January 10, 2012

New Barefoot and Minimalist Running Research

Two new papers have been ePublished ahead of printing in the Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise journal out of Dr. Daniel Lieberman's lab at Harvard University.

Effects of Footwear and Strike Type on Running Economy concludes:
"Minimally shod runners are modestly but significantly more economical than traditionally shod runners regardless of strike type, after controlling for shoe mass and stride frequency. The likely cause of this difference is more elastic energy storage and release in the lower extremity during minimal shoe running."
Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners: a retrospective study concludes:
"...Runners who habitually rearfoot strike have significantly higher rates of repetitive stress injury than those who mostly forefoot strike... One hypothesis, which requires further research, is that the absence of a marked impact peak in the ground reaction force during a forefoot strike compared to a rearfoot strike may contribute to lower rates of injuries in habitual forefoot strikers."
Essentially, these two papers suggest that forefoot strikers have fewer injuries than heel strikers and that no matter your foot strike pattern, if you run in minimal shoes, your running is more efficient with improved running economy.

I'm taking away from these two conclusions that forefoot strikers who run in minimal shoes are more efficient and have fewer injuries compared to heel strikers who run in conventional shoes. Sounds to me like ingredients included in a recipe for maximized efficiency and minimized injury...

Speaking of running news, stay tuned for some EXCITING developments in the coaching related area. Announcements are coming soon!