Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Common Faults of Form Change to the Fore/Mid Foot

A bit of lunchtime research around the web has thrown up an couple of good posts by Paul Davis on the Barefoot Athlete Blog  the 1st is entitled "Top 4 faults of new forefoot barefoot runners". Paul recent completed Lee Saxby's barefoot running coach course and picked up a few key pointers for developing better fore/mid foot landing technique, outlined below;

FAULT 1: Do not understand that forward motion should happen due to gravity and not through muscular effort pulling their foot back.

FAULT 2: Foot strikes well ahead of their centre of gravity

FAULT 3: Staying on the forefoot

FAULT 4. Excessive upper body movement 

The second post, "What happens when people first start to run in minimalist running shoes?", is a video demonstration of the differences between running in typical shoes (and heel striking), running with a basic (unskilled) forefoot landing and the improvements by learning better forefoot landing. the latter looks like, to the untrained eye, that the runner is landing on the whole of the foot at once (but they are actually landing on the fore/mid foot first and then coming down on the heel).

Both posts are interesting as they highlight the risk of attempting running form change without going through a process of learning the proper technique to do so. If you try switching to barefoot/minimal style too fast and without proper consideration to the changes in form you risk injuring yourself in the process. The learning process should either be done very gradually if you are attempting it solo or with the assistance of a technique course (like the ones run by Lee Saxby). 

I'm currently in this process myself and some elements can be tricky to master (like leaning forwards at the ankles), it's a case of trying to focus on each aspect and through repetitive practice teaching the body to adopt the new techniques. Sometimes I get it right and I can feel the improvement, but it still takes a lot of concentration to maintain, muscles need to adapt/strengthen as well. I'm hoping that gradually my form will improve, become more efficient and, fingers crossed, faster!

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