More on Running Form

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More on Running Form

Post by Vincent on Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:46 pm

Taken from an Article on Trirudy

How to Use the POSE Run Method

Its a fact: runners are prone to injury. Dr Nicholas Romanov and Graham Fletcher claim to help you reduce that capacity

We were born to run weren't we? Yet how come this natural activity so often causes injury and why is it that the triathlete who can frequently complete the swim and cycle without problem succumbs to injury in the final phase?

The run is the pinnacle of the triathlete's race. It is the final lap before elation or despondency and like the other disciplines of triathlon requires focus, determination and skill. Unfortunately, running is often the cause of injury. It is uncertain whether the many injuries incurred while running are due to insufficient training, warm-up techniques or other causes, but a critical look at technique could provide us with some answers.

Down to specifics

By running technique we mean a specific system of movements of the whole body and its parts aimed at a horizontal transfer of the runner from point A to point B. Other sports, such as tennis, swimming and athletics, have drills and models for skill development and these would seem to be useful tools to carry over and apply to running technique.

The number of runners that are injured today is the same as the 1970s, despite improvements in shoe design and medical services. At present a complete model for efficient running technique is unavailable. But what is good running technique? If you watch runners closely, you will be able to easily distinguish between those that look easy, effortless, and flowing, as opposed to those that are cumbersome. However, a detailed analysis of running technique has found that the elite runner produces less vertical oscillation (vibration) of the body, has a lower oxygen consumption and lower relative heart rate, providing more economical movement. Therefore, correct running technique should fall within these parameters and ideally reduce running injuries.

The force as a guide

As certain forces exist in water for swimmers, so specific forces are experienced during running: gravity, ground reaction force, muscle elasticity, inertia and muscle contractility (the ability of your muscle to contract). Only one of these is dependent on internal events - muscle contractility. This requires the conversion of energy within oxygen into adenosine triphosphate (ATP - the fuel that your cells use) and this can be described as an internal force. The other forces are external. The optimal ratio between the internal and external forces exists when the internal force is reduced and the external is more fully utilized enabling the athlete to run economically.

Posing makes sense

The most effective combination of these forces is found in the pose method of running designed by Dr Rornanov. The essence of the method is based on the necessity for the runner to interact efficiently with the ground (the point where all the forces interact) in order to move the body from one leg to another, The following descriptions summarize this concept:

1. S (spring-like) shape of the body (the running pose): the element of running technique used to combine muscular elasticity and the rest of the body into a single system.

2. Free falling: uses gravity as one of the main forces driving the body forward horizontally.

3. Changing support: integrates forces that remove the foot from the ground while allowing gravity to pull the body forwards horizontally. Pulling the support foot straight (vertically) upwards using the hamstring muscles, allowing the foot to break contact with the ground quickly.
The S-like shape of the body allows the utilization of muscle elasticity, which can reduce oxygen consumption by 30 to 40 percent. To use the elastic energy from the muscles of the leg effectively, the foot should be pulled rapidly from the ground (using the hamstring muscles) rather than the usual push off. The foot should also land beneath the body's centre of gravity (right underneath your body) on the balls of the feet, allowing a much shorter support time.

Gravity is a vertical force, which can be transformed into a horizontal movement only under certain conditions which are demonstrated when the body over-balances (falls forward like a unicyclist leaning forward to move). At this point the foot must leave the ground quickly to allow the body to fall forwards.

Therefore, the key to successful running is to maintain the falling forwards of the body with minimal effort from the legs. The foot should not be in front of the body's general centre of mass because it will break or stop the body falling forwards.

The pose method of running is mechanically efficient and can be taught in a short period of time, reducing injuries and improving performance. It has proved a successful method for training and racing.

Reasons to change

The thinking behind the Pose method's development is the absence of a commonly accepted approach to teaching running technique, from a theoretical and practical standpoint. The absence of a clearly defined teaching method is explained by the following:

-The general belief that running technique is a simplistic movement pattern

-That individual differences between people make it impossible to have a comprehensive holistic technique for all

-Different distances and speeds require a different running technique

-Various coaches' points of view based on unsubstantiated, non-mechanical models

-Lack of a commonly accepted running model within the field of running and triathlon

The knock-on effect of these 'stumbling blocks' is that there are many areas that can be improved upon. The key one is that running is practiced but not taught as a skill. Hence, the Pose method proposes to teach running as a skill with its own theories, concepts, rules and variety of exercises.

If you need convincing that your running technique can't be improved upon, recent research may convince you otherwise. Two separate studies stated that injury rates in runners and triathletes ranged from 50-70% of total available training time. A clear indication that poor technique is the underlying cause for such large numbers of runners and triathletes being injured at any one time.

