Why you should listen to your foot strike while running

7 August 2020 | Category: Running Technique Advice

RUNNING SOUNDS CONTAIN CLUES FOR INJURY PREVENTION

My sessions are all on either two surfaces – artificial turf or grass. One of the main advantages to these two surfaces is they magnify the noise of the athletes foot strike and toe off, especially when wet.

This helps greatly in identifying issues and problems with athletes running gait and foot contacts. I would implore all runners next time they are running on a ‘loose’ or wet surface, to listen to their feet and their ground contact!! Things to listen for are the length of the noise – is one foot on the ground LONGER than the other?
Also listen for one noise being LOUDER than the other – are you transferring your weight unevenly. Is one leg doing more work than the other.

Listen to the type of noise – does your non-dominant leg make a pulling/scaping noise? Does it make a noise consistent with twisting? Does it make a double noise – your heel hitting the ground and then the front of your foot on each contact?

I’m sure a number of you are thinking right now, ‘of all the times I’ve run, and I’ve heard my feet, I have never really listened or examined the noise of them!’ It is often suggested, ‘runners wishing to reduce the forces going through their joints may be able to achieve this simply by reducing the sound of their foot strike’, you should be very aware the noises are rarely caused by the feet alone, so trying to just reduce noise could actually move you closer to injury! This method of gait retraining is very traditional but only focuses on the “outcome” of the movement rather than the stimulus causing the movement, and therefore the noise.

Foot Strike & Running Technique

For more on this topic, check out the article and introductory video on Timing of Your Movement When Running, and the intro video on Self Awareness which both help to give a framework of how to identify your own technique and becoming aware of your movement patterns. 

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