As the name goes, a heel strike is whereby the foot hits the ground heel first in the foot strike phase of walking or running.
From the photo of your tread, it looks like you are wearing the heel of your shoes. This is indicative of what is called heel-striking: landing each stride on your heel, generally with a straight leg. It may not be that you’re landing every stride like this, but it’s happening enough that it looks like it might be an issue.
Here is what Coach Albert has to say about the heel strike:
There are a couple of issues with this type of running:
First, the shock of landing travels through your bones up your leg, compressing your joints. If you try taking off your shoes and running landing on your heels, you’ll immediately feel pain landing on your heels. Cushion in the shoes masks this, but it does build up and means you are wearing yourself out faster than you need to. Second, the excessive wear of the rubber is indicative of a braking, meaning you’re using the heel of your shoes to slow yourself down as part of your stride. Of course, you don’t want to be slowing yourself down while you’re running!Heel striking is a fairly common running issue, and many running shoes are built to accommodate this type of running style.
Well, Enda shoes are different. Our shoes are designed to work primarily with a midfoot landing, which is nearly universal amongst Kenyan athletes and is generally regarded as the most efficient way to run.
In order to start transitioning to running with a midfoot landing, there are three things you can work on:
1) Practice your running posture.
If you start running standing straight, you might keep that same posture and end up striking the ground with a straight leg.
Before you take your first step, bend your knees slightly and slowly shift your weight forward off your heels. This is roughly the position you want to be in when your foot hits the ground, with your knee bent and directly under your centre of mass.
As you take your first steps, move slowly and see what it feels like to maintain this posture as you slowly speed up.
Coach Albert shows a great set of exercises in the video above. You could do these before or after your run, or indeed another time during the day if you prefer. Ideally, you should start doing these exercises for about 4-5 minutes daily.
2) Start doing foot and calf strengthening exercises.
Hopefully, you’re stretching for 5-10 minutes after each run already, but if you’re not, make sure to start. As you start adjusting your stride, you’ll be using different muscles and tendons, and they will tighten up. Make sure you are especially stretching your calves so you don’t tighten up too much.
Keep using the above techniques for at least three months and let us know if they have helped in making you run better.