Natural Running Tips: Land vs. Strike

Land (v):  To bring to or set on land.

Strike (v):  To drive so as to cause impact. 


There is a big difference in the action of these two words, but the result is the same.  Something ends up on the ground.  One implies precise control and the other implies a traumatically impactful action.

The word strike is commonly use in describing how we run and connect with the ground.  Heel strike, toe strike, mid-foot strike all imply an very abrasive action.   Language for better or worse can impact the outcome of an action, before it has even begun.  If I am a “striker” of some kind, then I am conditioning myself for my gait cycle to be impactful.

Perhaps another way to think about how we communicate with the ground when we run is by thinking about the action as landing.  To land implies precise control that can be done over and over in an exact manner.  I would rather my pilot land the plane on the ground rather than strike the plane on the ground.  When we run, it makes more sense to land on the ground in a controlled and precise manner rather than striking it.

The difference between these two is choice and practice.  You have complete control over what your running gait and experience look like.  It is your job to exercise that control.

About this punk: Patton Gleason is president and founder of and the Flow Running teaching method.  He is a running industry veteran and loves the irony of promoting barefoot running and owning a store that sells shoes.  He lives in McKinney, Texas with his beautiful wife and three children.  He has got a thing for long runs, burpees, pumpkin pie and bluegrass music.  Seriously send him some pie.  


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One Response to Natural Running Tips: Land vs. Strike

  1. Spot on Patton. Love the pics as well.
    When running, I think using the word ‘strike’ may still be appropriate when the heel makes contact with the ground first – all about the forceful impact.

    This is an important point to make when teaching better technique. Would you rather ‘stike’ with your heel or ‘land’ with your forefoot/midfoot?

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