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WarriorDiplomat
06-15-2014, 06:09
Study: Running Form Of The Tarahumara Indians
Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman turns from the Kenyans to the fabled ultrarunners of Copper Canyon.
By Amby Burfoot (Google+)Published May 12, 2014
Harvard evolutionary biologist and running-form expert Daniel Lieberman doesn’t mess around when it comes to studying the most fascinating running cultures. Several years ago he published a widely-heralded paper about the forefoot-strike employed by many Kenyan runners. Now he has reported from Mexico’s vast Copper Canyon where the fabled Tarahumara Indians live and run.

Copper Canyon and the Tarahumara formed the framework of Chris McDougall’s best-selling Born To Run, the book that launched barefoot running and minimalist running. Copper Canyon is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon, and the huarache-shod Tarahumara have practiced long-distance-running contests for eons. Huaraches are rawhide- or car-tire-soled sandals. The Tarahumara have raced well on occasion in U.S. ultra races, and more than hold their own when U.S. runners travel to Copper Canyon for races. This despite the fact that they don’t “train” in any conventional fashion—an important point that Lieberman notes several times.

In his new paper [see below for free, full-text link], Lieberman compares the running style of huarache-wearing Tarahumara men and women with the style of slightly younger Tarahumara who have grown up mostly in western-style shoes. Many of the shy, wary Tarahumara refused to participate, not wishing to be videotaped. In the end, Lieberman was able to film 12 runners who were minimally shod (MS, grew up wearing huaraches most of the time) and eight who were conventionally shod (CS, grew up mostly in western shoes).

As usual, Lieberman was interested in footstrike (forefoot/midfoot v. rearfoot) and other stride variables such as stride length, hip/knee/ankle movements, and arch structure. The Tarahumara in the study ran at a range of easy paces, with many clustering around 7:30 per mile. The two groups did not differ in height, leg length, or body mass.

The CS runners were nearly eight years younger than the MS runners. More importantly, 75 percent of the CS runners landed on their heels, roughly the same percentage found in lab and road-race studies of western runners. Only 30 percent of the MS runners landed on their heels, a significant difference.

The MS runners were also significantly less likely to “overstride” than the CS runners. In other words, they were much less likely to reach their front foot beyond the knee at touchdown. Many running form experts believe this is a central tenet of good running form. There was no significant difference between groups for stride frequency. The MS runners hit the road with significantly more-flexed knees and hips, and significantly more plantarflexion at the ankles (toes pointed downward v. upward). These differences all disappeared at mid-stride.

Lieberman appears to be growing ever more interested in arch structure. In the new study, he found no significant difference in arch height between groups, but “arch stiffness” was almost twice as great in the MS group, and two of the CS runners actually had flat feet.

This finding, Lieberman writes, “suggests that the Tarahumara who wear huaraches had stronger intrinsic muscles that lead to a stiffer longitudinal arch.” In theory, this could lead to fewer injuries and more energy-return, although Lieberman himself makes no such claims.

That’s because he has grown weary of the way some runners interpret his studies, jumping to simple and unjustified conclusions. His new paper could not be more cautionary in tone. It includes many sentences such as the following. “There is much more to running form than strike type.” And, “Many limitations caution against over interpreting the results of this study.”

And this classic: “Finally, it is worth considering the relevance of these results for the majority of runners who grow up wearing shoes, rarely if ever run ultramarathons, and are habituated to conventional running shoes. Evidence that traditional Tarahumara who wear huaraches mostly avoid rearfoot landings on flat surfaces at moderate speeds is hardly justification for someone to switch to minimal shoes and stop heel striking.”

It's statements like these that lend credence to Lieberman's running research. He's first and foremost a scientist and evolutionary biologist. He knows how we got here, and knows there is infinite variation within our shared heritage. We’re the same, but different. Evolution hasn’t stopped; it’s continuous, with all the good and bad that implies.

