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Running Injury? Strike a Pose! (Running Method)

This is the first of a three-part series of blogs on the Pose Running Method, the second is entitled "The Pose Running Method - Easy as 1-2-3! " and the third is entitled "Perfecting Your Pose Running Method."

Remember when your parents used to nag you to stand tall and not to slouch? Yep… they were right. And it’s affecting how you run. With sports and everyday activities, your posture is one of the most important elements that determines success and performance. It is essential to have good posture not just for performance, but for your health as well. In this week’s discussion, we’ll take this concept and apply it to running.

There are many reasons why people get injured while running. It could be that they didn’t warm up properly or stretch afterwards. It could also be a result of ramping up mileage too quickly or performing speed work without proper conditioning. However, many studies indicate the number one cause of running injuries is improper running form.

Running is a Skill

Rehoboth Beach Running
Usain Bolt's Natural Form

We know what you’re thinking… Everyone knows how to run. Correct? Well… not really. To consider something a skill, you have to believe there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Take a look next time you go out for a run and study the various running styles. It’ll be clear that there is in fact a wrong way to run. You’ll most likely see more people running like a zombie than running like Usain Bolt. Why is that? We’ve simply forgotten how to run. We have to re-learn this skill.

When you watch children run, you’ll notice they tend to have a natural, almost effortless running motion – especially when they run barefoot. As we get older, we spend more time in higher heeled shoes - could be work, casual or even athletic footwear. This puts our feet in an unnatural, elevated position which wreaks havoc on our posture from the ground up.

For example, the traditional running shoe with its fat heel and motion control support promotes poor technique by causing: heel-striking, weakened feet, and the inability to feel how we strike the ground – this all has been proven to cause more stress on the human body.

Running, like many other sports such as golf, tennis, and swimming, has a science to it and it starts with posture. That’s why being aware of your stride and how your feet strike the ground as you run is so important. Once you have a basic understanding of the science of running, you can start to adjust your running form as needed.

Let's start there.

The Pose Method of Running

One of the more popular methods of teaching the science of running is the Pose Method. It was developed by 2-time Olympic Coach Dr. Nicholas S. Romanov in the 70’s and is based on years of research performed on the world’s top runners at the time. Over the last several decades, the Pose Method has been used in large organizations including the United States Military, CrossFit, and has been adopted by professional sports programs including the National Triathlon teams of Great Britain, United States, and Russia.

Did you know? There are 20 studies and scientific papers,
including 5 dissertations on Pose Method published to date 
in Russia, South Africa, Great Britain, New Zealand 
and United States.

The foundation of the Pose Method of Running is proper technique, which is also the base of good running. There are three elements to the technique: POSE, FALL, and PULL.

Pose Method of Running Rehoboth Beach
Pose Method of Running

The focus with these elements is gravity and knowing how to use it to your advantage. Instead of fighting gravitational pull, you use your body to work with it. POSE, the first of the three elements, refers to the runner’s S-stance as shown in the diagram. This shape helps to align shoulders, hips and ankles with the supporting leg.

Using the ball of the foot, the runner switches to the other foot while letting gravity do all the work – this is the FALL. The support foot is then pulled from the ground, which allows the body to go forward – this is the PULL. During the PULL, the other foot falls freely as it changes positions with the support foot. Throughout this technique, notice how the support foot strikes the ground on the “fore” part of the foot and is directly under the body’s general center of mass.

Take a look at this video to see it in action:

The result of this form is less energy expended on running, which means more energy is saved for increased endurance and speed. In addition to a better performance, the Pose Method of Running also reduces impact on your knees by at least 50 percent. It also minimizes the amount of your body's vertical up-and-down movement while running - which reduces the overall pounding your entire skeletal structure takes.

That's all for this weeks post on how the Pose Method of Running can improve your performance and keep you injury-free. Like any change to a habit or technique that you’ve been performing for years, the Pose Method of Running is going to take practice and patience.

Next week, we’ll discuss a plan of how to introduce this method into your schedule while still keeping your training targets.

Keep on Running!

Julia, Patrick & Jo-Jo

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