Any drills/advice for moving from a heel strike to a mid/forefoot strike?

#1
In my fevered bid to BQ in 2021 I have started working with a coach at my local running store. For me the primary purpose of this is simple accountability, but I still consider myself a marathon novice, so having a tailored workout plan (rather than one of the many successful off-the-shelf ones) is also helpful. While I am pretty confident that my fitness is where it needs to be for this to be a realistic goal, he has made some minor suggestions on form, namely trying to move from a heel strike (which I am completely guilty of) to a mid or forefoot strike in the name of efficiency.

Trying for a forefoot strike feels almost comical to me (like I am tip-toeing) and my coach has offered little in the way of advice here, other than being actively conscious of form (and re-checking it throughout the run). I have found some success running on the treadmill because there are no surprises, which lets me completely zone out and focus solely on form (the mirrors at the gym also aid in this).

In the absence of explicit direction from my coach I have done the obvious thing and turn to youtube! One drill, which has been suggested and seems pretty easy, is to stand on one leg and attempt to balance on my forefoot rather than my heel.

Just curious if anyone here has had any luck whittling away at this sort of form-adjustment goal and, if so, what worked for you? Alternatively, should I just say nuts to this guy and keep heel striking away?
 
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Joe

Administrator
Staff member
#2
There's some tips in this thread that may help: https://talk.runningwarehouse.com/i...ng-gait-change-as-you-mature-as-a-runner.268/

Readers digest: hill reps, sprint drills (A, B, C Skips, butt kicks), and short, faster bursts of speed ie 100-200's strides/accelerations tend to improve form over time. Sounds weird for a marathoner, but you rarely see anyone with a competitive track background who takes on the marathon and has poor form. Monitoring your turnover within a uptempo type run (16 or more rights for 10 seconds) indicates your foot is landing under your center of mass which is ideal.

The link above should help explain in greater detail the concepts listed above. Good luck!

Joe
 
#3
For me the single biggest factor in where my foot strikes is my cadence (steps per min). At faster speeds (half marathon pace and faster for me) I naturally increase cadence and I don’t really have to think about it at all to strike on midfoot/forefoot. At slower speeds (including marathon pace for me) I have to focus to keep my cadence up. The “magic number” of 180 steps per min does actually work for me in this case as I usually find it easy to land midfoot and quickly spring off when I get my cadence up to 180. If I lose focus or get tired I find my cadence slows to closer to 170 and I start going back onto my heels with my foot strike.
 
#4
For me the single biggest factor in where my foot strikes is my cadence (steps per min). At faster speeds (half marathon pace and faster for me) I naturally increase cadence and I don’t really have to think about it at all to strike on midfoot/forefoot. At slower speeds (including marathon pace for me) I have to focus to keep my cadence up. The “magic number” of 180 steps per min does actually work for me in this case as I usually find it easy to land midfoot and quickly spring off when I get my cadence up to 180. If I lose focus or get tired I find my cadence slows to closer to 170 and I start going back onto my heels with my foot strike.
Thanks - I have only recently upgraded from a first gen apple watch to a garmin, so this is a metric that I will keep an eye on (and be mindful of during my run)
 
#7
Well a drill I like is the warrior pose and then turn it into a forward-facing pose to how you would look when running. Front leg bent. Gradually shift your body weight forward onto your lead/bent led and then experiment lifting your trailing leg. When your body weight is more shifted forward on top of the lead leg, the trailing leg lifts much easier from the ground in a very natural way. If your body weight is favored towards the trailing leg, it is much more cumbersome and laborious to go thru your running gait cycle.
 
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