This is the second of a three-part series of blogs on the Pose Running Method. Last week, in our post entitled Running Injury? Strike a Pose!, we introduced a natural running technique called the Pose Method of Running that has been proven to reduce injuries and increase running efficiency. This week we'll discuss how to incorporate this method into your running form without disrupting your training schedule. Next week, we'll be discussing "Perfecting Your Pose Running Method.
A simple way to get a sense of how to get into natural running form is to take off your shoes and run in the grass for 25-30 yards. Focus completely on how your foot is striking the ground. Experiment a little with landing on your heel and then landing on the ball of your foot. Land as softly as possible, imagine you’re running on eggshells and try your hardest not to crush them. Which type of foot strike feels most natural?
It should become really clear that landing on your heel feels wrong and landing on the ball of your foot feels good and most natural. Take a mental snapshot of how this natural running state feels because this is what you should be feeling during your normal training runs with your shoes on. If you’re like most everyone else, once you put those shoes back on your muscle memory kicks in and you quickly go back to bad habits. This is where the Pose method comes in…
Pose breaks running down into three simple parts: the running pose, the fall, and the pull. The basic idea is to let gravity do most of the work. All you have to do to run is to lean forward and change support from one leg to the other by pulling the support foot in a vertical line under the hip towards your butt. It sounds simple, but it takes a lot of practice to retrain your muscle memory to learn the movement, and to unlearn bad habits.
Running naturally comes down to how efficiently you interact with gravity throughout the gait cycle. To break balance and fall forward, the weight of the body must be on the ball of the foot exactly like in our barefoot running experiment. This may be one of the biggest adjustments for runners practicing the Pose method.
Julia: Make sure your shoes aren’t forcing you to heel strike - look up its heel-to-toe drop. Do a quick search on the web or go to the manufacturer’s website to find this out. Remember, the higher the heel-to-toe drop is, the more difficult it is to land on the ball of your foot. Refer to our post 3 Steps To Finding the Perfect Running Shoe for more information.
“Blaming the running injury epidemic on big, bad Nike seems too easy - but that's okay, because it's largely their fault.” -- Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
While it may be difficult to master all at once, running in the Pose method is quite simple if you break it down into…. well… poses. You do this by practicing drills that target specific poses until they become part of your muscle memory. In this way, you can gradually introduce natural running technique into your running and still keep your training targets and schedule. Let’s start by spending 15 minutes before each of your training runs this week by doing the following lessons.
Focus: Body Weight Perception
Take your shoes off and start to build a better connection with our old friend, gravity. The goal of these drills is to increase your perception of how your support system engages as it works with gravity. Focus on how your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments feel as they support you as you shift your weight.
Body Weight Perception Drill
Focus: The Running Pose
The running Pose is one of the three foundational phases of natural running: Pose, Fall and Pull. No matter how fast you’re running, you’ll always be moving through the Pose phase (depicted as dark gray in the figure). Elite runners do this phase more efficiently than average runners, so it’s important to get this right from the start.
Running Pose Drill
Focus: The Falling Phase
How do you run faster? Push off of the ground harder and pump your knees higher right? NOPE. It’s all in how you fall. Falling goes against everything we believe in right? Use the drills below to help you work with gravity instead of against it.
Patrick: Nobody likes to fall, Julia laughs herself stupid when she sees me fall - which I find quite irritating :-) In all seriousness, you have to get used to the sensation of falling forward so that gravity will be your friend. The more you use gravity, the faster you can run and more importantly for endurance runners – the less energy you use.
Timber Drill in Pose:
All of the information presented in this post was taken from the "The Running Revolution" book or a clinic manual, both written by Dr. Nicholas Romanov. We highly recommend checking out the book, articles and discussions on www.Posetech.com for more information. We also suggest attending a clinic with a certified coach to ensure you're properly running in the Pose method.
That’s all for this week's post on how to gradually incorporate the Pose Method of Running into your running. We started with foundational lessons this week and next week will build upon that foundation. In the meantime, don't forget to practice lessons 1-2-3!
Keep on Running!
Julia, Patrick & Jo-Jo