Form Analysis of a Heel Striker

Analyzing Running Form of a Heel Striker

“Heel striking is believed by many running experts to cause higher impacts than landing near the middle or front of the foot”, via Young.  This, of course, is something that most runners, if they heard this, would want to do something about it.

Below, I looked at Dawn’s running form and found that she was indeed a heel striker.  Not to worry!  There are so many ways we can help fix (or minimize) the damage that being a heel striker may present.

Improve running form by keeping elbows close to your torso
Keeping arms at 90-degree angles increases power

Don’t know if you’re a heel striker?  Have TrainwithMarc look at your form and he can make suggestions that can help you make the changes needed.  Info on TrainwithMarc’s gait analysis can be found here.

Form Analysis for Heel Striker
Form Analysis for Heel Striker

Arm Carriage for Distance Runners

Dawn has good 90 degree angled arms from the side, but when we slowed down footage, I saw that her arms crossed over the center of her body.

Ideally, you don’t want your arms to cross over the center of your body.  At the end of a long race, this will become even more pronounced.

Focus on having your thumbs up as opposed to the side.  When your thumbs stay up, your elbows will tuck in and be close to your body.  This will minimize wind resistance and limit any crossover that your lower body will do to compensate for your arms.

Comparing Running Form
Comparing Running Form

Heel Striking

When your hips and legs aren’t on the same page, that’s when heel striking is at its worst.  From a bird’s eye view, Dawn’s hips are behind her plant foot.  This alone creates the heel striking.  To work on this problem, I strongly suggest doing lots of core work (planks, etc) to strengthen your hips, glutes, and midsection.  This will keep your core tight, but also allow your hip flexors to pull your legs through at the same rate of speed that your hips are moving.

Plus, when your feet are on the ground for any longer than they have to be (they will be if you roll from your heel to your big toe), you’re ultimately going to be running slower.  Lastly, landing on your heel will slow your forward momentum, as well as put a lot of excess stress on your joints and bones.

Still not sure if this is you? Send Marc a quick video and he can let you know!


Running form can be fixed to improve efficiency
Marc’s running form in HS

Fixing Your Running Form

When you’re ready to fix your running form and become a better runner, contact Marc.  In the meantime, check out other runners who Marc has helped.

Emily’s Form

Upper Body Running Form

Improving Body Form

Fixing Your Form


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