foot contact at maximum speed

charlie, when i reach maximum speed during a sprint, i continue making contact with the ground by only allowing the ball of my foot to touch and never my heel (and i have my big toe dorsiflexed). however, within a few meters i begin to lose my balance and start slowing down. i was wondering if this is a common problem or if you had any advice on correcting it.
thank you

what i am really trying to ask is if i am losing my balance and wobbling while sprinting without letting my heels touch, should i allow my heel to touch the ground while sprinting at maximum speed? by this i mean ball of foot-heel-ball. and if so, how do i teach myself to relax my ankle joint while sprinting so that my heel or at least a greater portion of my foot makes contact with the ground after the initial contact with the ball of my foot?
i have watched video tapes of many top sprinters and nearly all of them make contact with their heel during some portion of the support phase. i know charlie said in training for speed that ben could sprint without touching his heel while his opponents could not usually because they were too weak. any advice would be greatly appreciated.

If his opponents were not strong enough to run without any heel contact, then I’m guessing you are probably not strong enough either. In this case, I wouldn’t worry about some heel contact.

I wonder if you are leaning forward to keep on te balls of the feet- or being forced forward in the attempt. I suspect you’re better off concentrating on form and letting things sort themselves out naturally.


I know that you advocate dorsiflexing only the big toe as opposed to the entire foot so I have been trying to run like this; however, is it possible that dorsiflexing the foot is beneficial if there is insufficient calf strength? My upper legs are much larger and stronger than my lower legs so when I land, my foot doesn’t have the stiffness it should so that I can absorb the force of contact and then leave the ground quickly. I feel that if I concentrate on dorsiflexing my foot, there is no give in my foot when I touchdown and my ground contact time is much shorter. Does this make sense or am I interpreting something incorrectly?

I don’t know how much you can dwell on these cues whilst actually sprinting or like Charlie suggests letting them come naturally when you follow the standard sprinting cues like stepping over the knee etc, and combine it with adequate strength and mobility.

yes! that is exactly what is happening. do you know how i can teach myself to run upright and enter the sprint position? should i concentrate less on accelerating rapidly and more on smoothness during my speed work until i correct my problem?

Sounds like that would help.