So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bare (Bear?) Footing? Unless You Are Patient, Just Say No.

Adam Daoud, one of the researchers of the Lieberman study, responded to Tucker & Dugas' Science of Sport blog reviewing the study, and to a degree the NPR All Things Considered article from two days ago, which I took to task. Daoud says, among other points:

"The headlines that some, not all, reporters have used are potentially dangerous. We DO NOT argue that barefoot running reduces injury (as you recognize). The findings on impact forces compare FOREFOOT and HEEL strikes, NOT barefoot and shod foot strikes. I agree that runners today (grow up in shoes and run in shoes all their lives) in general have weaker muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the lower leg and foot and cannot transition into forefoot striking barefoot or in a minimal shoe quickly. But strength in these soft tissues can be increased over a LONG time. Even still, some people will truly not have the ability to improve their strength enough to be able to forefoot strike."
Kudos to Adam Daoud for being so up-front with this guidance. I only wish Vibram, the funding source of the Lieberman study, and all the other minimalist shoe makers, would do the same.
The biggest issue I have with people wanting to change to forefoot striking from midfoot or heel striking is the same issue I have with people who want to improve their running performance (endurance, speed, strength, race placing, etc.): They all want it (whatever it is) NOW. Arthur Lydiard saw this, especially in the American public, and decried the attitude.
It took thousands of years for us to go from a society where we spent more time barefoot than shod, so it might take a little while for those who consider moving back the other direction to get there. De-evolve, already? No. More like patience, Pad'wan learner.

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