Stopping My Heel Striking By Changing My Gait

running gait

Now that I’m training for another marathon (that’s in less than a month) I’m starting to get back up in mileage. I’m running around 20-25 miles a week right now and my long runs are over 10 miles. My runs during the week are getting longer, too — I went out for 7 miles this morning before work, which is just under an hour of running.

Getting to double-digit mileage in one run is a big change compared to going out and running a few miles. The longer you run the more you start to notice the need for good form, a good warm-up and good nutrition. Neglecting any of these can result in some type of weird injury that will stop anyone from running.

I say this because after running this much there’s one thing that’s become clear — I’m a heel striker. It’s not the worse thing in the world when you’re running shorter distances but as I ran more and more I could tell that things were hurting that shouldn’t be. My gait is way off and it was causing some pretty serious pain.

These weren’t muscles that were hurting, they were knees, hips, IT band, arch of my foot and top of my foot. All things that can kill any hopes of running a marathon faster than I can eat a tub of hummus.

For the past week or so I’ve been figuring out a way to battle these types of pains I’ve been feeling but it never hit me that my heel striking was the root of the problem. After thinking more about it and talking to one of my buddies who is a running maniac I put it all together and decided to do something about it. I decided to completely change my gait¬†and go from heel striking to mid-foot strike.

I didn’t really think about the fact that changing my gait is a big deal and that my muscles were going to hate me for it and I just went and did it. On my longest run so far. Yeah, that wasn’t the best idea.

For the next 4-5 days my calves were as sore as they’ve even been in my entire life and I was a little worried that I had done some serious damage. But, after time went on they healed up, became less sore and at this point I’m back to my old pace while running without much, if any, heel striking.

I can tell that putting the pressure on my calves instead of my joints is the much better way to go and ever since changing my gait I’ve had no other types of pain that I need to be worried about. I can tell my calves are still getting used to me running on my mid-foot but it’s only a matter of time before they’re used to it.

I’m really happy I made the change to my gait and if you’re heel striking you might want to think about changing yours, too. Just take it easier than I did and change it gradually. Your calves will thank you for it.

 

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