Like a lot of movements, the case for minimalist or barefoot running seems to be based largely on anecdotes, speculation, and what countless people think makes perfect sense. Fortunately, good research and peer-reviewed studies exist, though at this point there is much catching up to be done. The study of minimalist running is particularly suited to an interdisciplinary approach; principally involving the fields of evolutionary biology, kinesiology, anthropology, and psychology, and including collaboration between research scientists, clinicians, and subjects and patients.
Harvard University is at the forefront in this quest, as Katie Koch explains in this April 2012 piece in the Harvard Gazette.
Chasing Down a Better Way to Run
By Katie Koch
Harvard Provost Alan Garber loves running—so much so that when he returned to his alma mater last year, he listed among the job’s perks a chance to resume his exercise route along the Charles River.
“I love seeing Dunster House as I’m approaching the end of my run,” said Garber, who’ll soon be pounding the pavement with nearly 30,000 others in the Boston Marathon on April 16.
But until recently, Garber described himself as “recidivist runner.” The cause wasn’t a lack of enthusiasm or even of precious time, but an all-too-common phenomenon for regular runners: repeat injury. “I was at the point where injuries were making it questionable whether I’d be able to continue to run,” he said. Read More »