Harvard Prof. Dan Lieberman Running Strong–With Shorter Stride
He told me a story about Harvard Business School professor Paul Gompers, who I had written about for Runner's World in early 1988 when Gompers was a physiology student in Oxford, England. That spring, Gompers finished fourth in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New Jersey, and had a lifetime best of 2:11:38. He quit competitive running four or five years later, and apparently has had knee problems in recent years.
"Paul was a terrible over strider, so I brought him into the lab and showed him how his impact forces changed when he switched to a forefoot strike," said Lieberman. "He made the transition smoothly, and now he's running healthy again."
After three or four years in the middle of the barefoot/minimalist running debate, Lieberman says he’s disgusted with the low quality of the discussion. “I don’t think there's anything wrong or magical about a heel strike or a forefoot strike,” he says. “We’re just trying to gather information, and we’re always careful to explain the limits of the data we have. But others rush in and jump to unsupported conclusions. Everyone wants a simple answer. Sorry, but the answers aren’t simple.”