A few days ago I read an article at Science of sport about whether heel-, midfoot- or forefoot-strike were most efficient in running.
It was very interesting and made me think of my present situation with injury and everything. Since 2009 I’ve believed that a midfoot strike is the best, no matter what speed. Now I guess some of you will go “I can’t believe this guy! Hey honey, have you heard?…” But since I haven’t had any injuries until recently I haven’t thought it to be bad at least.
But it makes sense – I have pressed myself hard in very short time. I did that during the spring when I ran races with short time in between and at the same time increased my speed. midfoot strike would make the calfs work hard making them tight. If I always run like that even on the easy runs maybe the calfs never get to rest enough. At least it could be an explanation to my injured achilles.
Anyway, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try to adjust my strike a little. So on my last run I forced myself to land on the heel. Just slightly, hardly noticable. Though I did feel a great difference. For the first time I felt the cushion in my very flat Adidas Adizero CS 🙂 And also, I didn’t get a single niggle. Afterwards my calfs weren’t one tenth as tight as they usually are. It was even hard to get anything out of stretching them. I also noticed that my cadence still didn’t change. I were at 90 strides / min. The thing is, I’ve read that at a stride of 90 you force yourself to land on the midfoot. Well, according to the article above I guess that is only applicable if you run fast enough. It would be very interesting if they would film one of the elites running slowly (like I do) to examine how they land.
Since my little experiment worked so fine I will try it again on Saturday 😉
Tue 12 July – Easy run in fuzhou
41:04 – 8.12 km – 5:04 min/km – 150 in avg hr
During a discussion at work about stretching before and after exercise one of my collegues said “there’s no scientific proof stretching does any good to your training”. I’ve sported most of my years growing up and stretching before and after exercise has always been considered common sense. However, if I’m not sure about something I’m not ready to stand up for it in a discussion, so I just replied “I didn’t know”. This happened half a year ago and since then I’ve been just doing my runs with stretchings involved as usual.
But today I thought maybe I should look that one up on Internet. What I stumbled over was these articles which I find fascinating
The truth about stretching by jason Heavey
Stretching, flexibility, hamstrings and injury by Jim Bledsoe
Phys Ed: How Necessary Is Stretching? by Gretchen Reynolds
Stretching: The Truth by Gretchen Reynolds
The latter of them even suggests that conventional stretching before workout weakens the muscles temporarily. However the first two of them suggests that stretching after exercise is a good thing that makes muscles flexible and helps recovery.
On the other hand Stretching: The truth suggests that warm-up exercises before a workout is crucial to avoid injuries. There are even a few examples there.
I’m not the first one to throw myself at something just because I’ve read an article or two, but I truly find it intriguing stretching might not do as much as we believe. I’m at least willing to go further in my research.
Since I now have been running for a little more than one and a half year, and began from nothing, I thought it might be helpful for some out there to get a piece of my experiences as a beginner. So now I have written an article about what I think made a difference for me in my running. Hope you like it!
Beginner’s running tips