Week 3: Understanding footstrike and pronation
Our six-week training guide is designed to help you unlock your best running self. Last week we looked at improving your speed, this week it’s all about how your feet land when you run.
We’ll be looking at:
Footstrike – which part of your foot hits the ground first when you run, your forefoot, midfoot or rearfoot
Pronation – the inward rolling motion of your foot after you land
Looking at footstrike and pronation can help you identify any imbalances that could increase your injury risk, and can even help you choose your perfect running shoes.
Week 3 training
This week, you’ll be completing three different runs. The first run will focus on footstrike, the following two runs focus on pronation. You’ll then follow the targeted exercise plans to work on improving any weaknesses.
Run 1: Footstrike run
For this run you’re going to be using NURVV Run’s unique Footstrike Trainer feature. Footstrike Trainer is available when you’re using NURVV in Indoor Run mode. (If you don’t have access to a treadmill, you can use Indoor Run outdoors to monitor footstrike, thanks to our navigation system you will be provided with all your running metrics accurately, but the map won’t be available.
- In the NURVV Run app, hit Indoor Run and swipe left to see how your foot lands with live, in-run footstrike data.
- Run with your normal footstrike for a few minutes to get an idea of how each of your feet typically land.
- Now try purposely landing with another part of your foot for a few minutes. Experiment with landing on your mid-, rear- and forefoot.
- Have a play with speed and incline to see if that affects your typical footstrike, too.
What to look out for:
- What is your typical footstrike pattern?
- Are you able to successfully adopt all three different footstrike patterns – rear, mid and forefoot?
- How does your footstrike pattern vary with distance, speed, or incline?
- Can you see major differences in footstrike for your left and right foot?
After your run, check out your footstrike metrics in the run summary in your NURVV app. The data will show you your typical footstrike pattern and how that changes with inclines or as you pick up the pace (it’s common to veer more towards a mid- or forefoot landing as you speed up or run uphill).
There is a school of thought that running with a predominantly rear footstrike can increase impact forces and lead to higher injury risk, but this is not a universal truth for all runners. If your running form isn't causing you any injury issues, then carry on.
If you find you’re incurring injuries, however, your footstrike may provide some answers. There is evidence that landing with your forefoot first can put additional strain on calves and toes, while landing with your heel can put strain on the knee, which could contribute to developing an overuse pain or injury.
While it’s common to have some minor differences, any major differences between your left and right foot shouldn’t be ignored, either. This can be caused by a lack of flexibility or lower leg strength and could cause running-related injuries in the future.
Follow our targeted footstrike exercise plan to improve your footstrike
Run 2 and 3: pronation runs
These runs are looking at the effect of footwear on your pronation.
- Runs 2 and 3 should be run on the same route and can be run outdoors or indoor.
- Cover the same distance on each run and run at the same steady, conversational pace.
- The only difference between the two runs should be your footwear. Run each run wearing a different pair of shoes – an old and new pair for example, or road and trail. Remember to insert NURVV Run in each pair of shoes! Another trick is to try a different route which is more uneven or hilly and to test the trends in pronation in the same shoe.
What to look out for:
- Does your overall pronation level (for either feet) change with different footwear?
- Are your pronation levels more neutral in certain shoes?
- Can you see major differences in pronation between your left and right foot?
After you run, check out the pronation metrics in your run summary and see how they differ for each pair of shoes.
Pronation enables your body absorb the impact of running and your pronation style can affect this. There are three main types of pronation:
Under pronation – when you have little or no inward motion
Neutral pronation – when your foot rolls slightly inwards
Over pronation – when your foot rolls excessively inwards
You can also use data from your Pronation Form Report to compare how different running shoes affect your foot movement and whether you exhibit higher levels of Neutral Pronation in certain shoes.
In this example, the runner was showing high levels of Under Pronation in Shoe A. In Shoe B, his percentage of Neutral Pronation improved significantly.
Under and over pronation have been shown to increase injury risk so aim for neutral pronation as much as possible. Shoes can affect the movement of your feet, so choose shoes that help you achieve a more neutral pronation.
Look out for any major differences between pronation on your left and right foot as they could be a sign of a lack of flexibility or lower leg strength and could cause injury if ignored.
Follow our targeted exercise plans to improve your pronation