Why I Use Tirunesh Dibaba as a Model for Forefoot Running

Most of my blog posts and YouTube videos feature Tirunesh Dibaba as a reference point for learning forefoot running. Why her?

In my opinion, Tirunesh Dibaba, as well as many other Ethiopian distance runners, exhibits what forefoot running should look like because she ran barefoot for many years.

Tirunesh Dibaba Running Style

Why I Use Tirunesh Dibaba as a Model for Forefoot Running

Barefoot running from day one, without the influence of the traditional running shoe, allows a runner to develop discrete biomechanical parameters that reflects the biomechanics of how our ancestors ran 4 million years ago.

Over the last decade, research has sent a loud message to runners that humans evolved as barefoot endurance runners and ran with a forefoot strike, not a heel strike like many joggers today.

The forefoot running style of Tirunesh Dibaba is essentially pure and fundamental because it has not been affected by the traditional running shoe. Wearing the traditional running shoe at an early age dismantles the way the human body was engineered to run via natural selection.

Learning from Tirunesh Dibaba

This is why I like to use Tirunesh Dibaba’s organized forefoot running style to make recommendations on how runners should be running.

Tirunesh Dibaba and Forefoot RunningNot only that, proper forefoot running goes beyond foot strike.

Growing up barefoot enable Tirunesh Dibaba to learn the proper forefoot running technique from head to toe, i.e. proper position of the trunk, eye gaze, head position etc.

In a sense, the learned forefoot running style via barefoot running of Tirunesh Dibaba provides a glimpse into our evolutionary past as to how humans were engineered to run.

But unfortunately, our love affair with running shoes is a problem because they impair our natural biomechanics, causing us to deviate away from how Dibaba runs. And, although many American elite distance runners are forefoot strikers, they do not share the exact biomechanical parameters of Tirunesh Dibaba because they evolved under shod conditions.

Shod conditions obstructs the body from developing the fundamental forefoot running mechanics humans are hardwired for.

In the context of running efficiency and biomechanics and based on the outstanding performance of Ethiopian distance runners, barefoot conditions is novel and works better than any running shoe.

More From Run Forefoot:

Strength Training Ideas

Dangers of Heel Striking in Minimalist Shoes

Best Barefoot Running Sandals

How to Prevent Hip Pain From Running

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

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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