Girl on Trail: Proper foot striking … is it really that important?

I’m becoming pretty familiar with my feet.

More specifically, I’m becoming familiar with how much abuse they’re getting while I’m training for this half-marathon. My ankles are covered in blisters, the sides of my pinky toes have never-ending peeling skin, and I get weird toe cramps after a long run.

It’s not that I’m wearing the wrong shoes, it’s just that I’m running like a maniac. All the time.

Which, recently, got me thinking about the whole concept of the “foot strike.” In running, this refers to how your feet land on the ground when you run. If you’ve never thought about it while on a run, you will now.

In recent years, the “Chi Running” method made the foot strike concept a little more popular, mostly because it advocates a mid-foot strike as opposed a heel strike—the one that most people use. Talk to 10 different running experts and you’ll probably come away with 10 different opinions about foot strikes. Some believe in toe, some mid-foot, some heel, and some just say to run “naturally.”

Here are the basics behind each type of foot strike. Try them all out and see if you notice a difference in your pace or how you feel after a run:

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