Running Style?

Hi everyone, I'm pretty new to the Couch to 5k life- I'm on week 3, but I have a question about how to run most effectively if anyone can help. The podcasts say (if I remember correctly) that the best way to run is to hit the ground with your heel first, but the Couch to 5k 'Tips for new runners' webpage says "Avoid striking the ground with your heel or your forefoot first. Landing on the middle of your foot is the safest way to land for most recreational runners."- I'm very concerned about getiting this right as I have a couple of old injuries on one foot/ankle that I don't want to aggravate- which way is correct?

Thank you in advance!

6 Replies

  • The podcasts get a few things wrong and the bit about heel striking is definitely bad advice.  I think it's hard in practice as a new runner to know where your foot is striking, or do anything much to change it.  One thing that I find helpful is to try to run quietly.  If you watch good runners, they are up on their toes and almost silent.  If there's lots of loud foot flapping going on, try to slow it down / quieten it down. 

  • The way you run normally when you are not giving it a second thought is the correct way. There wil be plenty of time to tweak your form later, is that is your thing, but for now, however the way you have been doing it all your life will be fine for now.

    In fact, one thing that always strikes me when i watch distance runners on TV in teh Olympics and so on, is how wildly disparate their running styles are .

    Please ignore Laura's advice on foot-striking. It is controversial at best and has no place in C25k. Likewise her advice on breathing, which seems to cause more problems than it solves.

  • I'm so glad you said that about the breathing as I gave up on it (on Laura's advice that is...not breathing in general...) as I found it just didn't work for me - I just do what feels right for my body and that seems to be getting me through  

  • Overstriding is the thing that causes problems. The way in which the foot strikes the ground is less important than making sure we don't overstride.  I recommend that you go for a short run barefoot on a smooth concrete path -- you will VERY quickly understand whether you are running "correctly" or not!!!!  If you are not running with good form, your feet will quickly tell you.

  • Agree 100% with Rignold - for now, just do what you do naturally.

    Good luck,


  • When i first heard Laura say strike with heel first I gave it a go and it felt VERY unnatural. When I went for gait analysis I mentioned it to them and they too said it sounded very wrong (plus would play havoc with your knees) . My analysis showed that I tend to run on my toes more rather than striking my whole foot down in one go and that seems to work for me - go with what feels natural for now

You may also like...