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There is no barefoot running debate

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  #301  
Old 11th May 2012, 08:55 AM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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I'm currently in a location with limited access, which is one of the caveats of being a nomadic hobo. As such, I don't have the opportunity to respond to all the messages. I think this one is important, though.

The debate about barefoot running is important, but I think it should be reframed Change the word 'debate' to 'learning' and this takes on an entirely new life. Over the last few years, I've purposely sought out people that have opposing viewpoints. My opinions on a myriad of topics have dramatically changed... there are too many to list. One of my goals is to open honest dialogue between people and groups that have similar goals. There are a lot of divergent groups with seemingly different opinions that could benefit from collaboration.

One such goal is to bridge the gap between barefoot runners and podiatrists. The biggest current obstacle is our tendency to make outlandish statements about the other group, which places people in a defensive mindset. Kevin had it right- when we're in the friendly confines of our respective forums, we tend to use language that's inflammatory. In most cases it's just a bunch of people being antagonizing for fun. Unfortunately those comments are posted on a public forum, so it's easy for an opposing group to cherry-pick the comments as evidence of the other side's fanaticism. Sometimes the comments are made in a more neutral media, which adds to the perception of zealotry.

In essence, it comes down to a classic in-group-out-group and confirmation bias. If we can get past that problem, we can learn a great deal from the other group. It can be frustrating trying to bridge that gap because it requires a great deal of empathy, but a quest for the greater good (and a healthy dose of curiosity) is a great motivator.
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  #302  
Old 11th May 2012, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
I'm currently in a location with limited access, which is one of the caveats of being a nomadic hobo. As such, I don't have the opportunity to respond to all the messages. I think this one is important, though.

The debate about barefoot running is important, but I think it should be reframed Change the word 'debate' to 'learning' and this takes on an entirely new life. Over the last few years, I've purposely sought out people that have opposing viewpoints. My opinions on a myriad of topics have dramatically changed... there are too many to list. One of my goals is to open honest dialogue between people and groups that have similar goals. There are a lot of divergent groups with seemingly different opinions that could benefit from collaboration.

One such goal is to bridge the gap between barefoot runners and podiatrists. The biggest current obstacle is our tendency to make outlandish statements about the other group, which places people in a defensive mindset. Kevin had it right- when we're in the friendly confines of our respective forums, we tend to use language that's inflammatory. In most cases it's just a bunch of people being antagonizing for fun. Unfortunately those comments are posted on a public forum, so it's easy for an opposing group to cherry-pick the comments as evidence of the other side's fanaticism. Sometimes the comments are made in a more neutral media, which adds to the perception of zealotry.

In essence, it comes down to a classic in-group-out-group and confirmation bias. If we can get past that problem, we can learn a great deal from the other group. It can be frustrating trying to bridge that gap because it requires a great deal of empathy, but a quest for the greater good (and a healthy dose of curiosity) is a great motivator.
Good posting, Jason!
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  #303  
Old 11th May 2012, 10:18 AM
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Simon Spooner Simon Spooner is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Good posting, Jason!
Is it really though, Kevin? Over on his own channel Jason wrote:

Quote:
The sheer volume of this list would seem to suggest that science definitely supports barefoot and minimalist shoe running.
Craig said here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Payne View Post
when in reality not a single one of the studies they listed actually supports it
I haven't seen Jason refute Craig's contention (I have seen him attempt an ad hominem against Craig), and if Jason is being honest in his post above, and truly wants to "bridge gaps" and encourage "learning" it might be helpful if he went back to his site and stated for the record that he was wrong in making that statement because the research he listed does not support that, or state here why it does.

Somehow I doubt very much that this will happen though.
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  #304  
Old 11th May 2012, 11:58 AM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Simon- congrats. You just responded to my call to stop cherry-picking statements by reiterating Craig's points made when cherry-picking my statement.

Here's the entire paragraph:

The sheer volume of this list would seem to suggest that science definitely supports barefoot and minimalist shoe running. It is important to note that most of these studies have limited sample sizes or other methodological flaws that limit their generalizability. Some are literature reviews. Some are published in questionable journals or websites. At the very least, it highlights the need for further research.

I didn't respond to Craig's challenge because I agree with him. My entire post was a call for skepticism when consuming research and a call for more research, which is a drum I beat frequently. Just because I posted the studies doesn't mean I was using them to justify barefoot running.

I suspect Craig was lumping me with the barefoot runners that emailed him with citations that "proved" barefoot running was better when he took that sentence from my post. Read through the three links I posted in the "research" post (Myths surrounding barefoot running, Misconceptions of barefoot running, shoes, and the industry, and Things to avoid when you start barefoot or minimalist shoe running).

I think you'll find I'm not quite the stereotypical barefoot zealot. And before you read through those three posts and cherry-pick one or two statements to discredit me, I'm not pretending to have all the answers. The ideas presented in those three posts are evolving ideas recorded at a specific point in time. My exact opinions may have already changed or may change down the road. After all, that's why I'm posting here. ;-)
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  #305  
Old 11th May 2012, 12:19 PM
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Simon Spooner Simon Spooner is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
Simon- congrats. You just responded to my call to stop cherry-picking statements by reiterating Craig's points made when cherry-picking my statement.

