One of the most common experiences for people trying to change their running form to a forefoot or midfoot strike is to suffer from tightness and soreness in the calf and achilles region. Usually this is as a consequence of trying to do too much running with this new technique too soon, having not allowed muscular adaptation to the demands of the loading pattern.
This adaptation takes time. It is particularly the calf/achilles complex which experiences greater loading with forefoot/midfoot running in comparison to it’s loading during a heel-striking pattern.
The most effective method of prevention when it comes to this tightness is to make sure that you start with only small amounts running volume, increasing progressively over time.
There are however a number of drills and exercises we use, enabling runners to condition and strengthen their legs to the demands of this type of foot strike.
One such drill is the “Hop and Stop” drill: