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Orange County, California

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  • Greg Hodel

What does the stride look like in a 5000 m. race?

The previous post showed the path of the ball of the foot relative to the hip of a male 100 m. sprinter and a female runner in the mile. Here is the path of the foot of a female running the 5,000 m. race compared to the one running the 1 mile.

Foot path of a female running the 5,000 m.

Foot path of a female running the 1 mile.

The main difference between the two is that in the 5000 m., the foot does not rise as high toward the hip in the recovery phase (after leaving the ground). The path also differs as the foot is pulled backward before contacting the ground. This may just be an inaccuracy in the drawing since the difference appears to be significant.


The important similarities are that in both races, the foot follows a circular path in the recovery phase, and is also pulled backward before contacting the ground. I think both of the similarities are overlooked by many people, and the mechanics of distance running are considered to be different from the mechanics of sprinting. These components, accelerating the foot backward and cycling the leg during recovery, are two of the the subtle mechanics that may determine whether a person is able to run their fastest. The subtlety lies in coordinating the sequence of movements in a stride to create the position and timing to be able to pull the foot backward before contacting the ground.

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