Here's the entire paragraph:

The sheer volume of this list would seem to suggest that science definitely supports barefoot and minimalist shoe running. It is important to note that most of these studies have limited sample sizes or other methodological flaws that limit their generalizability. Some are literature reviews. Some are published in questionable journals or websites. At the very least, it highlights the need for further research.
Jason, you made the statement, not I. Sample size and methodological weakness aside, how many of those studies "suggest that science definitely supports barefoot and minimalist shoe running"? Indeed, how many of them had anything at all to do with barefoot running? Please answer the questions, rather than attempt further distraction. You have still not responded to Craig's challenge, nor responded to my questions regarding the kinematic and kinetics of shoe heels on gait.

If you have indeed, "already changed your mind" are you willing to go back to your blog site and and state something like: "despite the list of research articles I posted above, absolutely none of them scientifically support barefoot running as being superior to shod running, indeed many of them have absolutely nothing to do with barefoot running so I had no reason to post them in the list. I am sorry if I have mislead anyone with my sentence structure and use of language here" which would provide a more accurate appraisal of the literature, would it not? Or can you actually rise to Craig's challenge?

The trouble with t'internet is anyone can write anything. Jason, could you give me a run down of your C.V. please so that I and others might better understand where you gained your expertise in lower limb running biomechanics such that might qualify you to run a "barefoot running university"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post

I didn't respond to Craig's challenge because I agree with him.
Yep, it comes across as agreement:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
Your anti-barefoot zealotry is blinding you to the handful of barefoot runners that apply any degree of skepticism to the practice.

Dogmatic podiatrists...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post

Just because I posted the studies doesn't mean I was using them to justify barefoot running.
Really?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
The sheer volume of this list would seem to suggest that science definitely supports barefoot and minimalist shoe running.
Not at all, Jason. Not at all.
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  #306  
Old 11th May 2012, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Spooner View Post
Is it really though, Kevin? Over on his own channel Jason wrote:



Craig said here:


I haven't seen Jason refute Craig's contention (I have seen him attempt an ad hominem against Craig), and if Jason is being honest in his post above, and truly wants to "bridge gaps" and encourage "learning" it might be helpful if he went back to his site and stated for the record that he was wrong in making that statement because the research he listed does not support that, or state here why it does.

Somehow I doubt very much that this will happen though.
Simon:

I have to give Jason credit from what I have read from him in the past. He seems fairly reasonable in many of his observations, even though I don't agree with all of what he says. He is to be congratulated for coming here onto Podiatry Arena to want to discuss things so he can learn more about how we feel on the subject of barefoot versus shod running. For these reasons, I am trying to find common ground here with Jason, since, as a published author on the subject of barefoot running, I think we can all learn from each other.
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  #307  
Old 11th May 2012, 12:47 PM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Thanks Kevin. :-)

Simon- did you miss the seemingly obvious implication that I'm not a podiatrist, rather I'm hanging out here to learn?

Out of curiosity, just how much padding would a person need on their CV to pass your "I can learn something from this person" filter? What's the threshold people have to meet to make useful contributions to a body of knowledge?

The more diverse the ecosystem, the greater its ability to survive. Don't be so eager to judge others as unworthy. ;-)
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  #308  
Old 11th May 2012, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Originally Posted by Kevin Kirby View Post
Simon:

I have to give Jason credit from what I have read from him in the past. He seems fairly reasonable in many of his observations, even though I don't agree with all of what he says. He is to be congratulated for coming here onto Podiatry Arena to want to discuss things so he can learn more about how we feel on the subject of barefoot versus shod running. For these reasons, I am trying to find common ground here with Jason, since, as a published author on the subject of barefoot running, I think we can all learn from each other.
Kevin, with the greatest respect, I am yet to read anything that this man has written here to convince me of anything other than the fact that he cannot admit when he is wrong. The moot point being that he made a statement which he cannot substantiate.

I'd give Jason credit and congratulate him if he went back to his own blog site and made it clear to the followers there that he could not substantiate that sentence and that the wording was poorly chosen. But each to their own, Kevin.
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  #309  
Old 11th May 2012, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
Thanks Kevin. :-)

Simon- did you miss the seemingly obvious implication that I'm not a podiatrist, rather I'm hanging out here to learn?

Out of curiosity, just how much padding would a person need on their CV to pass your "I can learn something from this person" filter? What's the threshold people have to meet to makeuseful contributions to a body of knowledge?

The more diverse the ecosystem, the greater its ability to survive. Don't be so eager to judge others as unworthy. ;-)
Jason, there goes yet another ad hominem. I'll reply in kind. Did you miss the fact that this is "a forum for podiatrists and other foot health professionals"? When you deal with "experts" every day at work "who have read on the internet that...", it soon becomes tiresome when it's patently obvious that they don't know their arse from their elbow on a subject that you have dedicated your whole professional career of 20+ years on. How much padding have you got? I got plenty.

Answer the questions posted previously please, since it's obvious you now have a good internet access, despite your "hobo caveat". I reiterate: discuss the kinematic and kinetic effects of heels on shoes; which of the studies you listed on your blog site support barefoot running over shod running? And I ask again, are you willing to go back to the blog site which you run and state for the record that you were wrong?- a simple yes or no will do here.

As for judging people as unworthy, from your first post here a couple of days ago-
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
Dogmatic podiatrists...
Nice carte blanche of an entire profession.

