Obviously there's been a lot of discussion since Dathan's announcement that he has changed from a heel strike to a mid-foot strike with good commentary from Burfoot, Steve Magness and our own Pete.
However, something still bothers me. I'm not a scientist, coach or professor. I'm a former attorney that thinks big picture and is very visual. I tend to take complicated issues and try to make them as simple as possible for any lay person to understand. I defer to others that have a better understanding of the science behind running.
However, with that said, the simple thing, in my mind, that gets overlooked when it comes to analyzing stride and foot plant is Dr. Lieberman's point which is comparing barefoot stride vs. shod stride (whether it's minimalist footwear or traditional shoes). Is not barefoot running the most natural way to run and the best way to allow the body to take over? If so, if you run differently when barefoot vs. anything on your feet, isn't that the starting point for your analysis?
If you believe the human body is amazing and engineered to survive without Nike, then wouldn't barefoot be the starting point. I just don't buy the "I've been running is regular shoes for 40 yrs. so it's not possible to make the switch." The switch is back to your natural gait. Yes, it takes patience and baby steps but the transition is to the natural way to run. I understand there are elements to deal with like weather so maybe barefoot means the most minimalist footwear possible to account for weather and/or terrain but the point remains. I think this is a patience and confidence issue. We lack patience to take a long term approach and we lack confidence in the human body.
I'll put the elites in a different category because that's a different ballgame and goal. It's a different "risk/reward" situation. Elites push everything to the edge with the goal to "win" at all costs (even my approach to my insignificant small races is different than training wherein I'm willing to "cheat" at bit to place or win a race and I accept that).
We so under-estimate the human body, and we over-rely on technology to out perform the natural body.
Although I'm thrilled with the fact that these issues are coming to the surface, I'm a bit frustrated with the direction and focus at times. Many times the very simple "ah ha" gets over-looked through all the deep analysis (I'm not saying we don't need deep analysis because we do but don't let it over-shadow some obvious things).