How Did You Learn to Run?

What informational source did you examine to learn to run? In other words, what is the exact biomechanical gait model that runners learn from? One hasn’t really been established, until now.
Unfortunately, it is commonly accepted for runners to believe everyone has their own unique style of running. Tellingly, research has revealed that humans have the ideal body geometry for forefoot running, not heel strike running. This makes sense as many heel strikers struggle to stay injury-free.

How Did You Learn to Run?

For me, it was Dr. Lieberman’s work coupled with Pose Running and a little bit of Chi Running, that taught me how to run, on my forefoot. Before becoming a forefoot runner, I was a heel striker, which is why I became a forefoot runner in the first place.

After Lieberman’s publications on the proper foot strike, ‘traditional’ biomechanics became a source of conflict as many heel strike runners failed to realize that the best runners in the world (shown below) ran barefoot for many years and are not heel strikers.

Learn to Run
Ethiopian runners learn to run by running barefoot.

We know the definition of running:

Running is defined as a bouncing motion of a spring-mass system where energy is transferred primarily between spring energy and gravitational potential energy.

But what does running look like?

This is the biggest problem in the scientific literature because most work is centered on heel strike runners and the heel strike running style.

Learning to Run
What we know about heel strike running clashes with what we know about forefoot running. The trouble with heel striking is that its heavily involved in the unsolved running-injury crisis.

What we know about plantar fasciitis, shin splints, runners knee, foot kinematics, the gait cycle, treatment for foot pathologies pertains to heel strike runners and heel strike running.

Such information would be obsolete to a forefoot striker because the mechanics between forefoot and heel strike running are completely different. This is why the scientific literature is not the best resource to learn the proper running technique because evidently, forefoot running is the proper way to run.

And it certainly doesn’t help that the footwear industry had blinded us to the reality that humans did not evolve to run in heeled running shoes.

We now know that forefoot running is a proven technique

Learn How to Run
Dr. Lieberman’s work initiated the barefoot running movement, bringing the recommendation of heel strike under fire.

that not only reduces, but prevents injury and enhances performance.

By bringing their vision and research together, Dr. Lieberman, Dr. Romanov, along with barefoot running advocates as well as myself, will establish a more comprehensive gait model for runners to not only empower more people to run, but to empower runners to run properly.

How to Learn to Run
My running injuries vanished soon after learning of forefoot running via Dr. Lieberman and Dr. Romanov’s work.

More From Run Forefoot:

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

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P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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