BTW, within eco-systems the fittest survive and the weakest get eaten. This maintains the health of the eco-system.
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Old 11th May 2012, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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All, I'm interested in why barefoot running and running in "minimalist" shoes does not result in the same gait:

"Although the thin condition provided almost no cushioning, differences were still shown between barefoot and this condition. Barefoot running may require a unique solution even compared to running in extremely minimal footwear." http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/vi... issertations


This PhD thesis also notes: "Cushioning magnitude is important to changes in running pattern, but other factors are involved. In some instances the most cushioned condition, which was a footwear conditions, resulted in similar behavior to the least cushioned barefoot condition. Footwear also limited tibial internal rotation more than not wearing footwear and altered sagittal thigh kinematics at TD. These results implied wearing footwear affect running patterns regardless of the cushioning shoes provide. More investigation is necessary to fully understand all the factors involved, but our research showed that cushioning magnitude is not the only factor affecting running patterns when footwear or running surface is altered."

Given that TenBroek investigated true barefoot, "minimalist" and heavily "cushioned" running shoes, I find it interesting that the heavily cushioned footwear "resulted in similar behavior to the least cushioned barefoot condition", whereas (by its omission), the minimalist footwear presumably did not. This is clearly not explained by mass effect nor cushioning. Might it be explained by heel height differential?

They also note that any form of footwear limits internal tibial rotation, regardless of sole thickness and cushioning (influence of the upper seems to be ignored in many of these discussions, BTW). This might or might not be a good thing.

I'd venture that the shoes sole can only alter three factors- load/ deformation, topography, and friction- this study seems to suggest that load/ deformation in isolation does not hold all the solutions. Given that the heel height differential was increased as cushioning was added to the shoes and that cushioned shoes showed "similar behavior to the least cushioned barefoot condition", then where does that leave us....?
Since no-one has picked this one up, I'll tell you where I think this leaves us: for some people who want to run with a gait pattern that closely emulates their barefoot running gait, but want some environmental protection for their feet, they should be better off running in heavily cushioned shoes rather than running in "minimalist footwear". Lets see how long it takes the "barefoot" running shoe manufacturers to pick up on that one... I won't hold my breath.
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  #311  
Old 11th May 2012, 05:56 PM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Simon- I get the feeling there's a little bit of transference going on with your reaction to my presence.

If it helps, what if I said I am your intellectual inferior and my writing skills are sub-par at best. You clearly know significantly more than me and I am humbled to grace the same little corner of the Internet as someone with your expertise. I'm sure you could kick my ass in a street fight and your sexual performances put me to shame. I bow to you, sir.

Now will you accept the idea that I'm here to try to learn so I can work to bridge the gap between our own little worlds?

Oh, and it appears as though we agree on the cushioning issue: http://barefootrunninguniversity.com...access-review/ ;-)
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Old 11th May 2012, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Sorry Jason, I probably over reacted and take your point about the other comments you made in your blog post (..perhaps its a shame that so many of those who commented on your blog did not get that either!)

Its just that my bull**** detector goes off at least weekly with claims such as things like "the overwhelming evidence support barefoot/minimalist running over shoe running" when in reality there is NO evidence that this is the case at all!

Perhaps you could explain why so many in the barefoot community make that claim up for? What motivates them to do so?


I also can't speak for Simon, but assume his comments are motivated by all the nonsensical one liner posts we have had here from barefoot runners over the years who never come back to engage or never answer the questions they get asked or straight out lie about the research or ...
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Old 11th May 2012, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
Simon- I get the feeling there's a little bit of transference going on with your reaction to my presence.

If it helps, what if I said I am your intellectual inferior and my writing skills are sub-par at best. You clearly know significantly more than me and I am humbled to grace the same little corner of the Internet as someone with your expertise. I'm sure you could kick my ass in a street fight and your sexual performances put me to shame. I bow to you, sir.

Now will you accept the idea that I'm here to try to learn so I can work to bridge the gap between our own little worlds?

Oh, and it appears as though we agree on the cushioning issue: http://barefootrunninguniversity.com...access-review/ ;-)
I get the feeling you are avoiding answering the questions put to you.... It might help your learning if you did. It would be helpful to your teachers if they had a better understanding of your learning needs. So rather than trying to be a smart arse with your replies, when someone asks you about your C.V. or where you gained your expertise in lower limb biomechanics, think on the fact that they might be trying to get a better feeling for you as a "learner" rather than trying to win a cock fight. It's of little use trying to discuss the kinetics of heeled gait with you, if you don't know what kinetics are; it's of little use trying to discuss the flaws in a statement regarding inferences from scientific literature with you, if you don't hold the knowledge or skills to critically evaluate the literature.

Quote:
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I also can't speak for Simon, but assume his comments are motivated by all the nonsensical one liner posts we have had here from barefoot runners over the years who never come back to engage or never answer the questions they get asked or straight out lie about the research or ...
Yep, that'll be it. And I have an aversion to duplicity too. Speaking of which...

