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Fact #7 – Ground Contact Time. It says a lot about how you run.

07-Garmin-Weekly-BannerThe Garmin Fenix 3 measures the Ground Contact Time of your feet when you run – in milli-seconds. But is such detail of any real significance to the average runner? You’d be surprized how much!

Let’s focus on one injury-inducing issue that can be identified by Ground Contact Time (GCT): Overstriding. It is one of the most common running style errors, and can lead to severe knee and hip joint degeneration, for starters. It is all about where the foot is in relation to the body when it strikes the ground.

Overstriding means your feet hit the ground too far in front of your body, and not under your hips. Overstriding happens with a straighter knee, as opposed to a bent knee that absorbs impact more efficiently. Overstriding does propel your body, but also brakes it with every stride. The result is jarring forces and unwanted impact on your muscles and joints. Excessive GCT stats will witness to that.

Garmin Fenix 3 GCT Graph

Garmin Fenix 3 GCT Graph

So when is your GCT too long, making you injury prone? After many studies, the conclusive answer lies with you, as an individual. Your running style characteristics, like cadence and stride length would give you an average GCT over various distances. Check your GCTs during your regular training distances. Pick GCT stats from runs where you felt light on your feet and clocked a better than average training pace. Use those GCTs as a guide. The fastest way to hit those best GCTs regularly is by applying supportive training regimes like core strength training, speed sessions and style adjustments. Allow at least 6 weeks of consistent application of corrective measures for noticeable results. Just stick to it.

For reference, elite 800 m GCT’s are around 180 ms, 10 Km elite GCT’s 200-220 ms. Anything slower than 300 might suggest an inefficient running style. Although speed, cadence and stride length are inseparable variables, some people overstride at any pace. GCT stats are very useful if you fall in that category.

For now, trust the GCT stats of your Fenix 3 and get suitable advice or coaching if you suspect your GCT as excessive. It might sort out chronic niggles and prolong your running life. For definite reasons, the Fenix 3’s slogan is “Rise above your limits”. Apply the technology, and step up to a more efficient running level!

(Take note: for GCT the Garmin RUN heart rate strap has to be used.)