Couch to 5K
60,289 members92,947 posts

Mid-foot strike or heel first when running?

I'm a newbe to this plan, although not really to the whole running thing, as I did a bit of running now and again last year, albeit not very well, as I ended up hurting my right knee a bit.

So far I've had no problems (I've only done the first week though) but listening to the beginning of the second week, Laura mentioned striking the ground with the heel first to prevent injury.

But on the site of the nhs explaining how to run correctly, they say NOT to do that, but to land on the middle of the foot, which I've been doing so far.

So which one is safest or best to do? I don't want to end up hurting my knee again, that was annoying seeing as I couldn't run.

Here's the page:

Thanks in advance.

4 Replies

Generally, the advice is mid-foot is better.

There is plenty of info to support this but there is this article that claims it's down to the type of shoes, that most shoes encourage heel strike!

I suggest you trawl the internet and watch some of the many videos and read the articles for more in depth analysis and then draw your own conclusion. In the end, do what's comfortable for you.


It's worth mentioning that the c25k nhs team have acknowledged that the podcast information (where Laura tells you to lands on your heels) needs updating to be inline with what it says on the website, eventually, after weeks of asking them. But apparently no plans to do so. :(

It frustrates me to think of all the people going out and listening to Laura (who is otherwise wonderful) and changing their running to run in a way more likely to cause injury...


In the early days I ran with a heel strike as Laura had suggested but also because that was the way I ran!! I then read up that mid foot strike was better for you so took a few weeks and some slow runs to adapt to mid foot strike. I then realised that I always had run with a mid foot strike when going up hill which I think lots of runners do anyway. Since changing running all the time to mid foot strike I have found there is less strain on the shins and have had no more shin pain after a run which I did get in the early days. Now I can't be sure if the shin pain was due to being a new runner or the change in foot strike, I will never know. Probably doesn't answer your question but you have to remember everyone is different and what suits one runner will not be right for someone else so try some slow running and while your out there analyse your stride, see which comes most naturally and comfortable for you, also try different terrain i.e. up/down/flat.


You're looking at a good case of plantar faciitis by heel striking. Have a look at this webpage to give you an idea of good running form.


You may also like...