I will keep it simple. I do not care what sport you play, or how good you are. Grab one of your feet and feel the bottom, the space under your toes! Feel for the parts of your feet that seem to have the most padding.
If the place of this padding is all under your big toe than you can stop reading now this article is over for you.
If the padding on your foot is on the outside of the foot there is good news and bad news.
Bad News- You need to start using your big toe because as of now it is not doing the most of the work
Good News- You can get more out of every stride if you take the time to fix this
Every stride you take you could be losing an extra inch because you are not fully utilizing your big toe. A doctor showed me this a couple years ago and it made so much sense to me. I always ran on the outside of my feet and because of that over the years my foot built more cushion in the area I used.
It is just how the human body works if something gets used your body will put more of something towards that. There are many examples of this; like when you have your leg in a cast your body will naturally shrink the muscle because it is not getting used. Your feet are no different.
How to change this
It will take time as chances are you have been running this way for a long time. The actually changes of the bottom of the feet will take a while to correct. Actually changing how you run starts with changing how you walk.
Progressions- Go to next step once it does not feel awkward any more
- When walking roll from heel to big toe
- When jogging focus on pushing off the big toe on each step
- Anytime you end up on your toes make sure the majority of the weight is on the big toe
- Focus on pushing off the big toe when warming up
- Never focus on it a lot when competing as it will only slow you down
- You will begin to notice you are pushing off the big toe without thinking about it
- Keep you feet free of tension
(original image by huiyuntseng)