There’s nothing quite like going for a good run, getting those endorphins going and enjoying that sense of achievement. However, evidence has shown that your running style, while presenting numerous positive health benefits, can also negatively affect the joints of the lower limb and spine, if not done properly. Obviously everybody is a little different and even the “correct” running style cannot guarantee pain free knees and other joints in your body but the aim is to reduce any unnecessary stress or load in these areas.
So what are the different styles?
TYPE 1: THE HEEL STRIKE RUNNER
The heel strike runner (HSR) lands heel first. The heel is designed to be the point of first contact when walking. However, running is much higher impact, putting higher loads through your legs. The heel does not provide enough shock absorption or cushioning to reduce this loads.
TYPE 2: THE MID FOOT RUNNER
The mid fott runner (MFR) lands on the part of the foot between the heel and ball of the foot. This provides a little more cushioning and shock absorption than a HSR, however it is is still not ideal.
TYPE 3: THE FORE FOOT RUNNER
The fore foot runner (FFR) lands on the ball of the foot which provides the most amountof cushioning and shock absorption for your knee joints.
This style of running relies mainly on your muscles to do the work. Due to muscles elastic nature (compared to your heel bone), more impact can be safely absorbed (provided these muscles are adequately strong/trained).
Have a look below at the different styles and how that can impact your running stride. You’ll notice that HSR tend to have a bigger stride or step length than a FFR.
So, if you want to start changing your style of running, one of the first things you can do is try reducing the length of your strides which will make it easier to land on the ball of your foot. But remember, changing your running style is like breaking a bad habit – it takes time and discipline.
It’s best to run for as long as you can maintain this new style and then stop, otherwise you will be trying to form a new habit while still doing the old one. It would be the equivalent of giving up chocolate for fruit, except for when you’re tired it makes it much harder to give it up rather than saying “no” altogether
But don’t panic! This post is not about giving up chocolate – just your old running style.