Transitioning to mid-foot striking for a half marathon


I'm having some problems with patellofemoral pain syndrome which was essentially brought on by overuse - 2 months of doing 3 x 10-14 miles per week

It's alot better now after some physio but still niggling.  I tried mid-foot striking the other night and the pain was largely gone.

However, I've heard it takes a while to transition so I'm wondering if anyone has any insight into whether it would be feasible to buy a pair of "transition" shoes and be able to run the Glasgow Half this way in about 8 weeks time?

Also, any tips or experience from others who've done this would be much appreciated.




  • what are you transitioning from and to?

  • From heel striking to mid foot striking

  • I am no expert but as i understand it you can mid foot strike in normal running shoes? 

  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭

    I went from heel strike to fore/mid-foot strike.  It took maybe six months to a year.  No such thing as 'transition' shoes - you're either changing the way you run or you're not.  It gives you aches and pains in places you're not used to.  You run slower than you used to, until the newly used areas are strengthened.  Then you run faster because your form is better.

    You will want to try out all sorts of drills, "barefoot" running, exercises and techniques until you find what helps you to feel natural when running in the new style.  Sprinting helps too, in a controlled environment like an athletics club.  You can probably sense from this list that 8 weeks is a little bit short to fit in a lot of body changing exercise!  But you can still run the half, you just won't be ready...

  • I'm with Ratzer on this one, it took me 6 months to go from heel strike to fore/mid-foot strike and to be able to cover a 10km comfortably. And another three months to get from there to being able to complete a half marathon in a decent time.

    If you want to transition, then do it slowly - don't rush to do it in 8 weeks, you might spare yourself further patellofemoral pain but end up with a gastroc or achilles injury!

  • There are shoes which will help you transition from heel-striking to mid-foot. If you wear large padded stability shoes you will find it much harder to mid foot strike due to the size of the heel on the shoe. A shoe such as the Brooks Pure Cadence which has a low heel and less "padding" will encourage you and make it a more natural feeling to mid foot strike.

    I am no expert but its what im doing right now after having knee pain wearing stabilty trainers and thought i would try it myself. I agree with ratzer and think you should read more on barefoot running techniques.


  • When I started running a few years back I read that midfoot was the way to go. There was a lot of pain, though I put this down to my sedentary lifestyle being beaten in to submission. Don't over cook it and go to far forwards as that will really hurt the calves.

    Even with my loud slapping mid-foot strike I still wear stability shoes (GT-2160).

    Good luck.

  • From some recent research I have read it would appear that Neuromuscular Coordination Training might be of benefit.  Strengthening your quadriceps could also be of great assistance as well.

    It's hardly surprising that even after physio you are still having problems.  PFP can drag on and on.  

    I summaraised the details of the research here:

  • The thing to focus on is your hips. If your hips are forward the feet will naturally land directly under your body on striking the floor and this will bring your footstrike to the mid food

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