Heel striking video
In this video you will notice a Force Curve showing the amount of force transferred
to the human skeletal system when the foot impacts the ground. With a traditional
heel striking form, the force curve shows a significant impact transient force when
the heel lands. This transient force is an unnecessary force that we inflict on
the body by utilizing a heel striking form. Over time this impact transient force
becomes magnified and it has been believed to contribute to injury.
The proper barefoot form video
With proper Barefoot form the force curve has a smooth line indicating a natural
transfer of energy to and from the body. You will notice unlike in the heel striking
video above, the impact transient force is nonexistent when the runner utilizes
a proper barefoot running form.
Important points to remember:
- Do not over stride (this means landing with your foot too far in
front of your hips). Over striding while forefoot or midfoot striking requires you
to point your toe more than necessary, adding stress to the calf muscles, Achilles
tendon, and the arch of the foot. It often feels as if your feet are
striking the ground beneath your hips. It is similar to the way one’s feet
land when skipping rope or when running in place (as runners sometimes do when waiting
to cross a street).
- Not sure if you’re landing properly? Try running totally barefoot
on a hard, smooth surface (e.g. pavement) that is free of debris. Sensory feedback
will quickly tell you if you are landing too hard. Conversely, if you run barefoot
on too soft a surface, like a beach, you might not learn proper form.
- If you just can’t seem to get the feel for landing on your midfoot, try the
following to get better acclimated:
- walk backwards leaning slightly forward. Then try to do it faster, making
sure there are no obstacles in your way
- walk or run (slowly is okay) up a steep-ish hill. It is practically impossible
to strike heel first
- jump on two feet and see how you land
- run in place, and make an effort to lean forward a little and lift your thighs
- Always be patient, and build gradually. It can take several months
to a year to make the transition to running in Vibram FiveFingers®.It takes time for your
feet and lower legs to increase strength and mobility.
- A gradual transition doesn’t mean a setback in your training.
Running in Vibram FiveFingers® requires a significant increase in lower leg and foot
strength. A gradual transition is critical to avoid overuse injuries. If running
is your primary form of exercise, gradually increase the proportion of forefoot
or mid-foot striking by about 10% per week over the course of several months as
you reduce running in your old style. Remember, this is an experiment to find something
that suits you. To make a clean break from traditional heel striking, supplement
running with biking, swimming, cardio machines, and fitness classes to maintain
your fitness level, while giving primary running muscles a chance to recover.