1. Science of Sport

In-depth analysis of the sport’s biggest issues

Dec 1, 2011
Outside Magazine
Science of Sport

Science of Sport    Photo: Courtesy of Science of Sport

Good for: A scientific perspective on major races, doping, and the value of running shoes.

Written by: Jonathan Dugas and Ross Tucker, exercise physiologists from South Africa. 

Running is only one of the sports under consideration on this blog—Dugas and Tucker also write about rugby, soccer, and cycling—yet somehow the pair give a scientific treatment to all of running’s most compelling topics, often in real time. Wondering about going barefoot? There are no fewer than five comprehensive posts. Likewise for doping, Oscar Pistorius, over hydration, and the growing talent vs. practice debate. Though sometimes lengthy, the posts are carefully considered and easy to digest.

Sample post: Tucker does a quick overview on the state of science of barefoot running.

There is as yet no conclusive evidence that either proves or disproves the benefits of shoes or barefoot running, or links the mechanical characteristics of barefoot running to a reduced risk of injury. That is, for all the work showing how impact forces and loading rates are reduced when barefoot, it remains to be proven that this leads to lower injury rates.  I began last night's talk by saying that this was the first time a "scientific" presentation would be given with so little conclusive scientific evidence!  There are plenty of theories, of course, and some are sound, but we await the real evidence for the injury and performance side of the debate, which will come from long-term, prospective studies….

key point is that barefoot running (and thus running in general) should be recognized as a SKILL, and it is clear that we do not all have the ability to acquire skills equally. … 

Read more at The Science of Sport