The paper, “Strike type variation among Tarahumara Indians in minimal sandals versus contentional running shoes” is published in the open-access Journal of Sport and Health Science. Free full text.

http://www.runnersworld.com/minimalist-shoes/study-running-form-of-the-tarahumara-indians

tim180a
06-16-2014, 07:58
This is a pretty good read along the same lines...


http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307279189

Box
06-16-2014, 12:16
minimalist running to me is defined as jogging slowly to the coffee shop....

...the closest coffee shop.

mark46th
06-16-2014, 21:05
At my age, the only places I run are to the table and the toilet.

MtnGoat
06-17-2014, 06:59
At my age, the only places I run are to the table and the toilet.

ROTF.. Funny

perdurabo
06-18-2014, 11:06
I've been rather impressed with Anton Krupicka's running style. Yeah, he's one of the best trail runners in the world, but his basics are worth paying attention to.

Go on YouTube and look up videos of him. Minimally-padded shoes. Very short strides, rapid pace, low impact, no foot slapping. The documentary "Unbreakable: The Western States" also has a lot of valuable footage as he starts fresh and after exhaustion sets in towards the latter parts of the race.

http://www.ws100film.com/

PRB
06-18-2014, 12:32
I'm really liking the min running deal.
I've found that short steps so that your lower leg is vertical upon foot plant is key to flat or ball of the foot running. You just speed up.
That's especially important for rough terrain and rocky ground.
If the leg is vertical your muscles absorb the shock, overextend as a sprinter does and your heel/knee/joints take the shock.
Watch a slow mo of a sprint and you can see the shock/pounding going up the bone structure.
I can see how folks overdo/hurt themselves if their stride is wrong combined with min shoes.
With min shoes your muscles/ligaments extend further (no built up heel to limit downward travel) so it should be done slowly until your ligaments 'stretch' a bit and a slow start warm up period is important to.
I've also found I can run further with less energy expended which seems to be strange as I do take more strides.
The only downside for me is I cannot daydream while I run...I have to pay attention to where I put my foot (trail running) so as not to stomp a rock.

tim180a
06-25-2014, 04:55
Here is something I stumbled on several weeks ago. Dr. Campitelli is a podiatrist who also likes to run. His studies show how the minimalist style of running actually strengthens and improves weak feet.

http://www.drnicksrunningblog.com/two-year-long-case-study-demonstrating-an-increase-in-arch-height-from-running-in-minimalist-shoes/

booker
06-25-2014, 09:59
... The only downside for me is I cannot daydream while I run...I have to pay attention to where I put my foot (trail running) so as not to stomp a rock.


It is worthwhile to get a minimalist shoe with a rock plate, so that if you do hit a rock, you lower the risk of fracturing the foot. I've always had good luck with the removable spike cross country shoes, since they have an integrated plate (essentially a sheet of somewhat pliable plastic) in the forefoot. I've also taken to using a more padded zero drop shoe (Altra is my preference) in really rocky areas. While it does decrease proprioception, the added padding is more forgiving on the forefoot and allows for an overall more comfortable run. The zero drop still allows for a more forward running gait.

Watch any Kenyan running video where they are running in their home country with no shoes, that is the gait that everyone here is trying to mimic. Short strides, and when you want to go faster don't increase the stride length but increase the cadence. Dr. Jack Daniels talks about this in his books as well (Daniels' Running Formula), which is a good reference for any type of runner.

PRB
06-25-2014, 12:57
It is worthwhile to get a minimalist shoe with a rock plate, so that if you do hit a rock, you lower the risk of fracturing the foot. I've always had good luck with the removable spike cross country shoes, since they have an integrated plate (essentially a sheet of somewhat pliable plastic) in the forefoot. I've also taken to using a more padded zero drop shoe (Altra is my preference) in really rocky areas. While it does decrease proprioception, the added padding is more forgiving on the forefoot and allows for an overall more comfortable run. The zero drop still allows for a more forward running gait.

Watch any Kenyan running video where they are running in their home country with no shoes, that is the gait that everyone here is trying to mimic. Short strides, and when you want to go faster don't increase the stride length but increase the cadence. Dr. Jack Daniels talks about this in his books as well (Daniels' Running Formula), which is a good reference for any type of runner.

