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Monday, August 25, 2014

HOW I PROVED (AT LEAST TO MYSELF) THAT HEEL-STRIKING IS NOT A NATURAL WAY TO RUN

Since I switched from "running shoes" to barefoot and minimal footwear about 4-1/2 years ago, I have watched with great interest how runners feet contact the ground. Probably 90 % of runners that you see along the road are heel striking. There is one older lady who runs regularly in our neighborhood who has the greatest light, mid-foot strike, and just floats along...wearing regular "running shoes". Whatever happened to most of those who wear that type of shoe, didn't happen to her. Everyone else that you see, though is truckin' along, some fast, some slow, all reaching out with that big rubber clad heel, then slapping that foot down as their weight comes over the top of their extended knee. I did a little experiment that showed me just how your feet should contact the ground. During a run, I encountered a branch and instinctively my foot went toward the side to avoid it. I have a pretty reliable mid-foot strike anyway, but this one was entirely automatic. You can't suddenly jump to one side or the other and land on your heel. You will either get hurt, lose your balance, or at the very least, make an ungainly recovery. Your foot, in a sudden situation, reverts to how it was made. It lands forefoot/mid-foot to give you the best chance of a safe landing. I get most of my revelations about running WHILE RUNNING. I then started trying to re-create the situation. Your foot, left to its own devices, will land naturally to help you avoid an injury. I then tried running backward. Guess what..........it's virtually impossible to heel strike when you are running backward. (Caveat-Probably not a good idea to run backward.) Put your feet in any unusual situation during a run and they will call on those 2 million years of evolution, instantly defeating the running shoe industry's multi-billion dollar campaign to sell you thick rubber heeled shoes in which to stomp along on your run. Therein lies my point. That "Keep on Truckin'" heel strike JUST AIN'T NORMAL. Don't know any other way to say it.

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