Friday, January 22, 2010
I've been reading alot about heel-striking lately, and the effort to improve your stride. Now focusing on 70.3's and IM's, I'm beginning to question if I should review my stride and look for ways to improve it (if there is one).
Running stride alterations to improve efficiency can help improve your marathon and Ironman triathalon time considerably. In these endurance events it is all about conserving energy and being efficient. Its not really about how fast you go, but how little you slow down.
I am a podiatric surgeon with an area of expertise in running biomechanics. I am also a 4-time Ironman finisher. I am not particularly fast (P.R. of 10:59:57), but have been improving considerably over the past year by simply modifying my stride. I now run more upright/forward, at a much higher cadence and with a shorter stride. I also have much less heel strike.
You may simply be able to evaluate your stride by looking at the wear pattern on the soles of your shoes. That is why I always examine my patient's running shoes during their evaluation. Most podiatrists specializing in running injuries will do this.
Having an expert watch you run is helpful. Your local podiatrist, triathlon coach, running coach, etc. can help. Short of this, you should capture some video (from the rear and from the side) so you can see what you foot strike is currently, and how it improves over time.
Dr. Christopher Segler is an Ironman triathlete and award winning foot doctor specializing in endurance athletes. He lives and trains in the San Francisco Bay Area.