On Wednesday (April 6th) I attended a couple of lectures at the Spaulding Outpatient Clinic in Wellesley, MA. The featured Speaker was Irene Davis PhD, PT, FAPTA, FACSM, who is often referred to as the “Barefoot Running Professor”. The other speaker was Rosalyn Nguyen M.D.
I’m not going to attempt to summarize their lectures here in great detail. However, they both made some great points that I would like to share.
Dr. Nguyen in her lecture “Management of Musculoskeletal Pain in Running Athletes” made a wonderful statement about some of the reasons why runners get injured. Unfortunately I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was something like the following.
Often runners are getting injure because they are running…
- Too Much
- Too Soon
- Too Often
- Too Fast
Essentially many runners are getting injured because they do not have realistic expectations about the volume and speed of their training as well as the rate of adaption to increased volume and intensity
The featured speaker, Dr. Davis, gave a great overview of where the science is and isn’t on barefoot running in her lecture “Barefoot Running: Shifting Paradigms in Footwear, Foot Strikes and Treatment of the Foot." I was pleasantly surprised to see that the scientific evidence to support Barefoot/Minimalist running and the use of the forefoot strike is more extensive than I realized. There are still a lot of unanswered questions to be sure, but the research continues, and so far the science is definitely favoring forefoot technique.
There was one Point Dr. Davis speculated on that resonated with me, because I’ve been wondering about this myself. She stated that she believes that modern distance runners are training and racing much faster than we are designed to run. In other words, many distance runners are training and racing faster than evolution has equipped us for. She didn’t go into detail on this point, but I think there is an increasing amount of evidence to support this idea. However, this is another one of those unanswered questions that will need more research.