I've heard a lot of different opinions on running form, and I'm guessing that I'm going to hear at least a few different ones in the replies to this. But my question is: what (at least in your opinion) is the best running form? And what kind of footwear should I wear? (I would say, "if any," but I have nowhere good to run in bare feet--just an asphalt road.)
At this point, I'm trying to run without hitting my heels (so, more from the fore-foot than the back), although I haven't tried this that often. I think that I usually run with my heels, but not with a lot of dependence on them, since I'm more of a runner than a jogger (? Is about eight mph-average running?). (I've heard of Chi Running, but don't quite get how to do it.) I'm fairly sure that ball-foot running is the way to go; I think I just have to practice using it more. I wear regular running sneakers, specifically Nike Air 2, which are light and breathable but certainly not minimalist. I've heard contradicting reports on minimalist running shoes--that they make running easier and better for the muscles, bones, etc., and that they hurt like a you-know-what. Opinions & facts on that?
Help would be awesome! Thank you in advance!
Alright man here's MY opinion based on a bunch of reading and expert video...
Proper Running Form:
Feet - should never extent beyond the vertical plane of the body, meaning that they should never drift much further than your vertical position according to the ground (straight up and down with the body).
- should always land on the ball of your foot, front portion.
- Bend slightly from your feet to act as a self proportion mechanism (this is in contrast to some peoples opinions that while running you should slightly bend at the waist)
Shoes - should have adequate play when bent, the more play equals the LESS support your foot will need
- should be fitted according to your arch, more arch equals more support. You can be fitted professionally or have a friend visually inspect your arch, OR do a paper test (wet your feet and walk across paper, wider the arch of the footprint flatter the foot)
Barefoot Running -makes your feet work different muscles as well as your legs (promoting strength)
- there are many many exercises you can do to strengthen the foot to accommodate the added stress to your feet
- Skeletoes or barefoot shoes can be worn to elude rocks and stuff
- barefoot running, or mimimalistic shoes promote a better relationship with your body and running, and promotes an entirely new relationship between you the runner, and your greatest tool, your feet.
I've been researching a TON about minimalist shoes, and I've decided to ask for Bikila LS Virbrams for my birthday.
From what I read, the good certainly outweigh the bad, and the initial pain goes away once you get used to proper form.
Thank you a TON for those running guidelines. Seriously. That's exactly the kind of response I was looking for! I found that, once I started focusing running on the balls of my feet, my form kind of fell into place, and I understood the Chi Running form (in leaning the entire body to propel yourself). Shoes, however, are more of a problem, as I have yet to save up for minimalist running shoes, and don't want to run barefoot, as my only turf choices are asphalt road and high-ish grass with lots of uneven levels and red-ant piles (I'm also kind of scared of stepping on glass or rocks, etc.). (I would LOVE having a good dirt/grass path, though--I've always wanted to be able to run barefoot.) My current sneakers bend more than your average running shoes, I would say, but certainly could be upgraded to minimalist.
I've been looking into them, too! And yeah, I was kind of scared of the pain, but apparently I'll get used to it after awhile, like you said, and better form and strength is definitely worth it. Vibrams seem like a good shoe, although they're about the only ones I know of that have toes. I figure that you'll get as close to barefoot running as you could with those shoes, since they're lacking any real heel or arch support (which is alright for me, since I have somewhat high arches).
Haha no problem, glad it helped.
I'd be kinda cautious though if you have high arches (kinda high arches). My Girlfriend has high arches and was a runner, and also works at a place where she walks for 8hrs a day. She definitely had to get insoles or shoes with better support for her arch cause her dogs were ah barkin!
I'm just saying that you might want to take the previous posters advice and "ease" into barefoot on account of the lack of support. High arches can also collapse which is painful and requires surgery (not trying to scare you haha, just word of caution).
You sound like you're doing your research and stuff though so I think you've got it. Best of luck to you with your running :D.