Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

THE QUESTION

I have heard that there is a difference between heel-strike running and mid-foot running. Can you explain?

THE ANSWER

Story continues below advertisement

The most obvious difference between running styles has to do with the portion of your foot that makes initial contact with the ground. In heel-strike running you land on your heel, then roll forward though your mid-foot and finally push off with your toes. In mid-foot running, the middle portion of the foot hits the ground first. This allows the runner to bypass the time they waste landing on their heel.

Instead, the athlete can immediately push off with their toes, which facilitates a higher leg turnover rate per minute. This gives the runner the potential to run faster, with less effort.

The other difference between the two running styles is the location of your foot in relation to your body when it hits the ground.

When you heel strike, your foot hits the ground slightly in front of your body. This causes minute breaking actions and pushes you slightly backward with every foot strike. Your body has to use extra muscular force to resist the backward push and propel you forward.

With mid-foot running your foot lands directly under the hips, and helps maintain your forward momentum.

Special note: If you are interested in adopting a mid-foot running style, talk to a running coach and read up on the subject so you can make the transition to a new running style slowly and safely.

Trainer's tip

Story continues below advertisement

If you're a recreational runner, don't disregard this column because you think you don't need to be aware of subtle changes in running form. Whether you run for one minute or two hours, proper running form can minimize the amount of work your body has to do, and reduce your risk of injury.





Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter

Click here to see Q&As from all of our health experts.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies