Foot strike in running refers to the point of initial contact between the foot and the ground during the running gait cycle. There are three main types of foot strikes: heel strike, forefoot strike, and midfoot strike


  1. Heel Strike (Rearfoot Strike): The heel makes the initial contact with the ground. This is the most common type among recreational runners, especially those wearing traditional running shoes with elevated heel cushioning.
  2. Midfoot Strike: Both the heel and ball of the foot contact the ground nearly simultaneously. This strike is often seen as a balance between heel striking and forefoot striking, potentially offering a blend of cushioning and efficiency.
  3. Forefoot Strike: The ball of the foot contacts the ground first, with the heel lowering down. This type is more common among sprinters and is seen in some distance runners, especially those wearing minimalist running shoes.


  1. Shock Absorption: Different foot strikes influence how the body absorbs the impact of landing. Heel striking tends to generate a significant impact force, while forefoot striking can place more stress on the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.
  2. Efficiency: Foot strike may affect running efficiency, with some studies suggesting that midfoot or forefoot strikes could be more energy-efficient for certain runners.
  3. Injury Risks: The type of foot strike has been linked to different running injuries. For example, heel striking is often associated with knee injuries, while forefoot striking may lead to issues like Achilles tendinitis.


  1. Running Shoes: The design and cushioning of running shoes can influence foot strike patterns.
  2. Running Speed: Runners often change their foot strike type at different speeds - moving towards forefoot striking at higher speeds.
  3. Fatigue: As runners tire, their foot strike pattern can change, often shifting towards more pronounced heel striking.
  4. Terrain: The surface being run on (track, road, trail) can also affect how the foot strikes the ground.

Training and Adaptation: Changing one's foot strike pattern is possible but should be approached cautiously. Gradual adaptation, strength training (especially of the lower legs and feet), and appropriate footwear choices are essential to avoid injury during this transition. Runners should also consider if changing their foot strike is necessary, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Foot Strike is a key element of running form, with implications for efficiency, speed, and injury risk. Understanding one's foot strike pattern can aid in selecting suitable footwear and in identifying potential areas for improvement in running form. However, it's important to acknowledge the individual variability in foot strike patterns and the influence of external factors such as footwear and running surface. For runners considering a change in their foot strike, a gradual and well-monitored approach is recommended to ensure a safe and effective transition.


In cross country running, there are several types of races, each with its own characteristics and rules. Here are the different types of cross country races:

  1. Open Races: These are traditional cross country races where runners compete over natural terrain such as dirt, grass, and hills. They can vary in distance and difficulty, and are open to runners of all ages and abilities.
  2. Invitational Races: These are larger races hosted by one or more schools or organizations. They provide better competition and larger fields of competitors. Some invitationals will use a grade-level format, and the races are scored independently.
  3. Championship Races: These races are typically more serious and are divided by grade and gender. In high school, the races are far-reaching and tend to be the main talent pool, especially at the senior level, for university or national-level runners.
  4. Masters Races: These races are for older, more experienced runners. They are often held as part of larger events and provide an opportunity for older runners to compete against their peers.
  5. National and International Races: These are high-level competitions that bring together the best runners from a particular country or from around the world. They include events such as the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, and the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Each type of race has its own unique characteristics and is designed to provide a competitive and enjoyable experience for runners of all levels.