You Are Born to Sprint, Not Run
Dr. Daniel Lieberman, a Harvard professor of evolutionary biology and an avid runner, recently published a study that concluded that running barefoot is more healthy for you than using running shoes. And while I agree with the barefoot part, I’m not too convinced about this part of Dr. Lieberman’s beliefs:
Lieberman has looked at the evolution of long-distance running; 2 million years ago our pre-human ancestors used that approach to wear out prey during prolonged hunts.
Many people – especially hardcore marathoners and long distance triathletes – misunderstand my views on running. I am not anti-running or anti-endurance activities. I am, however, strongly critical of a health/fitness industry that overemphasizes heavy endurance training as a way to optimal health.
And I am especially critical whenever I read some body of work alluding to the belief that humans somehow evolved as marathon runners (In fact, if you want a good counterpoint to the “persistence hunter” argument, be sure to check out Mark Sisson’s great piece, Did Humans Evolve to Be Long-Distance Runners?)
The bottom line is that heavy marathon and endurance training takes a pretty hefty toll on the human body – especially if that’s all the exercise you do. Granted, it’s better than being sedentary, but there’s a lot of evidence indicating that there’s a point of rapidly diminishing returns involved with endurance training.
And, unfortunately, and many people far exceed this point.