“Should I land on my front foot at running?”
I can strongly say that this is the most frequently question I have been asked about running. Maybe I should build an FAQ page actually…
Unlike some people’s expectation, the answer to the above question is not a straight Yes to front foot landing. This is because the way we land is determined with what we do before landing, so focusing on landing would not direct you to the right conclusion and understanding of best running technique.
I can say for sure that if you are landing on the back of your foot, you are not running right. You are wasting energy and you are somewhere on the spectrum of self-harm purely from the way you run (could be benign, could be severe); however the opposite of that landing style, front foot landing, is not necessary a good sign.
Let’s get you familiar with this jargon: Active landing. It is when you deliberately impose or exert a specific way of landing. For instance, because a running mate of yours said front-foot landing is good, you enforce your front feet to touch the ground first. THAT IS BAD.
The right landing happens when you do not interfere with it and take your focus to where it must be only: fall and pull. If you know these two and you are working your way up to master Pose running, keep going. If not, let me tell you these: do not drive your knees, do not try to reach forward and do not push off the ground, and … . Yes, at learning Pose there are a lot of DO-NOTs to be aware of.
Running is known as “natural” – honestly this term is vague – but it usually comes with a lot of extra things that no-one knows how they adopted them into their running form (it is kind of the definition of natural, right?!) and then these extra things are exactly the culprit of all the headaches: the injuries, over-tiredness, too much soreness, and so on.
If you get your propulsion purely from falling forward, if you switch off the propellers (muscles) in your legs to avoid interfering with this gravitational torque that drives you forward (and is [more than] enough for moving forward), you will landing under your hips and most likely on front or whole foot. At landing under hips, the centre of your body mass is right above your landing leg (no landing ahead of the body), which is good (generates no ground reaction force against your direction of running). In this case it does not even matter how the landing happens. You become agnostic to it; however, in slow-motion running form analysis of such runners, they all land fore-foot or whole foot.
Conclusion, do not copy the final output of good looking things thinking you will be fine. Riding an expensive car or going on an expensive holiday destination or living in a penthouse does not make you rich but looking from the other end of the line, you will have the option of doing any of these if you are rich. If you see the point, good luck with your running :)