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Forefoot running technique

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If you think about it, the most energy zapping moment when you run actually happens when your foot comes in contact with the ground, often referred to as the 'Breaking Phase'. It's at this point when your body is travelling at velocity comes against an opposing force (the ground) causing inertia (resistance). The more area of the foot that makes contact with the ground, the greater resistance, this will reduce performance and increase fatigue. Therefore, it's safe to say that the way to improve performance is to reduce ground force reaction time (breaking phase) - land on the the front of your foot than landing the full heel to toe action.
If this is the case, why would anyone not do this technique?  

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Fact - landing on the ground using a smaller range of muscle groups makes injury far more likely than landing on the ground using a broader range of muscle groups. This is one of the greatest reasons why runners, whom originally injury free, end up being carried in to our clinic feet first with calf and achillies injuries saying 'I was only trying to improve my running style!'  When we run forefoot, nearly all the pressure is loaded up into the calves instead of the load being shared across the ankle joint, the heel fatty tissue pad, and surrounding rear foot, mid foot muscle groups. Some of us have found this out the hard way when trying all of a sudden to run like a natural forefooted Kenyan ! 

The cold sobering truth of it all is that although forefoot running does make logical sense, it doesn't fit with most of our own physical ability. Conditioning (to train your body to be bullet proof and resilient to injury) is individual to our own unique set up. Some of us fall so far below the flexibility or strength to migrate to forefoot, it would be end up causing more harm than good. 

To summarise - be very cautious to changing to forefoot running unless you have been tested by an experienced running specialist who will take you through a range of specific drills to determine the risk outcome comparing injury performance against likeliness of injury. Reading a book doesn't always qualify you to advise on running technique. Always see a professional who has running injury and rehabilitation knowledge, avoid specialists bias to one running style, don't forget... we're all individuals! 


Use these to read further spotlights

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Forefoot running
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Why stretch
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Single leg squats
Glutes, are you standing comfortably?
Squat test
Migrating to a minimalist shoe
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Medial Shin Splints
The cumulative effect
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