Ask the Coach: Treadmill pounding

Q. I've been running for four months now and thought all was going well, except the fact that I'm making a pounding noise on the treadmill. I'm running on the ball of my foot first. I read an article that says I should be improving my stride by pushing through the back of my foot, but I'm not doing this. Is this the reason for all the noise?

A. If you're landing on the ball of your foot, that particular technique is typically used by sprinters. Distance runners tend to land mid-foot or slightly toward the heel; but not so much toward the heel that they create a braking action.

For you, it's tough to say if the pounding noise is being caused by the way your feet land on the surface of the treadmill, the treadmill speed, the percent elevation or some combination of multiple issues. The best tool in this case is a video camera and a running expert in your area. The second best tool is a mirror.

Have someone video tape your treadmill running form from the front, the side and the back to see what your feet are actually doing. Change the speed and elevation of the treadmill to what is currently normal for your workouts so you can see if your form changes.

If you have a running biomechanics expert in your area, have him or her review your tape and give you feedback and suggestions. If video taping is not an option, perhaps your facility has a treadmill that faces a mirror. In that case, watch what your feet do while you run so you can determine if your form is a problem.

Do you have a specific training or sport related question? Have world-renowned coach Gale Bernhardt answer it! Send your questions to

Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic Coach for both the men's and women's teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

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