Overstriding When Running

What is overstriding?

Overstriding is a common amongst runners of all levels of experience.

Think about the aligment of your knee and ankle when making contact with the ground.  Ideally, the knee should be flexing straight above the ankle.

When you overstride, your foot lands too far in front of your body and the ankle is ahead of the knee. This effectively causes you to brake with each step.

This not only wastes energy but also increases the risk of injuries such as shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and knee pain.

Won’t bigger strides make me faster?

How fast you run is determined by the length of your stride times the rate that your feet hit the ground (known as your cadence).

Many runners try to extend their strides in the mistaken belief that it will help them to run faster.

However, the braking action of overstriding diminishes any time you hoped to have gained with a larger stride.

Furthermore, you increase your chance of injuring yourself because it slows your cadence and increases the force of your feet striking the ground.

How to avoid overstriding

1.  Maintain a shorter stride and higher cadence

A shorter stride means that your feet will spend less time on the ground, which will reduce the impact on your legs and lower body.

It commonly accepted that a cadence of 180-190 is ideal.  If yours is well below this focus on shortening your stride and increasing your leg turnover.

Playing some music with a matching beat can be a helpful tool while you practice increasing your leg turnover.

These will help you achieve a more efficient running form.

2.  Landing on your midfoot

This may feel awkward at first, but it’s actually the most efficient way to run.

When you land on your heel, your calf muscles have to work hard to absorb the impact of your foot striking the ground which can lead to fatigue and pain in your calves and Achilles tendon.

However, when you land on your midfoot, the impact is distributed more evenly across your foot and leg muscles, thereby making running easier and less likely to cause injuries.

It may take a bit of practice to get used to landing on your midfoot, but if you can it’s worth it for the sake of your feet and legs.

3.  Try not to extend your stride length too much past what feels natural to you.

A good rule of thumb is to try not to extend your stride length too much past what feels natural to you.

Additionally, focusing on maintaining a consistent stride length will help you run more efficiently and improve your speed over time.

If you start to feel like you are overstriding, focus on running with a shorter stride and landing closer to your body instead of out in front of you.

You may also want to try running on softer surfaces, such as grass, to help reduce the impact on your joints.

With a little practice, you can learn to run with a more efficient stride that will help you avoid injuries and improve your performance.

Final Words

Overstriding is a common mistake that runners make when trying to run faster.

Whether you heel strike or forefoot strike, the position of this contact in relation to the rest of your body has a huge role to play in determining how heavy the impact and subsequent braking forces are.

Remember, the key to efficient running is to make it as easy on your body as possible!

Condy & Sandi Canuto

Your Everyday Runners

Related Articles

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop