This post is an update relating to a few of my other running-form related posts during September of this year. The subject has been about shifting form. After some time off for an unrelated injury, getting going again has prompted me to again focus on how best to “think about” this targeted form:
Image via Wikipedia
a) toe-heel foot strike, rather than heel-toe, just toe, or even flat
b) stride shortening
c) foot plant is below, rather than ahead of, center of gravity
At the outset, I primarily focused on the plant being toe-first, but noticed that this was difficult to do with a typical reaching stride. This led to focusing on shortening stride in order to enable the toe to plant more easily. This too felt odd until adding to the mix a slight shift forward in the center of gravity, and it all seemed to come together.
Image via Wikipedia (finding center of gravity)
With these three things in mind, along with a 180 stride per minute cadence as a guide, the new form has been feeling more natural. To keep things interesting, I am still alternating between my normal (Asics) treads and my newly acquired Newtons (Sir Isaacs).
The question then becomes whether one needs the altered shoe, if the mind can be trained to follow the more barefooty form. Ultimately, perhaps not – but that remains to be seen. For now, the Newtons allow doing it with much less thought. With all else being the same, there is still an opportunity for subtle differences (and a mental leap) in the plant – just slightly flatter than toe-heel – even if ever so slight. And it makes a very big difference.
When things become more second nature, I may throw in some focus on how the height of knee-raise, as well as of heel kick, impact how the form feels and performs.
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