Here we get:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
Just because I posted the studies doesn't mean I was using them to justify barefoot running.
While over on his own site we get:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
The sheer volume of this list would seem to suggest that science definitely supports barefoot and minimalist shoe running.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnu3TqDKXZY

Jason, the first stone in the bridge you claim you wish to build might be to admit that your statement is at best highly misleading.
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Old 12th May 2012, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Thanks Kevin. :-)

Simon- did you miss the seemingly obvious implication that I'm not a podiatrist, rather I'm hanging out here to learn?

Out of curiosity, just how much padding would a person need on their CV to pass your "I can learn something from this person" filter? What's the threshold people have to meet to make useful contributions to a body of knowledge?

The more diverse the ecosystem, the greater its ability to survive. Don't be so eager to judge others as unworthy. ;-)
Jason:

Since you say you want to come here to Podiatry Arena to learn, let me try to first explain why myself, and many other podiatrists, are, in general, not in favor of moving away from shoes to the barefoot condition for running.

First of all, as health care providers to our patients, the barefoot condition, even though it may be beneficial to a minority of patients, is something that most podiatrists just don't want to recommend due to medical liability associated with it.

Let me give you an example. If you, as a blogger for Barefoot Running University, recommended that a runner try abandoning their running shoes and ran barefoot on your Barefoot Running University website, and that person stepped on a sharp object that cut into their foot, cut one of their plantar nerves and caused them permanent foot pain and disability, this poor person would have no legal recourse against you since you are just a lay person, who has no medical training and there is obviously no expectation that you are any sort of medical expert that knows anything about all the potentially harmful things that can occur with barefoot running.

However, since I am a podiaitric physician, I must carry malpractice insurance for what I recommend to my runner-patients since I do have medical training in foot pathology, I do have extensive medical training and lecturing experience on shoe biomechanics, and do have training on surgery, I have treated thousands of injured runners over 27+ years, and I have been lecturing on running biomechanics for the past quarter century. Now, if I tell a patient that they should run barefoot as part of a treatment plan for their injury, and they stepped on a sharp object while running barefoot that cut into their foot, cut one of their plantar nerves and caused them permanent foot pain and disability, I would likely be successfully sued for medical malpractice by this patient since I would have been considered to have breached the standard of care for the medical community by recommending barefoot running. Why would I then want to potentially risk my patient's health and my medical career by recommending barefoot running?

Secondly, as Craig Payne has said, there is not a single scientific study that shows that barefoot running produces fewer injuries than running in shoes. My experience as both a competetive distance runner and sports podiatrist for four decades has not given me any evidence that barefoot running is the preferred method to run for all types of running and running surfaces.

Having been a long distance runner for 40 years, running my first marathon at the age of 17, a 2:39 marathon during my senior year of high school at age 18, and having run barefoot workouts in college back in the late 1970s, I certainly have experience both at barefoot and shod running for many years. I know for certain that barefoot running has its benefits since I enjoyed an barefoot workouts on a grassy field as a member the UC Davis Aggies Cross Country team. However, I also knew that my tender feet couldn't have withstood the 70-90 miles of running per week that I did during that time on asphalt, concrete, rocks, fields, grass and the track at temperatures often over 100 degrees F if I ran barefoot. In addition, none of the distance running athletes I competed and trained with at UC Davis, including the first members of the Aggie Running Club and some of the best runners in the United States at that time (one of them was a 2:16 marathoner, one was a 2:17 marathoner, and one won the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Runn two years in a row) ran a significant amount of miles while barefoot. All of us did, however, run in training flats, racing flats (which are now called "minimalist shoes") and in racing spikes for track. In all the hundreds of races I competed in during junior high school, high school, four years at UC Davis and during podiatry school and my early practice years, I never saw a barefoot runner in any of the races I competed in and certainly never saw a barefoot runner win any races, or even place in any races. And many of these races occurred before Nike was even a shoe company!

Now, over three decades after I ran my first marathon, Chris McDougall comes along, who is an overweight non-runner who gets injured while running (no surprise there), and decides to write a piece of semi-fiction he calls "Born to Run" where he cherry-picks all the things that "prove" that barefoot running and running in minimalist shoes (i.e. racing flats) is much better than running in thick-soled shoes. To the uneducated neophyte runner who is plagued with running injuries and likes conspiracy theories, Chris McDougall seems like a messiah since he is a very good writer and can obviously weave a compelling story based on half-truths. Unfortunately, McDougall has little to no long distance running experience, has even less knowledge of running biomechanics and the effective treatment of running injuries, and thinks he now is an expert in running shoes and running biomechanics since he wrote a semi-fiction book on the Tarahumara Indians and barefoot running. Tell me, Jason, do you honestly expect me to believe what Chris McDougall says in regards to running biomechanics, running shoes and running efficiency when he has absolutely no academic credentials or long distance running credentials that should allow him to be considered an expert from someone like me?

From the time that Amby Burfoot first asked me to be involved in the Barefoot vs Shod Debate for Runner's World in February 2010, I have tried to be very open minded to barefoot runners and their anecdotal observations since I know that there are many ways to run both comfortably and without injury. However, I also know from my long distance running career, medical training, extensive research on running injuries, running shoes and running biomechanics and clinical experience of being a sports podiatrist for over a quarter century that there is insufficient scientific and/or clinical evidence that running barefoot produces fewer injuries for all runners or should even be considered as the best way to run for the habitually shod population that I advise and treat here in Northern California.

