bad habits early on.  I heel strike, but I don't feel like I overstride.  I need to get some footage or something of me running to confirm that, but I'll occasionally glance down to see how my stride is, and it looks like I'm landing with my body pretty much over my foot.


So, I guess my question is, what have you all learned from experience/coaching/etc.?  Does foot-strike really make a huge difference as long as you're not overstriding?  If so, how have you worked to switch from a heel-strike to a midfoot- or forefoot-strike?  I've tried forcing a midfoot-strike when I run, but it really doesn't feel natural at all.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't have a ton of experience, but I was having a similar issue. I was heel striking pretty badly and it was causing all kinds of issues with my knees and shins/shin splints. I ended up working quite a few runs with just my stride and the way my foot was striking. I've found that for me personally (I'm prone to under pronation) I need to have a forefoot strike to prevent any injuries. But I believe the general rule of thumb is that you want to land on the ball of your foot. 

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  • 2 months later...

The best thing I found was to jog barefoot on a smooth concrete or tile surface. It gives you immediate feedback. I used the smooth stone tile at my work to practice, and get a feel for how I should be running. I didn't run very long. Just enough to get a feel for the proper technique for when I ran outside.


Another thing that helped was using a jump rope on a hard surface. The foot strike for jumping rope is very similar to the forefoot running technique. If you don't have a jump rope then just use an imaginary rope. It's pretty close to impossible to heel strike while jumping rope.

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