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.
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.
This is why I like to use Tirunesh Dibaba’s organized forefoot running style to make recommendations on how runners should be running.
Not only that, proper forefoot running goes beyond foot strike.
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.
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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.