Charlotte Running – What is the right style?

I was recently at the Running Medicine Update 2011 Conference and took some valuable information home with me. One of the most discussed topic at the moment is the difference between rear-foot striking and fore-foot striking and what is actually better for you.

Biomechanical Analysis at the moment show no evidence of the superiority of fore-foot striking versus rear foot striking in regards of injuries and speed. Of more importance were other mechanics.

  1. Increasing the cadence the cadence reduces the rise and fall of center of mass which implicates a lesser metabolic effort. The optimal cadence is (88-92/min). Once the cadence is above 94/min the metabolic output is increased.
  2. There also seems a significant decrease in loading to the hip and knee when running at a higher cadence.
  3. The benefit of shorter strides seem to increase with higher run mileage.
  4. Running barefoot is not necessarily better than shod. Just because you run barefoot does not mean your running style improves as measurements with force-plates have shown.
  5. More research into the field is still needed.
  6. Running barefoot seems to decrease the VO2 at the time due to lesser weight on the food.
  7. Shod running:
    1. increased knee flexion torque – 36%
    2. increased knee varus torque – 38%
    3. Increased hip internal rotation torque – 54%
  8. More research needs to be done to find out if those differences cause injuries.
  9. Should you make changes changes to your running make sure they are gradual and be aware that as of the moment cadence and stride length may be more important than strike pattern.

 I am very careful if/when I change the running style of a personal training client and usually leave everything alone as long as the client does not have any pain or other issues that needs to be addressed.

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