VB: Briefly, what does Daniel Lieberman’s research show?
LS: The paper entitled ‘Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners’ studied athletes in the Harvard cross country running team between August 2006 – January 2011 and found that the runners in the team who have a habitual heel-strike running technique had twice as many repetitive stress injuries than the runners in the team who have a habitual forefoot-strike running technique.
The other paper released by Dan and his team entitled ‘Effects of Footwear and Strike Type on Running Economy’ shows that wearing ‘minimalist’ running shoes improves running efficiency regardless of running technique.
VB: The research mentions forefoot and rear foot strike, how does this relate to barefoot running?
LS: One of the fundamental characteristic of skillful barefoot running is a forefoot-strike running technique. Heel-striking when running barefoot on hard surfaces is un-natural and very painful!
VB: Runners, both forefoot and rear foot strikers, are still getting injured. What can we do about this?
LS: The most important point is to realise that running is a skill and that a majority of chronic/repetitive injuries are due to lack of skill (the rest are due to over-training/lack of recovery). Therefore, becoming a skillful runner is the foundation of injury-free running.
VB: So, technique is really important, not just footstike. Where would someone new to barefoot running begin?
LS: The theory behind barefoot running technique is very simple; forefoot-strike, upright posture and a higher cadence/shorter stride length but like all other sports skills the application of the theory takes time, discipline and practise and is often a painful experience! I have created a free ebook that explains the fundamentals of barefoot technique but I highly recommend attending a running clinic or a coaching session with one of my certified coaches to accelerate your learning curve and avoid some of the most common and painful errors.
VB: How does this research relate to VIVOBAREFOOT?
LS: This research justifies the existence and mission of the brand. There is now solid, scientific evidence to back up the core messaging of the company; that skillful barefoot running technique is the solution to the epidemic of chronic running injuries and that a light/minimal shoe can improve running performance. VIVOBAREFOOT is leading the evolution!