Running on toes

Quick question for anyone who's ever changed their running style to run on their forefoot - how long does it take before you start getting used to it?! Any tips? I have slightly sore calves, but I guess this is to be expected.


  • I ran on my forefoot all my life until last year when my achilles went! So its the opposite for me and over a year of running normally? I still find it slower than running on my toes. I think running on your forefoot helps you move quicker because you push off quicker. Wish I could go back to forefoot!
  • I don't but ive got a friend who does and she just switched to the Newton running shoes. These are designed so the the foot strikes on the forefoot. She say that she is running faster without having to concentrate on the footstrike because the shoes are doing the work for them. Check them out on although this is an American site there are plenty of UK distributers.
  • Why run on your toes??  Sounds interesting
  • Some people do it's natural for them!
  • I think running on the toes isn't quite the right description - it's more the ball of the foot (as opposed to heel striking or mid-foot).

    I've quite recently adjusted to forefoot running, not all the time and I still do a mixture of mid-foot and sometimes heel striking, but it does feel quite natural now. For me it was quite a gradual process and not entirely a concious one.

  • would it help hufferers of heel injurys?
  • I think it's a VERY contensious issue judging by the other threads on this site... Some people - including my physio - think it reduces injuries, by minimising the impact on heel, achilles, knee and hip. I have suffered from really bad shin splints in the past, and now I'm training for my 2nd FLM I could feel them coming back again. Since changing to forefoot (you're right Juliefrazz, it's not on your toes exactly) running last week I haven't had any of usual shin, foot or knee pain, which is v reassuring. The trouble is, it's making me a lot slower because the other muscles I need to use are not sufficiently developed.

     That said, my run home last night felt a lot easier... and I was getting back to my normal speed. Not sure I'll be able to keep it up for 26.2 miles though! Fingers crossed...

    So yes - Damian - it might help sufferers of heel injuries... but I'm no expert, and I'm sure A LOT of people on this forum would tell you otherwise. So it's probably best to read the other threads (look up POSE method), or to see a physio...

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    I switched from heel striking to fore/mid-foot landing in January ... felt wierd for a week or two and I had sore calves until they got conditioned. Looking back at my notes, it seemed to take 8 runs before I made a comment that it felt "natural". On the 9th run I set a 5K PB. It helped my knee problem (ITBS) ... I have no knee problem now. I have been having some shin issues though ... but fairly minor and nothing on the scale of the ITBS.

    More techo discussion here...

  • That's encouraging, thanks...

    One thing I've read is that you're meant to ensure your foot lands underneath your hips / body when running this way. It's very hard to tell when running if this is what you're doing! I got someone to watch me last night (admittedly running inside so a bit forced) and he said my feet were slightly in front when landing, but I couldn't figure out how to alter it. Other than leaning forward, but I was also told to keep my body completely upright.

     Slowly but surely I'm beginning to realise the significance of good technique...!

  • I gave it a go a couple of weeks ago for a week - but couldn't really get on with it as I was getting really sore knees after the sore calves went away. I'll try again after FLM.

    I've found that practising on a treadmill is actually quite good since the surface remains constant, is quite forgiving and you're able to maintain a given speed so you can experiment with posture and gait. Good if you can get a mirror in there as well so you can self-correct.

    You're supposed to "lean" at the ankles with POSE. A way to demonstrate is to bounce up and down on the ball of your feet, keeping your body straight and your arms straight down at the sides.

    Then lean forward at the ankles and see what happens image

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    I found the various video clips here useful ...

  • Since the technical stuff has started I seem to have both feet in the air when I see photographs taken during races. Unfortunately they must also hit the ground between strides!!!

    I will continue to refer to it as running on my toes as opposed to running on my b.... cause it sounds better. Would love to get back to running on my toes and slowly I am.

  • George Kennedy, what I have read in the past, running on your toes will cause achillees injuires. Midfoot striking will take the stress off , especially the calf muscle. Only about 20% land on midfoot, the rest seem to be running with their brakes on, on their heels. Why power yourself when you can use gravity to propell you forward. The kenyans don't have massive calf muscles like the rest of us and their style seems for fluid.
  • Hi Tom I have ran on my toes in 100's of races and my first and hopefully only achilles injury occured last year. I put it down to changing trainers because I was doing 3 marathons so I thought I should go for a better cushioned shoe. With me running on my toes was natural as a kid I walked on them! Like your thoughts!!!
  • George, I could understand running on your toes if you were a sprint man. On shorter stuff like 100,200,400, 800 for sure. I wouldn't go all the way back to heel running, but you might like running on your midfoot . New Balance has a shoe for the midfoot striker. Be carefull not to retear the ach running on your toes. You are a better judge about what works best for you. Just be aware of what might can be the cause of injury. Also were you actually up on your toes the entire distance or do you settle down on the ball of the foot? I imagine even me for a short sprint up on the toes , but then I have to settle in to a midfoot strike.  Wish I could help you on a shoe, but not knowlegable about it.

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