Friday, July 16, 2010

The Rake Mystery Solved

So the woman with the rake on the running path was my friend Carrie. We ran down to the local sand volleyball courts in the morning to do some technique work. After raking a swath of sand smooth, we ran down the smooth part so that we could take a look at our footprints and analyze our foot strike patterns and running gait. This technique of evaluation is suggested in the book Chi Running, and I've done it before and found it very useful. I think it would've been more helpful if the sand had been damp as you get a better footprint impression, so maybe next time we decide to do this, we'll wait for the morning after a light sprinkling of rain.

One thing I noticed from the last time I did this is that I have definitely moved to a mid-foot strike. I can thank Chi Running and my years of running in the Vibram Five Fingers for that I guess.

So here is what we were looking for in evaluating our footprints:

This is a midfoot strike. Thankfully most of our footprints looked like this!

Then, we deliberately tried to run with a heel strike for comparison's sake. This was surprisingly difficult now that I've trained myself out of doing it. It's hard to believe I used to run this way all the time, it feels so clunky and heavy now. You can definitely see where the heel leaves a much deeper impression and a push-off on the back end of the heel.

We also looked at whether our feet were tracking straight, and discovered that each of us has a foot that points slightly out, which spells future knee trouble if you don't address it. All in all, it's a good diagnostic tool to use!


Tri-James said...

That is a neat idea. I moved to a fore front / mid front strike about 10 years ago. I can’t hardly bring myself to heel strike anymore either.

Robin said...

I know, it feels so weird, doesn't it? It's been about 5 years for me, and the proof in the pudding is no running injuries in those 5 years!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Great idea, this looks like fun. Thanks for sharing.