What You Need to Know About Your Triathlon Running Stride

One of the important elements in running is the stride length yet, still, it is overshadowed by foot strike. In fact, foot strike and stride length are linked, but one is more important than the other.




Foot Strike

When runners start talking about the foot meeting the ground, ‘heel strike’ is a term most of them use with disdain. We sometimes even hear discussion on acrobatic ideas of running on one’s toes.

The location where the foot hits the ground in relation to the hip is more important than the part of the foot that touches the ground first. There are many beneficial gains in shortening the stride length so that the foot will touch the ground just millimeters in front of the hip, along with greater efficiency, speed and a reduced possibility of getting injured.

Shorten Your Stride

Heel striking is disapproved by experts because it is usually associated with a longer stride length. A long stride usually happens when the foot is casted forward, and reaching well ahead the body’s center of gravity. This often results in a heel strike. The trouble with this length of stride is not that the heel touches the ground first but, rather, the heel actually crushes into the ground which results a jolt being sent up towards the ankle, knee and finally, the hip.

Slower Pace

The impact slows a runner down. The long stride can also cause vertical oscillation, which wastes energy by the up and down movement, rather than forward motion. As the rest of the body’s mass moves forward, the foot is forced to remain on the ground much longer, because of such a long stride length. A short stride on the other hand, results in less impact, less breaking and thus more efficiency. It also keeps your feet happier because they gets to spend less time on the ground.

More Steps, Less Work

You can check your stride length by counting how many times your feet touch the ground within 10 seconds. The normal number should be around 30. Try it again on your next run and see if you can come up with fewer than 30 steps while trying to shorten your stride. At first, it may feel very uncomfortable, and may require you to exert more effort than usual.

You may need to shorten your running distance for the next few weeks while you are still working on changing your length of stride. In no time, your body can adapt to this new style and even perform much better because of it. Always focus your mind on placing your foot on the ground almost under your hip as this will result in an increase in your turnover. While the foot is on the ground, for a short time only, your body should feel steady and smooth as your legs roll just like wheels beneath you.

Always remember that as long as your foot lands more or less under your hip, it will not matter that much whether it’s your heel, the mid-foot, or the ball that touches the ground first.

Happy striding!


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