I’ve been waiting anxiously for Ross Tucker over at the Science of Sport blog to post his summary of the barefoot running/footwear discussion that took place last week at the UKSEM conference in London. If you aren’t aware of this event, it was a panel discussion that included some of the most eminent figures involved in the ongoing debate about form and footwear.
Ross at Science of Sport describes the panelists as follows:
- Prof Daniel Howell, an anatomy professor from Liberty (USA), known as the “barefoot professor”
- Simon Barthold, who formerly worked as a podiatrist but who now works in biomechanics and is Asics global research consultant
- Prof Benno Nigg, one of the world’s leading biomechanists
- Dr Mathias Marquard, a clinician and running coach (who would go on to become the voice of reason in many of the more hostile aspects of the debate, as I’ll describe!)
- Prof Daniel Lieberman, evolutionary biologist from Harvard, who as you may know, recently published the Nature studies looking at how habitually shod and barefoot runners differ, and who wrote a key paper on how humans are adapted (skeletally and physiologically) to run long distances
Quite a lineup!
I’m not going to comment on Ross’ post since I was not at the conference, nor have I heard the audio of the discussion (hoping UKSEM posts it – hint, hint!). Furthermore, I largely share Ross’ viewpoint on barefoot running, which he describes as follows:
“Buy barefoot running as a concept, try it out as a training modality, but keep the receipt so that you can return it if you don’t find the “fit” right for you. At worst, you’ll discover a new muscle activation pattern, a new and effective training method, and potentially, changes to running form that will help you run better, in shoes”
So, rather than continue to comment on an event that I did not witness, I’ll recommend that you head on over to the Science of Sport blog and read Ross’ summary.
Here’s the direct link: http://www.sportsscientists.com/2011/11/barefoot-running-round-table-discussion.html