Florida Track Club Meeting: An Awesome Experience!

Last night I attended the Florida Track Club’s monthly meeting – my first.  What a great experience.

The focal point of the meeting was a talk given by Dr. Bryan Conrad, a research assistant professor at the University of Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Institute.

Dr. Conrad discussed proper running form, addressing multiple scientific studies that tested, among other things, the efficiency of the three foot-strike variations: heel striking, mid-foot striking and forefoot striking.

Dr. Conrad’s talk lasted about half an hour and was pretty scientifically in-depth.  Here are some of the main points I came away with:

  • A study of 283 elite runners showed that:
    • 75% were heel strikers
    • 24% were mid-foot strikers
    • 1% (4 of 283) were forefoot strikers
  • Footwear had little effect on the impact of the foot strike.
  • Studies show that the optimal running cadence is 180 foot-strikes per minute or 3 strikes per second.
  • Forefoot striking vs. mid-foot striking is delineated by ankle position.  A neutral ankle position at the point of strike is considered more efficient.

Following the speech, Dr. Conrad hooked Jake Logan, the FTC president, up to a spiffy machine that analyzed Jake’s running form.  Jake was nice enough to allow Dr. Conrad to critique his running form in front of all of us.

The meeting concluded with Leslie Lear, a physical therapist at the University Health Care Center at the University of Florida, demonstrating, along with Jake, some core-strengthening exercises that can greatly benefit a runner’s form.

Here are a couple of pictures I took throughout the evening:

I also shot some video and have put together a six-minute clip of highlights from the meeting:

The folks at the Florida Track Club were extremely friendly and absolutely without pretension.  They are genuinely interested in creating a tightly knit running community, and I would encourage anyone who has not been to a FTC meeting to do so.

Hey, did I mention that I won FTC socks from a free raffle?  In fact almost everyone in attendance, about 35 or 40, won some kind of prize!

For more information visit UF’s Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation or The Florida Track Club website.

I hope to see you at the next meeting!


About Benjamin Markus

I am a 32-year-old runner living in Gainesville, FL.
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