We recently used our Go Direct® Respiration Belt to investigate the biomechanics of running. This sensor has a built-in pedometer that can measure steps and step rate. With this in mind, we modified our “Barefoot Running” experiment, which is available as a free download.

Barefoot running is a running trend that was popularized by Christopher McDougall in the book Born to Run. Traditional running technique emphasizes a heel-to-toe foot strike. Without the padding provided by traditional running shoes, barefoot running minimizes heel strike. This leads to an increase in step rate, or cadence, of the barefoot runner. As shown in the graph, barefoot running leads to an increase in stride rate of the subject.

Essential instructor information and word-processing files of student instructions for the experiment, “The Biomechanics of Running,” are available as a free download.

With the word-processing version of the student instructions, you are able to modify the procedure or add extensions. Consider challenging students to compare different brands of running shoes, or introduce the use of a heart rate monitor to investigate heart rate while running barefoot and in shoes.