Sunday, March 4, 2012


An article on running from the NY Times:

The members of Harvard University’s men’s and women’s distance running squads are young, fast, fit, skinny, bright, disciplined and, without exception, dutiful. Every day during the cross-country and track seasons, they enter their mileage and pace into an online training Web site overseen by the team’s coaches and trainers.

They also, like most serious runners, get hurt with distressing frequency, often missing practice due to aching muscles or over-stressed bones. Each of those injuries, no matter how niggling, also gets duly reported and entered into the computer.

Meaning that these student athletes, in their high-achieving way, fashioned an excellent database through which to examine running-related injuries, as evidenced by a study published online last month in Medicine; Science in Sports; Exercise.

The study, for which researchers combed through four years’ worth of data about the Harvard runners, has produced the surprisingly controversial finding that how a person runs may affect whether he or she winds up hurt.

Running injuries are a topic of considerable interest to scientists in many disciplines, from biomechanics to evolutionary biology, as well as, of course, to runners. By most estimates, more than half of all runners, whether male or female, collegiate or long past, become injured every year.

But no one knows why so many runners get hurt, although a number of theories have been advanced, including the possibility that hard asphalt roads, lousy Western diets, too many miles, too few miles or high-tech running shoes cause or contribute to the problem.
But Adam I. Daoud, a graduate student in the Skeletal Biology Laboratory at Harvard and the lab’s director, Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist who co-wrote an influential 2004 paper suggesting that distance running guided the evolution of early man — with better runners earning more food and sex than plodders and passing along their genes — wondered if something simpler might be at work. They wondered whether how your foot hits the ground affects your injury risk. Read more.

(The New Balance Minimus WR10v2 for women and the Minimus MR10v2 for men are what I recommend as the best running shoes.)
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