If you do have any scientific evidence that barefoot running is better or produces fewer injuries than running shod, than I am certainly willing to consider that my current opinions regarding this subject may be flawed. Until then, I will continue to make recommendations to other medical professionals, runners and my own patients which are guided by my clinical experience and the scientific research on this fascinating subject.
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  #315  
Old 13th May 2012, 06:06 AM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Kevin, I think we're on almost the exact same page regarding your points. I understand the reluctance of podiatrists (or other medical professionals) to recommend barefoot running. In fact, I've written about that very point repeatedly. We definitely do not want our medical professionals recommending medical advice based on the anecdotal experiences of a few. There's no methodology to control variables, no way to limit bias, or even a systematic way to measure "success." For example, I recently wrote a post about the concept of earthing. If a medical doctor supported the idea based on the "research" done, they probably should not be practicing medicine.

Regarding the available research: I believe this is a major reason barefoot runners and podiatrists seem to disagree. A typical exchange goes something like this:

Barefoot runner: "Hey look, this new study proves barefoot running is better!"
Podiatrist: "No it doesn't. That study has nothing to do with barefoot running. There is no research that shows barefoot running is better than shod running."
Barefoot runner: "Okay, but there's also no research that shows shod running is better than barefoot running."
At this point the conversation usually devolves into name-calling.

The point- I think there's a fundamental lack of understanding on both the limitations of any research and the practical implications of said research. One of my personal goals is to help people understand that all research is limited to lending support to or refuting a hypothesis. That's it. Science doesn't "prove" anything. It doesn't provide definitive answers. I like to think of any given question as a puzzle. Science helps us complete the puzzle, but it will never allow us to complete the entire puzzle. Furthermore, the size of the pieces (thus the relevance to answering the question) is dependent on the quality of the research. Specifically, the relevance is determined by the study's reliability, validity, generalizability, ability to be replicated, degree of bias, and a host of other factors. Popular media (and crappy science teachers) propagate the idea that science is a collection of facts, which simply isn't true. THAT is a source of endless frustration for me and I suspect for you guys, too.

Regarding McDougall, I agree. Great story, great conversation starter. Unfortunately, McDougall vilified the shoe and medical industry by hinting that the modern shoe is a grand conspiracy. That idea has fueled a lot of the dumb-ass comments about the motives of both shoe manufacturers and medical professionals. Unfortunately there was a time where I was guilty of this, too. Dig back a few years in my blog and you'll find them. Since that time, I've spent considerable time trying to get an accurate picture of the running industry and medical community's changing landscape over the last 30-40 years. What I've found thus far is a stark contrast to McDougall's claims. This is one of the reasons I wrote this post:

http://barefootrunninguniversity.com...eed-to-change/

The more connections I make with those barefoot runners supposedly oppose (shoe companies, running stores, podiatrists), the better understanding I have of the current landscape. I then talk about my findings, which helps educate other barefoot runners so we can start to figure out where barefoot running fits in the giant puzzle that is running gait.

If you begin to dig through my writings, I think you'll find we agree far more often than disagree. Furthermore, there's a pretty decent chance our areas of disagreement are the very things I want to discuss. Conversations with the medical community have been invaluable, but they've mostly involved discussions with PTs, Chiropractors, and family doctors. Podiatrists have a degree of expertise that touches on some fundamental issues related to running gait and the accompanying biomechanics.

After that long-winded response, I'd like to get your opinions on this particular issue:

Would the entire issue of barefoot running be better discussed as a question of running form? Specifically, is there a better way to run? A great deal of anecdotal evidence (and some empirical evidence) suggests a shorter, faster stride is advantageous. Issues like shoe design (or lack of shoes), degree of cushioning, foot strike pattern, etc. doesn't seem to play a significant role. Even more specifically, would a runner that severely overstrides become more efficient and reduce injury by shortening the stride length and increasing cadence?
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  #316  
Old 13th May 2012, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Jason:

I just read this.

http://barefootrunninguniversity.com...eed-to-change/

Beautifully written.
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  #317  
Old 13th May 2012, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
Barefoot runner: "Hey look, this new study proves barefoot running is better!"
Podiatrist: "No it doesn't. That study has nothing to do with barefoot running. There is no research that shows barefoot running is better than shod running."
Barefoot runner: "Okay, but there's also no research that shows shod running is better than barefoot running."
The difference here is who is making claims that running in traditional running shoes are better?

As was discussed in the thread on the lawsuit against Vibrams, the traditional running shoe manufacturers are not making these claims. The only injury claims are being made by the minimalist running shoes makers. The burden of proof should be on those making the claims.
Quote:
Would the entire issue of barefoot running be better discussed as a question of running form? Specifically, is there a better way to run? A great deal of anecdotal evidence (and some empirical evidence) suggests a shorter, faster stride is advantageous. Issues like shoe design (or lack of shoes), degree of cushioning, foot strike pattern, etc. doesn't seem to play a significant role. Even more specifically, would a runner that severely overstrides become more efficient and reduce injury by shortening the stride length and increasing cadence?
No. You still get the same religious fanaticism among those promoting their particular 'form' (as an aside, anyone noticed how sensitive those who tout Pose running are to criticism?).