Thanks, I think I can make it work by paying attn. not a bad thing to do anyway.
This min running thing has rejuvenated my desire to run and not just do it for the workout...so much more energy after a run for some reason using the quicker shorter stride.

PSM
06-25-2014, 15:00
It's funny, that's how I ran in High School and was made fun of and "coached" out of it. That led to getting shin splints to the point that I came to hate running.

Since reading this thread, I've been trying it on our drive and road. Even as out of shape as I am at the moment, I've come to like it enough to keep it up.

Thanks for the info!

Pat

booker
06-27-2014, 08:18
It's funny, that's how I ran in High School and was made fun of and "coached" out of it. That led to getting shin splints to the point that I came to hate running.

Since reading this thread, I've been trying it on our drive and road. Even as out of shape as I am at the moment, I've come to like it enough to keep it up.

Thanks for the info!

Pat


Pat, take it easy running on hard surfaces until your feet get conditioned. You've spent the better part of your life wearing shoes that have allowed for those muscles to get deconditioned, so it will take some time to get things strengthened up. I started out running barefoot on the football field (grass not artificial turf) for a couple of weeks, increasing the distance each time (nothing major, +100 yd each time), then started going on trails. It was about 6-9 months before I was doing distance on pavement or concrete. It's more fun to run on dirt anyway.

PSM
06-27-2014, 11:21
Pat, take it easy running on hard surfaces until your feet get conditioned. You've spent the better part of your life wearing shoes that have allowed for those muscles to get deconditioned, so it will take some time to get things strengthened up. I started out running barefoot on the football field (grass not artificial turf) for a couple of weeks, increasing the distance each time (nothing major, +100 yd each time), then started going on trails. It was about 6-9 months before I was doing distance on pavement or concrete. It's more fun to run on dirt anyway.

My roads are dirt. :D Soon to be mud, when the Monsoons kick in. ;) Don't worry, though, I'm more interested in the forefoot style of running than the minimalist footwear. Our mailbox is about a half a mile away, so a couple of mile runs (or jogs) a day would do wonders for me at my age. With a beer chaser, of course. ;)

Pat

Brush Okie
06-27-2014, 12:57
It is interesting to read this stuff. I run on the balls of my feet naturally and have been told that was wrong. Guess I was correct the whole time. Running never was my best pt event. While I am strong and used to do pushups, situps and ruck humps till the cows come home running was never easy or was I very good at it. When I get back that far I will look at the these shoes etc and see if it helps me.

Loadsmasher
07-01-2014, 10:17
It is interesting to read this stuff. I run on the balls of my feet naturally and have been told that was wrong. Guess I was correct the whole time. Running never was my best pt event. While I am strong and used to do pushups, situps and ruck humps till the cows come home running was never easy or was I very good at it. When I get back that far I will look at the these shoes etc and see if it helps me.

Technique trumps equipment. Well, with the help of the right terrain. If you forefoot/midfoot strike you're good to go. Just find somewhere soft to run and kick off your shoes. In my experience, once I was able to run 2 miles without being crippled the next day, the transition was complete. I haven't had shin splints in 5 years and I did a 200 mile, 10 man relay (Texas Independance) back in March and was back to my normal running routine two days later.

booker
07-02-2014, 14:20
Technique trumps equipment. Well, with the help of the right terrain. If you forefoot/midfoot strike you're good to go. Just find somewhere soft to run and kick off your shoes. In my experience, once I was able to run 2 miles without being crippled the next day, the transition was complete. I haven't had shin splints in 5 years and I did a 200 mile, 10 man relay (Texas Independance) back in March and was back to my normal running routine two days later.

Good point. It's also hard to run with poor technique uphill, so if you are unsure on the mechanics find a hill and take off your shoes, things will work themselves out.

