Why Running Matters

There has been a lot of debate and discussion in the running community over recent years as to the best way to run. The trend was towards more minimalistic footwear, away from the more supportive footwear. All over the web there are blogs and a significant presence in social media of those promoting this approach to running as being better and more natural. Books were published on the topic and all the running magazines had articles on barefoot and minimalism running. The extraordinary presence online and in the media of the concept was not matched in reality in the market place, with now less than 5% of running shoes being sold are in the minimalism category.

All of the benefits that were claimed for barefoot or minimalism was a thing like a better more efficient running economy and less overuse injuries. All the most recent research that has published in the first half of 2013 has shown that there are no differences between the different running techniques in the rates of overuse injuries. The metabolic cost of running or energy efficiency has also been shown to be the same in all the most recent studies. This simply means that all the claims for the benefits of going without the less supportive footwear are not supported by the most recent research. There are plenty of anecdotes of runners with a long history of running injury who are now running injury free after changing to a more minimalistic running shoe. Similarly, there are plenty of anecdotes of the opposite happening. Previously, via social media, the trend toward minimalistic running was driven by the most vocal of those anecdotes. Now the research is showing that there are not the benefits that were claimed by all the anecdotes and a more common-sense approach is being seen in the media.

What has become increasingly clear recently is that different running techniques load different parts of the body differently. So what is the most suitable way to run for one runner is not going to be the most suitable way to run for another runner. This is in contrast to the widely promoted almost cult-like approaches such as Chi running, Pose running and many other that advocate a one-size-fits all approach to running technique. If a running has a long history of injury, then changing the way they run to get the load of the area that they are having a problem with makes sense. That same change for another running may load another area too much and result in an injury. If a running is to choose the way that they should run, they should continue to run the way they are if they are not having any problems and ignore all the rhetoric and propaganda about a particular running technique is better than another. If they are having problems with the way the run and have a history of overuse injury, then they probably should get advice from a running technique coach on what they can to to improve or change their running technique.