For the sake of boring people, I repeat:
Heel striking = greater impact load; greater forefoot plantarflexion moments --> greater risk of impact injury (ie tibial stress fracture) and anterior tibial muscle issues (eg anterior compartment syndrome)
Forefoot striking = greater rearfoot eversio moments; greater foot dorsiflexion moments; greater forefoot dorsiflexion moments --> greater risk for injury of invertor muscles (eg posterior tibial tendonitis) and planatar flexor muscles (eg achilles tendonitis) and forefoot dorsiflexion problems (eg 'top of foot pain')

The best running form is the one the reduces the load in the tissue that they have an injury history with ... ie there is no one best way.
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  #318  
Old 13th May 2012, 03:37 PM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Craig- I agree with the fanaticism comment. I've been battling this same thing myself: http://barefootrunninguniversity.com...-running-form/

In regards to specific form causing specific injuries: I believe this idea is beginning to spread in the barefoot and minimalist community. More of us have backed off claims of reduced injuries and now discuss a shifting of probable injuries from one location to another. This has led to an "If it isn't broken, don't fix it" approach.

Working off your comment that there is no one best way to run: What are your thoughts on prescribing shoes to healthy children? Is there a default design that's ideal? Do we put kids through a battery of tests like gait analysis? If so, do we do the tests barefoot?

This is a particularly interesting question I get on a regular basis from parents.
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  #319  
Old 13th May 2012, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
After that long-winded response, I'd like to get your opinions on this particular issue:

Would the entire issue of barefoot running be better discussed as a question of running form? Specifically, is there a better way to run? A great deal of anecdotal evidence (and some empirical evidence) suggests a shorter, faster stride is advantageous. Issues like shoe design (or lack of shoes), degree of cushioning, foot strike pattern, etc. doesn't seem to play a significant role. Even more specifically, would a runner that severely overstrides become more efficient and reduce injury by shortening the stride length and increasing cadence?
Jason:

There is no one best way to run for every person. Some people do just fine being heel-strikers, some do best being midfoot strikers and some do best being forefoot strikers. We have known for decades that as running velocity increases, footstrike percentage increases or, in other words, as people run faster they strike more toward their midfoot and forefoot and less on their rearfoot. However, we really don't really know why people self-select certain running forms and footstrike patterns, but the research evidence tends to point to the fact that most experienced runners will self-select the most metabolically-efficient kinematic pattern for running for each given running velocity.

I have been teaching runners to not overstride for over a quarter century. This is nothing new and I certainly wasn't the first to suggest that overstriding is a very common beginning runner's error. I agree that many runners would definitely benefit from decreasing their stride length and increasing their stride frequency. However, running with greater stride length will increase running velocity for a given a constant stride frequency. Therefore, there will be, for each individual, an optimum stride length and stride frequency for each given running velocity.

I am not so certain that the current focus on "running form" is the end all and really deserves all the attention it seems to be currently getting. There are so many other factors that go into improving running performance and decreasing injury rate in runners that have nothing to do with running form, have nothing to do with what running shoe is being worn and whether running shoes are being worn at all. I am attaching a paper I wrote during my senior year of podiatry school, 30 years ago, that reviews the many other factors we should be considering when treating injured runners (Kirby KA, Valmassy RL: The runner-patient history: What to ask and why. JAPA, 73: 39-43, 1983).

Hope this helps.
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File Type: pdf Runner-Patient History - What To Ask and Why.pdf (528.4 KB, 15 views)
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  #320  
Old 14th May 2012, 02:50 AM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Kevin- My own observations of runners over the years align with your points. A follow-up question regarding this: "However, we really don't really know why people self-select certain running forms and footstrike patterns, but the research evidence tends to point to the fact that most experienced runners will self-select the most metabolically-efficient kinematic pattern for running for each given running velocity."

Barefoot and minimalist shoe running advocates note that almost all children seem to run with a midfoot/forefoot landing and avoid overstriding when barefoot and wearing zero-drop shoes regardless of velocity. When placed in raised heel shoes, they tend to begin overstriding with a heel strike, especially at lower velocities. The shoes definitely affect gait. My review of the literature hasn't turned up any empirical evidence measuring this phenomenon, it's based entirely off direct observation.

When new runners begin running, their initial shoe choice also seems to affect gait with that same pattern. The assumption is that the runner isn't self-selecting; the shoe design encourages a specific gait. The two-part question:
1. Is that accurate based on your observations?
2. If so, should we assess gait using a baseline of sorts (like being barefoot)?

To your last point about performance- I've had quite a few conversations with track and cross country coaches. There's a definite cohort effect with teaching running form. It seems teaching running form fell out of favor around the mid-1980's as research on VO2 max and other physiological mechanisms flourished. Some of the more successful coaches seem to have continued teaching running form, though. Even though performance (and injury prevention) is multifaceted, do you think there's still some benefit in teaching running form, especially to novice runners?
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  #321  
Old 14th May 2012, 03:43 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Could someone please define "over-striding" and presumably "under-striding" too?
What factors determine optimal stride length? Velocity, leg length, leg stiffness, angle of attack, others?


