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A few questions: walking speed, carrying a backpack, heel landing, running

Jolt
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A few questions: walking speed, carrying a backpack, heel landing, running
1.  I've been trying to work on glidewalking and part of why it's taking me so long to "get it" is that it feels slower than normal and this really frustrates me.  When trying to get somewhere, I end up falling into old habits (especially on hard flat surfaces--for some reason it's easier to have decent form on a rough trail).  Is glidewalking supposed to be a little slower than walking with less-than-optimal form can be, or is it just a matter of needing practice and strengthening of the right muscles?  2.  Do you have any tips for maintaining proper walking form while carrying a backpack?  How does it change with carrying weight on the back?  I like to hike and want to prevent injuries (had a nasty case of IT band syndrome last year from hiking/running and really don't want to repeat that fiasco or any like it) so this would be helpful. 3.  The bit about the heel landing first just doesn't feel right to me.  Maybe it's because I spend a fair amount of time barefoot or in minimal shoes (Vibram FiveFingers etc.) but having the outside midfoot touch down first feels much more natural, especially on rocky trails and hard surfaces. 4.  Any tips on good running form?  I've been running in the aforementioned Vibram Five Fingers and occasionally barefoot which has helped a lot (now I don't know how anybody runs in those clunky padded shoes with elevated heels), but I still seem to fall into sloppy form when running on roads sometimes.
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1. Definitely not slower than other ways of walking. Faster, because you are using your glutes which are potentially your largest and strongest muscles. Maybe your glutes aren't fully developed yet; may be you are over-thinking your walk which would also slow it down. 2. Carrying a backpack usually helps your form. With a load you naturally lean forward to place your glutes in a postiion of mechanical advantage - this way they can help you with the additional load. It's the same deal with running. 3. Heel first is natural on soft, predictable surfaces or when you are wearing cushioned shoes. If you are walking on hard surfaces on contoured surfaces, it's natural to land midfoot first. 4. I'm still working this out - I'd love to hear more about your experiences...
Jolt
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Follow-up: 1.  Over-thinking is right!  That seems to be the bane of my existence when it comes to learning physical skills.  Now that I'm getting past that, my speed has improved greatly (which I'm sure my hiking buddies will appreciate--NOT!!).  2.  The backpack does seem to help (again, if one doesn't over-think things).  I did a 2-hour hike on a local mountain yesterday and had no issues. 3.  Maybe the reason for my finding heel-first to not feel right is that I am usually not on "soft, predictable surfaces"--generally it's either hard and flat (in town) or rocks/roots galore (trails)--I don't get to walk on the beach that often. 4.  Still working on the running--that's another case of over-thinking causing problems.  If I go on a run and don't think too much about what I am doing, it seems to flow much better.
awarner
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Hi all, regarding barefoot running, I assume you've seen the Harvard University skeletal biology lab website. http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu Cheers, Andrew.
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