"Heavy" Feet

Hi guys, i tend to have “heavy” feet while running (foot strikes are very loud) and I was just wondering if anyone knows some common reasons why this would be happening to me. it’s very noticible near the end of 30m flys and has always been something i’ve wondered about. i’m thinking maybe overstriding, as i remember cf saying a while ago that he would stop sessions when he heard heavy feet because that meant hip height was dropping?

so possible reasons, if its bad, and how to fix it is what i’m interested in.

i may be able to get some video up in a little while if needed

some stats to start with in case this stuff matters:
-i’m about an 11s 100m runner
-5’7" 145-155 lbs 18 years old
-better at starts than top speed (worst part of my race between 20 and 50m)
-squat greater than 2.5x my bw and clean greater than 1.7x my bw, so strength-wise or weight room wise i’m pretty experienced

feet not able to absorb the kind of power your hips produce

bad technique (overstriding landing too far of center of body mass)

thinking u have to punch ur feet on the ground to run fast, faster runner run light on their feet

tendon strength/stiffness issues perhaps? Plyometric training and jump training may help?

Also, i feel like i have heavy feet when i am pushing too much and not pulling with my hams

Ah an interesting conundrum and one every coach faces at some stage in their career…the athlete who pounds the ground. I think the place to start first is attempting to identify if its a structural or technical issue. Trying different cues to see if it makes any changes and / or performing reactive strength tests (drop jumps or even hurdle jumps) to assess structural issues might be a good place to start (do you have flat feet?).

any ideas of how to fix this? when i run my leg motion is very up and down as opposed to back and forth, so when getting tired, wouldn’t be surprised if this turned to overstriding or if i’m punching the ground instead of gliding above it

perhaps this is true, because i’ve always been primarily a weight lifter as far as my skill set in sprinting, though my jumping numbers aren’t terrible either. i have heard that things like heavy squats can hurt elasticity?

and possibly i am pushing too much, i tend to be quad dominant so maybe im still pushing too much at top speed instead of pulling

i actually have very arched feet and am pretty bow-legged. i usually hear the recommended cue is up and down, but doesn’t that seem like it cause stomping and therefore loud feet? do you know some other upright running cues?

and i’m alright at drop jumps and plyos, though i’m much better at just a normal vertical (though i tend to squat very deep before the jump which i’ve heard means i’m poor at producing the power i have in a short amount of time)

Pick the foot up and put the foot down cue shouldn’t mean you stomp the ground. If you are doing this right you should just be able to start on the spot and then gradually pick up speed with your feet getting lighter the faster you move. Its more pick it up and put it down rather than stomping or thumping the ground.

Sometimes people with very arched feet can collapse quite significantly if they can not handle the eccentric loads under speed. You may find standing that you have high arches and don’t collapse but as you run they collapse as they can’t withstand the forces. Possibly a visit to the podiatrist might be a worthwhile step for a screen to assess the need for specific foot strength exercises and or orthotics.

Vertical jumps arguably tend to correlate better with acceleration when the time you have to produce force is longer. Its the quick contact exercises that will correlate closer to your top speed running if this is where you are having the issues.

I think you may have a number of things to look at. Just work through a check list and tick them off. You may also want to get some footage of your running from in front, and behind to see what your feet are doing on ground contact. If they are collapsing regardless of what you try technically then you may have a structural and or strength issue to sort out.

what exactly do you mean by foot collapsing?

That the feet will excesive pronating or i.e. foot collapses in would on ground contact.

You could film yourself walking from behind bare foot, lunge walking, jogging, running and see what is happening.

Please be aware that some pronation will naturally occur with most individuals.

i am very bowlegged and tend to pronate a bit, though i have watched video and my feet making contact with the ground looks pretty normal

If all looks normal from a video / observation point of view you may want to have someone film you as you utilise different cues to reduce the heavy foot contact you are reporting. there are a number of different cues you can use as there is no uniform cue for every indivdual. From here you will be able to see if cues alone can change your foot contact. If you have no success from here then you can start working on specific exercises to improve foot contact.

i think it may have to do with poor hip height, when i dorsi flex better and am more elastic on my ground contacts the noise seems to improve