Could someone please define "form"?
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  #322  
Old 14th May 2012, 06:13 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
Barefoot and minimalist shoe running advocates note that almost all children seem to run with a midfoot/forefoot landing and avoid overstriding when barefoot and wearing zero-drop shoes regardless of velocity. When placed in raised heel shoes, they tend to begin overstriding with a heel strike, especially at lower velocities. The shoes definitely affect gait. My review of the literature hasn't turned up any empirical evidence measuring this phenomenon, it's based entirely off direct observation.
Jason:

You seem to be assuming that just because a runner self-selects to run in a raised heel shoe with a heel-striking pattern (about 90% of runners) that they are "over-striding with a heel-strike". Have you possibly considered that having a shoe with a cushioned heel may allow the runner to use their full stride length, land with a slight heel strike, and not have to chop their stride and possibly become more inefficient and slower due to the shortened stride length? Maybe barefoot runners are "under-striding" compared to what they could be doing in a shoe with a more cushioned heel? It all depends on what you consider to be "normal form" for a runner.

That being said, I agree that shoes affect gait. The central nervous system (CNS) will regulate running kinematics depending on shoe cushioning, shoe heel height differential, shoe comfort, surface being run on, and running velocity. It is quite clear that the CNS is very capable and able, for nearly all individuals, to choose a relatively efficient way to run for that individual's specific musculoskeletal structure.

What does this mean? This means that the CNS may choose to heel-strike and take longer strides in shoes with a slightly raised heel and more heel cushioning, may choose to midfoot strike in a racing flat with minimum cushioning and minimum heel height differential and also may choose to forefoot strike and take very short strides while running barefoot. And, in all of these cases, the CNS may be choosing the correct stride length and not be over-striding or under-striding for each shoe/barefoot condition.

Which brings us to the next point which Simon made: what is your definition of "over-striding" or "under-striding"? Just because someone is a heel-striker does not make them an "over-strider" since the majority of runners in traditional training flats run with a heel striking pattern and the majority of runners don't "over-stride". Taking too short of a stride will limit speed and is energy inefficient so the goal shouldn't be to take as short of a stride as possible. The goal of the runner should be to choose the optimum combination of stride frequency/stride length for each shoe condition at a given running velocity.

Hope this answers your questions.
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  #323  
Old 14th May 2012, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Originally Posted by Kevin Kirby View Post
Jason:

You seem to be assuming that just because a runner self-selects to run in a raised heel shoe with a heel-striking pattern (about 90% of runners) that they are "over-striding with a heel-strike". Have you possibly considered that having a shoe with a cushioned heel may allow the runner to use their full stride length, land with a slight heel strike, and not have to chop their stride and possibly become more inefficient and slower due to the shortened stride length? Maybe barefoot runners are "under-striding" compared to what they could be doing in a shoe with a more cushioned heel? It all depends on what you consider to be "normal form" for a runner.

That being said, I agree that shoes affect gait. The central nervous system (CNS) will regulate running kinematics depending on shoe cushioning, shoe heel height differential, shoe comfort, surface being run on, and running velocity. It is quite clear that the CNS is very capable and able, for nearly all individuals, to choose a relatively efficient way to run for that individual's specific musculoskeletal structure.

What does this mean? This means that the CNS may choose to heel-strike and take longer strides in shoes with a slightly raised heel and more heel cushioning, may choose to midfoot strike in a racing flat with minimum cushioning and minimum heel height differential and also may choose to forefoot strike and take very short strides while running barefoot. And, in all of these cases, the CNS may be choosing the correct stride length and not be over-striding or under-striding for each shoe/barefoot condition.

Which brings us to the next point which Simon made: what is your definition of "over-striding" or "under-striding"? Just because someone is a heel-striker does not make them an "over-strider" since the majority of runners in traditional training flats run with a heel striking pattern and the majority of runners don't "over-stride". Taking too short of a stride will limit speed and is energy inefficient so the goal shouldn't be to take as short of a stride as possible. The goal of the runner should be to choose the optimum combination of stride frequency/stride length for each shoe condition at a given running velocity.

Hope this answers your questions.
That's pretty much were I was trying to lead to with my questions.
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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That being said, I agree that shoes affect gait. The central nervous system (CNS) will regulate running kinematics depending on shoe cushioning, shoe heel height differential, shoe comfort, surface being run on, and running velocity. It is quite clear that the CNS is very capable and able, for nearly all individuals, to choose a relatively efficient way to run for that individual's specific musculoskeletal structure.

What does this mean? This means that the CNS may choose to heel-strike and take longer strides in shoes with a slightly raised heel and more heel cushioning, may choose to midfoot strike in a racing flat with minimum cushioning and minimum heel height differential and also may choose to forefoot strike and take very short strides while running barefoot. And, in all of these cases, the CNS may be choosing the correct stride length and not be over-striding or under-striding for each shoe/barefoot condition.
So, if we assume that the CNS is pretty smart which it patently is, that it basically wants to provide metabolic efficiency and injury avoidance, and it is correctly optimising gait kinematics for a given environment and task to achieve these aims, what might happen to an individuals risk of injury / metabolic efficiency if they then attempt to consciously over-ride the sub-conscious control and alter their kinematics? Which is smarter the conscious or sub-conscious mind?

Now, you could argue the Robbins-Gouwe hypothesis. But...
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  #325  
Old 14th May 2012, 12:06 PM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

I should clarify- I don't necessarily advocate a shortened stride as a default... over-striding just appears to be more common than under-striding.