WarriorDiplomat
07-07-2014, 06:27
Thought I would give an update of my experience with minimalist style running. As an SUT Cadre although a NCOIC I wanted to be able to throw on a heavy ruck and do exactly what we ask our students to do here. For the last 10 years my knees were killing me to the point of not being ble to squat down at times to pick something up, my lower back gave me alot of problems etc....I was looking at surgery and had tried all the rehab except for THOR3. I read this article I posted about mnimalist running and decided to give it a try, I realzed it isn't just running it applies to walking and rucking as well. I had been striding heel to toe for so long it caught up to me, I was forcing my hamstring to pull into the next step by overstriding with a slightly less back stride. My hamstrings were kept over stretched which I believe had weakened my lower back and the IT bands that run from the hip region down the side and across the knees were constantly tight and painful.

I decided to apply the same movement to walking after a week my knees quit hurting along with my lower back...success. I started running with no pain and no crippling tightening of my back and hips afterwards...success again. I felt great and can without pain squat to the ground without pain to pic something up. Next step was putting a ruck on and using the same step stride change and only went 4 miles, no pain and even after some stretching and sitting down to do some work my body felt good, in the past I would be walking hunched and struggle to step up however my body felt good. One more adjustment for a ruckmarch was to balance my weight with my core strength not simply leaning forward but a strong nuetral position. The next step was an 8 miler and a 10 miler bumping my weight up the same resuls, I was sore where I should have been but my knees, lower back amd heels felt great. My pace tempo changes due to a shorter forward stride but my kick is stronger and had no issue at 46 yrs old being able to walk a sub 2,5 hr 10 miler with 60 pounds + the next will be a sub 2.5 12 miler and a serious long range movement.

Thats my experience, it takes some time to get used to do something you haven't done since barefoot country boy but I wish I had done this sooner.

PRB
07-07-2014, 15:41
WD....great personal story and I hope it continues in that vein.
I use to enjoy doing walk alongs with SUT when Lance H was the NCOIC of that element. We're talking back in the mid to late 90's.
How does the reg Army stack up nowadays with sut?

WarriorDiplomat
07-07-2014, 15:49
WD....great personal story and I hope it continues in that vein.
I use to enjoy doing walk alongs with SUT when Lance H was the NCOIC of that element. We're talking back in the mid to late 90's.
How does the reg Army stack up nowadays with sut?

Reg Army is hit and miss these days, the soldiers are getting mentally weaker but physically better trained they just struggle with adversity, The training prior to SUT is intense ohysically but the mental strain of navigating, C2, reacting to adversity etc... is where they struggle as a whole.

MtnGoat
07-07-2014, 16:23
Thought I would give an update of my experience with minimalist style running. As an SUT Cadre although a NCOIC I wanted to be able to throw on a heavy ruck and do exactly what we ask our students to do here. For the last 10 years my knees were killing me to the point of not being ble to squat down at times to pick something up, my lower back gave me alot of problems etc....I was looking at surgery and had tried all the rehab except for THOR3. I read this article I posted about mnimalist running and decided to give it a try, I realzed it isn't just running it applies to walking and rucking as well. I had been striding toe for so long it caught up to me, I was forcing my hamstring to pull into the next step by overstriding with a slightly less back stride. My hamstrings were kept over stretched which I believe had weakened my lower back and the IT bands that run from the hip region down the side and across the knees were constantly tight and painful.

I decided to apply the same movement to walking after a week my knees quit hurting along with my lower back...success. I started running with no pain and no crippling tightening of my back and hips afterwards...success again. I felt great and can without pain squat to the ground without pain to pic something up. Next step was putting a ruck on and using the same step stride change and only went 4 miles, no pain and even after some stretching and sitting down to do some work my body felt good, in the past I would be walking hunched and struggle to step up however my body felt good. One more adjustment for a ruckmarch was to balance my weight with my core strength not simply leaning forward but a strong nuetral position. The next step was an 8 miler and a 10 miler bumping my weight up the same resuls, I was sore where I should have been but my knees, lower back amd heels felt great. My pace tempo changes due to a shorter forward stride but my kick is stronger and had no issue at 46 yrs old being able to walk a sub 2,5 hr 10 miler with 60 pounds + the next will be a sub 2.5 12 miler and a serious long range movement.

Thats my experience, it takes some time to get used to do something you haven't done since barefoot country boy but I wish I had done this sooner.

