As promised! Today we are talking about the next segment of running mechanics which is the toe off (or propulsion) portion of your run!
PSSSSST!… Is this your first time on our blog? Check out the first segment of this post here.
Toe Off and Swing Phases
This phase starts when the it begins to come off the ground. While foot contact is happening, propulsion is rooted in the hip. It is hip extension that provides the power to move your body forward. What does this mean? The more powerful and rapid the hip is extended, the faster you will move forward and when the hip is extended correctly another stretch reflex mechanism in the body occurs. As Steve Magness explains,
This is best thought of as a sling shot where you stretch the sling shot back and then let it go. The result will be that it shoots forward very rapidly. The hip works in much the same way. If you extend the hip you are putting it in a stretch position. With the sling shot, if instead of letting it go, you tried to move it forward, the sling shot band would come forward much more slowly. The same applies for the hip.
What happens next is a passive reflex in the body. The body will almost unconsciously allow the leg to recoil bringing the heel towards your bum and then bring the knee forward. Following this, the leg will begin to straighten which will allow the runner to put the foot down and make contact with the ground.
To dig a little deeper into this topic, peruse through the following: