Forefoot striking

I'm looking for a brief answer about converting to forefoot striking - I know there are numerous threads here, so sorry about any duplication, but (if I can be a bit cheeky) I can't see anything that doesn't head off down the scary path to anorak town. ;-)

I'm coming back from injury number twelvety (over-pronator, ITBS, achilles, shin splints, PFPS etc etc, now a freak patellar tendon thing) and I thought that the gradual return (I'm on five whole one-minute jogs per session now!) would present me with the opportunity to give forefoot striking a go, and to be honest I'm losing hope of ever managing more than three months injury-free if I keep going as I have been. I can cope with 5x1 min easy-peasy (it's glaringly obviously better for my current injury when I run on my forefeet), and I'd hope in the next few weeks/months to build up ultra-slowly from there.

Unfortunately, I'd rather gnaw my own leg off than read Gordon Pirie's book, and I'm far too much of a bitter, twisted cynic to go for the POSE 'run better by buying the book and video combo' route. On the other hand, I do love getting out there and just running hard.

So, to distil it...

Can I just run on my forefeet (changes in cadence, strike point, shoes etc a given) and see how it goes? Or do I have to wear the Forefoot Strikers' Club badge and decoder ring? Equivocating Vicky Pollard-isms are surplus to requirements, if you please!

Bless you all. :-)


  • TmapTmap ✭✭✭
    All you need to do is think about your foot landing under your hip rather than ahead of it and going for a "quiet" footfall.

    The rest just follows on from there - you will find you take faster strides and that you land on the flat or even front of your foot. Don't try anything too weird or you'll just get injured again.

    I kind of liked the Pirie book myself, although he overstates his case. There's a reason we wear ASICS instead of Green Flash these days and it's not just because we're all big girls' blouses.
  • Toomuchapplepie, that's just exactly the type of answer I was after. Much appreciated.

    I'll avoid weirdness at all costs and have a bash (not a twinge tonight from my five lots of one minute). And maybe I'll read Pirie if I feel brave..... ;-)
  • Pirie is da man.

    Other than that I just started landing on the forefoot - didn't really think about anything else - I think it naturally reduces your stride length.

  • The thing to avoid is landing too far forward ie towards the toes. That would mean that your foot was at too steep an angle.

    Land on the ball/midfoot and then drop back to the heel.

    I don't think you should go too minimalist with your shoes - cushioning is good on the concrete (athough there are many on the POSE thread who disagree with this). You need a shoe with good flexibility around the forefoot, fairly light with not much of a gradient from heel to forefoot.

    The other thing is that if you concentrate on lifting your foot , rather than the landing, you will automatically increase your cadence and take shorter strides
  • swerve - i'm going through the transition at the moment! i would recommend getting some racing shoes so that your heels aren't built up too much - i'm getting to the point where i don't like running in my old nike triax shoes because i have to angle my foot down too much in order to get the ball to hit the ground first.

    one thing that always helps me think about the technique is that paula is a fore-foot striker and has quite a recogisable style. when i'm struggling with concentration, i just try and do impressions of her!

    hope this helps

  • You can read the good bits of Pirie in half and hour, and can leave the rest unread for all eternity.

    fwiw, I think your own summary in the initial post contains all the necessary info for a successful conversion.

    I really believe it can help fragile types like me (and apparently you) to run the mileages that normal people run. You still need to follow the rules to avoid injury (build up gently, don't push your luck etc.), but at least it gives you a fighting chance.

    And if you're anything like me, you'll enjoy the fact that you'll race much faster soon after the change (for no apparent reason).
  • Ditto everyone's comments on avoiding built-up heels. I've been forefoot-striking in Puma H-Streets since the end of October and have had no inclination to land on my heels. Instead, I can just relax and land on my mid/forefoot - there's no thought or effort involved!
  • Thanks, everyone.
    Despite what I said, I have just finished reading Pirie (leaving out the pointless twaddle as far as possible, FFG!).

    I am soooo tempted to pop out and buy some racing flats, despite spending the last two or three years in orthopaedic bricks to stave off injury temporarily. But I'll hold off for a couple of weeks and see how it goes in my speediest pair.

    Still having trouble with the concept of foot-striking beneath the body - seems a bit un-physical to me. And I'm too high up on my toes too. Still, I'm never one to give up, so here goes nothing!

    I'll definitely try to think of Paula, Dave. So no change there then!
  • Swerve - if you get the flattest flats you can, and just try and run, you'll find you probably don't heel strike. At least that's how it was with me. You don't need to think about landing on the forefoot - it's only when you try and think too much that you end up on tiptoes.
  • Hmmm... racing flats for me or Christmas presents for the little nephews and nieces?


    They'll understand.
  • Swerve - those what like their forefoot cushioning wouldn't agree, but these are great. And you might have enough change to get presents for the little relatives as well!
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