WD really good write up. Once thing I have learned from getting ready for retirement is anything you typically had a medic take care of and never got into your medic record. Anything you got treated for while deployed and had the aid station, Bn Med or a outstay ion med station take care. Get seen for it and get them to document when it first started happening. If you self medicate, "Suck it UP," natural, or whatever get seen for it AGAIN. My legs and back are just like you and from what I've heard getting your VA is easier once you have a reoccurring problem. I, like many of us 18 series got taken care by a 18D and myself or Suck it UP," get seem.

I like using different apps with my smart phone like guys do with their Garmins and other GPS's.

Keep it up!!

PRB
07-07-2014, 16:28
Reg Army is hit and miss these days, the soldiers are getting mentally weaker but physically better trained they just struggle with adversity, The training prior to SUT is intense ohysically but the mental strain of navigating, C2, reacting to adversity etc... is where they struggle as a whole.

Mentally weaker is not a good SF trait.
I don't know how much dif it was then/now...hard to tell even after a Tng Gp death by PP slide show.
It use to be the Ranger studs were pretty strong but by the mid/late 90's (and prob a bit prior) they had started to lose SUT skills due to their tier 2 job...and some basic fieldcraft due to such short term ops.
Is CSM Chan B still there?

WarriorDiplomat
07-08-2014, 05:14
Mentally weaker is not a good SF trait.
I don't know how much dif it was then/now...hard to tell even after a Tng Gp death by PP slide show.
It use to be the Ranger studs were pretty strong but by the mid/late 90's (and prob a bit prior) they had started to lose SUT skills due to their tier 2 job...and some basic fieldcraft due to such short term ops.
Is CSM Chan B still there?

I am not sure where he is these days, CSM Sahms took over SWTG

ic2d
07-09-2014, 14:21
I read this article I posted about mnimalist running and decided to give it a try, I realzed it isn't just running it applies to walking and rucking as well. I had been striding heel to toe for so long it caught up to me, I was forcing my hamstring to pull into the next step by overstriding with a slightly less back stride.
...
My pace tempo changes due to a shorter forward stride but my kick is stronger

WarriorDiplomat,

I would be interested in hearing any additional thoughts you may have on applying minimalist running principles to rucking. I have been running barefoot/minimalist for about three years now, so I attempted to incorporate similar principles when I started rucking. Unfortunately, I found it to be rather awkward and difficult to maintain a good pace without essentially trotting. My experiment was short-lived.

I believe I tend to overstride and, especially when rucking for speed, use my height to my advantage (i.e. long strides). The significant heel lift of boots obviously does not help. Anyway, I will incorporate the advice you've already given on my next ruck, but wanted to ask if you had any other "enlightening" moments which helped in the transition to your new stride. Thanks.

WarriorDiplomat
07-09-2014, 15:40
WarriorDiplomat,

I would be interested in hearing any additional thoughts you may have on applying minimalist running principles to rucking. I have been running barefoot/minimalist for about three years now, so I attempted to incorporate similar principles when I started rucking. Unfortunately, I found it to be rather awkward and difficult to maintain a good pace without essentially trotting. My experiment was short-lived.

I believe I tend to overstride and, especially when rucking for speed, use my height to my advantage (i.e. long strides). The significant heel lift of boots obviously does not help. Anyway, I will incorporate the advice you've already given on my next ruck, but wanted to ask if you had any other "enlightening" moments which helped in the transition to your new stride. Thanks.

I think the biggest thing I did was just do it until it felt comfortable, you may notice your hip flexors feel they stretch when you stride back but your pace will need to be at a higher tempo. The first I noticed is the shorter stride and higher tempo actually took less energy from my body. The tightening of the hamstrings from a long front stride causes by back to tighten and my gate starts to close. With the proper strong core relaxed shoulders diaphram open posture and the impact not radiating up my spine without a strong heel strike I believe allows me energy reserves. Again for me it was practice until I was comfortable. I noticed I was sore on the ball of my foot, calves and some in my hips from the kick but a good sore not joint pain. My heels, knees and quads felt great.