Have you ever heard the term “Heel Strike”? It is when your heel touches the ground first when you run. In a recent study, 890 of 903 novice runners were heel strikers. That means if you are reading this and you haven’t worked to correct your form, you are most likely a heel striker.
However, this is not one of those cases where the majority rules. A New York Times Article wrote about a Harvard Study that compared heel strike runners to fore front runners and tracked their injuries. The study found that the amount of injuries in the heel strike runners was twofold greater than in the fore foot runners. Not to say the fore foot runners didn’t have any injuries, they did, but they had 50% less.
Now, the article does state that if you run a lot and have never had any injuries then it’s not necessary to change your stride. If, however, you have repeated shin splints, hamstring injuries, plantar fasciitis, or other hip related pains you might want to try to change up your gait to see if it reduces injury for you. I am by no means saying one is better than the other, as some studies didn’t show as big of a difference, but it’s a good thing to experiment with and see which one feels better for you. Another useful article on tips for running form can be found here
I also just found out the results of the Fourth of July 5K, which placed me at 4th in my age group and 13th female overall. While I am still disappointed because I knew I could have done better, it’s always good to have a reminder not to be too hard on yourself and give your body a little credit for what it accomplishes, even if it’s not what you wanted.
I think it’s time to sign up for another half….