Although running is as natural as eating and sleeping, we all run a bit differently. There are many ideologies out there regarding running form as a means of more efficient running. In addition to that, utilizing pose running can help alleviate injury and make athletes faster.
Since running comes naturally to people (let’s face it, we have all been running since we were little kids), many people don’t see the need to work on form. In recent years, the mindset has shifted from “just head out and run” to ” make the most of your time on your feet.
What Is Pose Running?
Post running breaks running into three portions: the running pose, the fall and the pull. A conscience recognition of these three separate but interrelated parts can come together to create more effective and efficient running mechanics.
Forget about running for a second. Do you remember learning any other sport? If you played baseball think back to learning how to stand in a batters box. If you played volleyball consider the ready position if you were stationed in the back row. While learning to high jump athletes learned exactly how to run and where to position the body before trying to navigate over the bar. Each of these actions has a very distinct set of actions to be performed in good form.
In the pose running method, the same is true for running. Running is broken down to some very specific stages of motion.
It Starts With an “S”
Running pose starts with setting your body up in the S, as illustrated below. See the gentle S-shaped curving of the body?
Notice that your body should be ever so slightly forward in a lean as you prepare for your next footstrike. Your shoulders, hips and ankles create a vertical line.
As you practice this “S” position without making forward motion, you will feel as if you are going to fall. For this reason, some people hold the practice pose with a partner providing some resistance for balance. One of the top hints to holding pose is to practice holding the S for one minute on each leg.
This is also important because a basic premise of the pose method is taking advantage of the natural state of unbalance your body will get into when making that leaning forward S shape. According to specialists in this method of running, you actually need to practice falling in order to be successful at this.
The Timber Drill
To practice the forward fall, the timber drill is useful. The runner practices this by allowing a forward fall as far as they can, then breaks into a lunge of sorts to break the fall with one leg. If you are gently leaning forward when you run, you are able to make the best use of gravity to your advantage. Once you fall forward, your body can move you into the next phase of the run.
If you are running in the most traditional sense of the word, you may find yourself heel striking. When running in this way, you are forced to propel yourself forward using more energy. In pose, you pull your leg up after the fall sensation.
As illustrated below, the pull instead of push is more efficient and natural once you get acclimated to moving your body in this way.
Note that the pose method should be looked at not as a way to run; rather, as a method to pose your body so your mechanics change.
Is Pose Running Better?
Certainly, there seem to be benefits to pose running. First, proponents of this running method say it is far more natural of a movement. Many runners try to correct problems in their running pain and problems through their shoes.
If you have worn a pair of heavy, clunky shoes, this is you. Other runners find that they need insoles to remedy foot and leg pain. The pose running method takes running to its most primal phase to, hopefully, take care of these issues without needing these things.
For many, pose running helps alleviate injury. The frustrating cycle of nursing an injury, being able to run again, then finding something else hurts can finally end. Some athletes who have switched to pose running are now enjoying more miles injury-free.
Take Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man. If you watch him it is apparent that he is running pose. He takes off from his toes. His body is slightly forward. In fact, he looks like he could fall over at any second while he is moving forward. Dr. Nicholas Romanov, the guru behind pose running, would argue that some of the world’s most talented runners clearly are pose runners! (see image montage)
Dr. Romanov would tell you that although we all go through running pose, not everyone uses the method of Pose Running. What’s the difference?
If you are Pose Running as a methodology you don’t just hit the pose, you let the gravity take over and complete your running through all three steps: Pose, Fall, Pull.
Is There a Downside?
While Dr. Romanov and other advocates of Pose Running would tell you there is no downside, others disagree. First, running pose has you forefoot striking. For someone who has been running for a long time with either a mid-foot or heel strike, this puts a lot of pressure on the Achilles and calves.
Second, if you are pose running you are essentially working your foot through a modified butt kick over and over. If that doesn’t feel natural to you it’s because for many of us, it just isn’t.
Other experts feel that the running pose is simply too one size fits all of a model. We have all been to a track or cross country meet and witnessed someone running wicked fast with terrible form. Would you try to switch up their form? Probably not. Why? Because if it isn’t broken, why try to fix it?
Should You Try It?
If you’ve been running your whole life without a problem, why mess with a good thing? However, what if you have been injury-prone? What if you have steadily improved your time and wonder if you could continue to improve? Maybe the running world and science behind biomechanics just geeks you out and you are always searching for ways to grow as a runner and athlete.
Pose Running seminars are taught in one and two day sessions, as well as online and through apps. If you’re truly interested in the science of running and exploring if this method might help you, it certainly could be worth a look. However, the jury seems to still be out on if it will help the average runner improve and/or avoid injury.