How Humans Evolved to be Great Distance Runners: Dan Lieberman

Sometimes you talk to someone whose passion just shines through their words. This was definitely the case with todays guest. He was knowledgeable about the evolution of running, and explains why we are so good at running as human beings, despite what some people think.

Usually, we as runners are described as the crazy ones, especially those of us who are marathon and ultra marathoners, but our guest today explains how those who are not running are actually the crazy ones. Our bodies have evolved over the years to allow us to be great endurance runners.

You know we like to think of ourselves as the running resource without the fluff, and that is exactly what this podcast is. We go into detail, and give you something to really think about, rather than just going over the same topics over and over.

How Humans Evolved to be Great Distance Runners Dan Lieberman FB

Today our guest is Dan Liberman, also known as the Barefoot Professor.

  • Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University
  • Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard
  • Won the IG Nobel Prize in 2009, a parody award for unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research
    • This award is known for being able to make people laugh or makes you think, you will see that Dan has a great sense of humor
  • Has written four books, most recently the Story of the Human Body; Evolution, Health and Disease
  • Written many articles over the last 20 years, covering topics like
    • Minimalistic shoes
    • Foot strike patterns
    • Barefoot running
    • The evolution of marathon running

Todays Episode will cover

  • How humans are actually as efficient as other mammals, and in some ways better than other mammals
  • How running played a major role in human evolution
  • How hunter gatherers were not actually as healthy as we think they are, and how they actually spent a lot of their time sitting
  • Why the best place to run barefoot, is actually on the cement outside your house
  • How running faster forces you to run with better form, and how you can use this to prevent over striding
  • The difference in culture between Kenya and the rest of the world, and how that sets them apart from the rest of the world (other than Rita Jeptoo that is!) especially in marathon running

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Links and Resources mentioned in this Interview:

Endurance Running and the Evolution of Homo from the cover of Nature Magazine

Jeffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop Finishing the Boston Marathon (like a flock of birds)

Runners Connect Running Form Course (Dan is one of the Speakers)

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