Toe running

I did something really quite stupid. I read in one of the free London newspapers that the reason why Kenyans are amazing marathon runners is because, like the ancient humans we evolved from, they runon their toes. That is, instead of first contact being the heel (‘heel strike’), Kenyans push off the balls of their feet.

Well, there is no greater authority than the London Lite! So last Saturday, I went to the gym, got on a treadmill, and ran for 10 minutes on my toes.

It seemed to work! I really did run faster with no extra effort.

Unfortunately, I seem to have done something awful to my ankle. I’ve been limping for a week.

Today felt better so I tried doing a bit of jogging — and had to hobble home from the gym again.

I guess I’ll avoid the treadmill for a bit longer!


  1. Yap! It's 3088.. says:

    Running on toe?? Haha…that’s a new one. I really envy the African runners. Their strides are so wide! One of theirs is equivalent to three of mine. That coupled with a great stamina, that’s like putting two more jet engines into the BatMobile!

  2. joanium says:

    I looked up ‘toe running’ on the internet and there seem to be a lot of people recommending it (and some people saying it’s pointless). I guess you can find people advocating almost anything on the internet (and free newspapers)!

  3. Daniel says:

    this is kind of hilarious…

    I wonder if it has ever occurred to them that Kenyans are good runners because they live at high altitude and do lots of training because it’s their best ticket out of a life of abject poverty? Nah, that’s far too obvious.

    Don’t run on your toes silly! You’ll damage your calves and ankle joints if they’re not used to it. Even if they are, it still might not be the most efficient way for YOU to run. Just because Haile Gabri Selassie can do it in a world record marathon doesn’t mean that you can (in fact, it sort of implies that you can’t) do it too.

  4. joanium says:

    Well, it was in the ‘health’ section of the free newspaper. My guess is that the writer originally put the stuff about poverty into the article and the editor cut it because it wasn’t in the journalist’s brief 🙂

  5. E. Sande says:

    I looked for info on toe running after digging for info on barefoot running last year. Anytime I ran barefoot as a kid it was always on the toes, and I wondered if anyone did it with shoes on.

    I did run a couple days on my toes, and it was really easy, and fast. But it was too much at once and pain quickly set in.

    I think if someone eased into it, it could be the key to a faster pace and much less impact.

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