I agree with all of these points, which brings me to another question. Kevin, you mentioned earlier that most experienced runners will self-select the ideal stride length for any given condition. Based on my own personal experiences and observations, I agree. What about novice runners? Even barefoot, where they have the added sensory input of plantar tactile sensation, many newer runners have a difficult time finding that metabolic efficiency sweet spot. Wouldn't these individuals likely benefit from some basic "how to run" instruction, or even a simple explanation of how the CNS regulates gait for maximum efficiency? For example, you mentioned you often teach runners to shorten their stride. Wouldn't this be beneficial if they are clearly striding outside their optimal metabolic efficiency zone?

It's a tangent, but I don't believe there is any research on the factors that would affect the time needed for the CNS to "regulate" gait to maximize efficiency. Based on your personal experiences as a runner and observer of runners, have you noticed any patterns that could be used to predict the length of time this regulation takes?
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Old 14th May 2012, 12:17 PM
Jason Robillard Jason Robillard is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Originally Posted by Simon Spooner View Post
So, if we assume that the CNS is pretty smart which it patently is, that it basically wants to provide metabolic efficiency and injury avoidance, and it is correctly optimising gait kinematics for a given environment and task to achieve these aims, what might happen to an individuals risk of injury / metabolic efficiency if they then attempt to consciously over-ride the sub-conscious control and alter their kinematics? Which is smarter the conscious or sub-conscious mind?

Now, you could argue the Robbins-Gouwe hypothesis. But...
Interestingly, I had this very discussion with a trail runner utilizing the Pose method in a recent ultramarathon. The runner had a great deal of excessive movement given the incredibly slow pace and was clearly wasting energy. They did not appreciate my advice.

Aside from the Robbins-Gouwe research, is there anything in the literature that examines consciously overriding the CNS-derived gait? Better yet, is there data that suggests injury rate increases the farther one deviates from the "optimal" gait? This is a topic that would be of interest to any running coach.
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Old 14th May 2012, 12:24 PM
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Simon Spooner Simon Spooner is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
I should clarify- I don't necessarily advocate a shortened stride as a default... over-striding just appears to be more common than under-striding.
But you still haven't defined "over-striding" nor "under-striding"
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Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post

What about novice runners? Even barefoot, where they have the added sensory input of plantar tactile sensation,
No, they have different sensory input. This is not the same as an "added" sensory input. Wearing shoes does not result in neuropathy- right Jason? I saw you were reading the Robbins-Gouw thread here earlier- what do you think?

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many newer runners have a difficult time finding that metabolic efficiency sweet spot. Wouldn't these individuals likely benefit from some basic "how to run" instruction, or even a simple explanation of how the CNS regulates gait for maximum efficiency? For example, you mentioned you often teach runners to shorten their stride. Wouldn't this be beneficial if they are clearly striding outside their optimal metabolic efficiency zone?
Isn't the style of running sub-consciously adopted the most metabolically efficient for a given "new running" body within a certain motor-task and set of environmental factors then Jason? What does the research tell us? Why would the body adopt a less than optimal metabolic movement pattern if not to avoid injury? You seem to be treating the sub-conscious human body like it is some dumb object that doesn't know more than you about how to run efficiently or without pain, when frankly it does.
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  #328  
Old 14th May 2012, 12:54 PM
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Simon Spooner Simon Spooner is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

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Aside from the Robbins-Gouwe research, is there anything in the literature that examines consciously overriding the CNS-derived gait? Better yet, is there data that suggests injury rate increases the farther one deviates from the "optimal" gait? This is a topic that would be of interest to any running coach.
Answer my questions, then I'll think about answering yours. In the meantime take a look at literature which examines self-selected gait on metabolic efficiency versus derived gait on metabolic efficiency and look at the literature pertaining to the relationship twixt fatigue and injury. Knock yourself out and come back when you have. Lets see what you can learn for yourself, rather than being spoon fed. I'm a big fan of Carl Roger's when it comes to learning. And you are here to learn- right Jason?
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  #329  
Old 14th May 2012, 01:13 PM
efuller efuller is offline
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robillard View Post
What about novice runners? Even barefoot, where they have the added sensory input of plantar tactile sensation, many newer runners have a difficult time finding that metabolic efficiency sweet spot. Wouldn't these individuals likely benefit from some basic "how to run" instruction, or even a simple explanation of how the CNS regulates gait for maximum efficiency? For example, you mentioned you often teach runners to shorten their stride. Wouldn't this be beneficial if they are clearly striding outside their optimal metabolic efficiency zone?
If the instruction was "listen to your body and try some different stride lengths" I could agree with that. However, an instructor would have to know what the most efficient, least injurious style of running for that individual. The person running has a better sense of the strain on tissues than the observer.

Eric
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Old 14th May 2012, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: There is no barefoot running debate

The effect of stride length variation on oxygen uptake during distance running. Cavanagh, Peter R. And Keith R. Williams, Med. Sci. Sports Exercise, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 30-35, 1982


Preferred and Optimal Stride Frequency, Stiffness and Economy: Changes with Fatigue During a One-Hour, High-Intensity Run, Iain Hunter and Gerald A. Smith, European Journal of Applied Physiology 2007 Aug;100(6):653-61



There's some of your homework done for you Jason. You are capable of doing the rest, just like you are capable of admitting when you are wrong- right?
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