Is There Such A Thing As Perfect Form?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jul. 16, 2013
  • Updated Jul. 16, 2013 at 10:27 AM UTC
Are you a heel striker or a midfoot striker? Photo:

 Apparently, it depends on who you ask.

Ottawa Citzen fitness columnist Jill Barker has written a piece all about running form. Not surprisingly, a few paragraphs into it, she brings up Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run.

The author generated some controversy within the community by arguing that the forefoot strike of barefoot runners was preferable to the heel strike that shoe-wearing runners experience.

Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman backed up the theory in 2010 with a study that concluded that forefoot running was a more natural way.

“The trouble is, it’s not easy to change how you run, even if you change your footwear to shoes designed to help mimic the foot strike of barefoot runners,” writes Barker. “Modifying running mechanics takes hundreds of hours of practice. And even then, for most, the change simply doesn’t take.”

Barker then points out another study that concludes that barefoot running isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

This one comes from biomechanics experts Benno Nigg and Hendrik Enders of the Human Performance Lab at the University of Calgary.

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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