Video on Barefoot Running

This video, featuring Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman, is one of things that convinced me to take up barefoot running. I’m now up to 2.5 miles three days a week and I’ve been running barefoot for most of 2010 with no injuries. Now, off to get to get that gazelle for dinner . . .

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  1. This was a great clip. I want to try this all the way barefoot, but have only moved toward more minimal shoes since seeing your last barefoot running post. And (sadly) I’ve experienced what I think were the beginning of stress fractures due to trying too much too soon. My heart is used to a full out run- but that doesn’t mean my less cushioned feet are. But when the weather warms, I’m determined to try it again with no shoes, because the injury free aspect appeals to me.

  2. As a physics teacher I’m a little bothered that this video completely glosses over the data they are showing. The maximum magnitude of the force of the forefoot strike is actually greater than the maximum magnitude of the heel strike.

  3. mamatronic–indeed, you have to go at this gradually. We’re used to shoes so you have to do a gentle transition.

    yolanda–you do have to watch where you step. That being said, the human foot is designed to go over sharp objects. As for the poo and phlegm, thankfully we don’t run with our tongues.

    Ross, interesting point, but I trust Dr. Leiberman has addressed this. Will have to find his study and read the whole thing.

  4. so why not then continue to run with shoes on for the additional protection but strike on the forefoot area to reduce impact and get the best of both worlds?

  5. ariel,

    It’s possible to run with shoes as if you are barefoot, but I’d worry about falling back into bad habits. And shoes, as Dr. Leiberman shows, actually increase imnpact forces. It’s a paradox, the more padding our feet get the more impact we tend to be comfortable with.

  6. Thanks for posting this great video. I dabbled with the unshod approach & (as Ariel suggests) benefited from a largely unconscious change in my shod foot strike from heel to forefoot. After 6 shod marathons in 2010, I ramped up with an eye toward a Vibram-shod ‘thon in 2011 (phlegm & poo are fine, but the glass worries me). I’m 185 pounds, 50 years old … & stupid. Word to the wise from me & my fractured metatarsal: ramp up over a few months, not days.

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