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Which Part of My Foot Should I Land on When Running?

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Updated May 16, 2014

A woman hands out bananas to runners running the ING New York City Marathon on November 3, 2013 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. With the Boston Marathon bombing from earlier this year still fresh in many minds, security is especially high this year at the New York City marathon.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Question: Which Part of My Foot Should I Land on When Running?

"I tend to run on my toes, but someone told me it's better to land mid-sole. Where should I land when running?"

Answer: Yes, the middle of your foot is the best place to land when running. You should land mid-sole and then roll through to the front of your toes.

You definitely do not want to be a heel-striker. If you land on your heels, you are stopping your forward momentum and causing undue stress on your knees. Landing on your toes causes your calves to do too much work, which can lead to shin splints. Running on your toes can also lead to bouncing, which is an inefficient way to run.

To determine what type of footstriker you are, pay attention to which part of foot you're landing on when you're running. If you're a heel-striker or toe-striker, you can try to switch to landing on your mid-sole by not overstriding. Make sure that you don't lunge forward with your feet. Focus on landing on the balls of your feet, with your foot directly underneath your body with every step. A short, low arm swing is the key to keeping your stride short and close to the ground. You can practice changing your footstrike during shorter runs at first, and then work your way up to doing it during longer runs.

Learn more about proper running form.

Also see:
How to Avoid Bouncing When Running
How to Improve Your Stride Turnover

 

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