Me and Deena seem to have more in common than I thought...
Looks like we BOTH heel strike.
Thanks for pointing that out Kate.
Maybe we really are meant to be BFF's.
I found it interesting how many people said that they heel strike recently in the commentary of this posting. These days there seems to be a major anti-heel striking movement where in the opinions of some, the offenders are guilty of a major crime where they need to be burned at the stake and stripped of their running privileges. With trends like the 0mm heel lift, minimalists shoes, and the craze to be a mid-foot or fore-foot striker, it seems like there aren't many people who are willing to openly come out and say...
"Hey, I heel strike...and you know what, I think it's okay"
So I'm saying it for those who feel like they can't.
I'm not a doctor or foot specialist, I haven't studied biomechanics or read all of the mumbo-jumbo information out there supporting or objecting to the ideal natural running gait. But I have been running since I was 12 where I have seen a whole slew of overuse injuries and even done my own fair share of tinkering with my own gait, where in the end it always ends up the same for me...with the heel strike.
All I really have on my side is logic, and my logic tells me that while we all are made up of the same parts that doesn't necessarily mean that we all are going to function identical to one another.
What works for one person doesn't always work for another person, and who are we to tell our bodies how they are supposed to function?
I tried the whole mid-foot strike transition last year. Dropped the $175 on a pair of crazy orange Newtons that I was convinced would help my legs turnover quicker and guide me more towards that ideal mid-foot strike everyone raves on and on about. After months of slowly building up the distance and time spent in the shoes, I realized that the second I would stop thinking about how my foot was striking would be the exact moment that my legs would once again embrace the heel-strike just like an old friend that they hadn't seen in awhile and couldn't get enough of. It became mentally exhausting to go for even an easy run where my mind had to be fully engaged with what was going on at the feet the entire time, and almost every time I picked up the pace the mid-foot strike was completely gone. It made running too scientific and not fun for me, so I gave up my conquest to find that beautiful mid-foot strike and have instead decided to embrace my grace lacking heel strike.
My non-officially scientific opinion is this...
All of our bodies are biomechanically engineered differently, meaning that we all aren't going to operate the same. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. If you are naturally a mid-foot striker and it feels normal to you, than consider yourself blessed. I'm not now, nor will I most likely ever be, a mid-foot striker...and I no longer care if this makes my running look ugly.
Ugly turnovers can move just as quick as graceful turnovers.
And sometimes even faster.
You can spew all the research at me you want, and reading this may make some runners cringe, but I say long live the heel strike.