The concepts

So it's clear that there's scope for some major changes to your running action. And, with this in mind, the following four facts are the basis behind the evolution of the Pose method of running. Take a look:

-Running technique is the same for all athletes regardless of the speed or distance run

-Without getting too scientific, the human organism exists and develops with the force of gravity. Consequently, when running, we should stay within a certain biomechanical framework whose limits are appropriate for utilizing gravity. In layman's terms, let's take advantage of gravity to help us run faster

-Any movement is built on an infinite number of 'poses', or positions, through which the body goes in space and time

-Only specific body positions play an integral role in efficient movement, other actions outside these movements are wasteful

The Pose model

In running, only one pose is used, which is known as the 'running pose'. The running pose is a whole body pose that vertically aligns your shoulders, hips and ankles on your support limb (where you're standing on the ball of your foot), creating an 'S'-Iike shape in your body. You then change from one leg to the other, or one pose to another pose.

The running pose is designed to allow the body of the runner to maximize the external force of gravity, by allowing gravity to pull the runner forward by a resultant of different force vectors.

The Pose model utilizes gravity as an integral external force that moves the body forward by resultant vector composition. This is because gravity is a source of free energy producing an uninterrupted constant force, whereas other forces are intermittent, such as ground reaction force only being active during your stance. Basically, if your body is in an S shape, you can use gravity to over-balance you forwards. Consequently, you'll be more efficient because you're not driving yourself forward with your legs.

Efficiency is defined as the energy required to perform work divided by the work completed. In running, efficient movement occurs through the minimization of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) breakdown (the breakdown of glucose without oxygen being present) and the maximization of free energy from gratuitous forces (produced through muscle elasticity and gravity).

Use gravity

The combination of your body torque (the turning force from your body falling forwards from the support foot), produced from the vertical force of gravity, and the position of your support limb in relation to your general centre of mass creates forward movement without the necessity to push off from the ground. Efficiency, you see. Here's the three-point plan to enable you to make the most of gravity:

-Your foot needs to be pulled from the ground quickly, while maintaining the vertical alignment of your ankle, hip and shoulder

-The recovery of your leg is initiated by the hamstring muscle group, which flexes your leg with a rapid firing action. The rapid removal of your foot from the ground initiates your body to fall forwards

-In the meantime, your other leg is allowed to fall towards the ground without active muscle force, due to the gravitational pull on the mass of the leg. Your leg falls naturally under your body and lands on the ball of your foot, ready again for a rapid recovery. The speed of recovery allows you to maximize the elastic stretch of the tendons of the feet, Achilles and patella (knee), while further reducing the need for energy production by ATP breakdown

The Pose method teaches you a whole new, but energy-efficient, way of running. You learn that your body leads and creates the forward momentum, while your legs need to follow by recovering in a vertical alignment of ankle, hip and shoulder.

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Re: More on Running Form

Post by Vincent on Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:46 pm

Theory summarized

To master the Pose method, the first skill to learn is to stand in the running pose (S-like stance). Your support limb must always be flexed and in vertical alignment through your ankle, hip and shoulder.

Once you've achieved this, you need to get used to your body leading you on the run. There's a number of drills to achieve this skill of free falling.

As you become familiar with the freefall concept, breaking contact with support is then taught through various drills used to teach you to pull your foot up from the ground, using the hamstring muscles. The hamstrings are key in this method of running (see Running drills below).

Running drills

The Pose S-like body position has your ankle, hip and shoulder in one vertical alignment. This allows the forces of running to be integrated into one efficient system.

Developing the concept of free falling
What to do Your weight is initially on the ball of your foot, but you then fall forwards (over- balance) onto your partner's hand. As you do this, it 'un-weights' your foot allowing it to be pulled from the ground. Practice to experience the feeling of falling.
Key points Your body over-balances and falls forward under gravity. Your body moves forward with no muscular effort. Note: you can do this with a coach or on your own.

Drills for pulling your foot...

What to do Again, you lean onto your partner's hand and feel your foot 'un-weight'. As soon as this 'un-weighting' is felt, you pull your foot from the ground. Repeat again for the other leg. Your partner's hand can stay on your chest or it can be removed each time.

Practice this drill until you can do it in a rhythmic manner. This will use the elastic properties of the muscle, and will ensure you get used to just using the hamstring muscle action, not your hip flexors. To increase your awareness of the hamstring pull, you can get your partner to hold your foot at your heel. This creates resistance for the foot on the pull upwards. Also, you can then place your hand on your hips flexors to see if they are being used effectively.
Key points In the Pose S-like position, your foot is pulled up towards your hip in a smooth vertical line.

Teach your body to lead you

What to do The pony drill allows you to feel your body lead the movement, while teaching you to pull your foot from the ground. Basically, you go through your newly learned technique in slow motion. You'll be able to clearly feel the body leading while forcing your feet to pull vertically from the ground.

You can also perform the Pose technique with the use of rubber bands. The use of rubber bands is a good way to see if you're performing the correct leg action.

Key points Practice the skill of destroying balance. If your body weight is on your heels, you can't destruct balance. You have to come through to the ball of the foot to do so.

These drills show you how ineffective your current running technique - pushing off the ground with your foot - really is. It pushes your body upwards as well as forwards and requires significant muscular effort due to you working constantly against gravity.

Another negative point is that it your leg is driven forwards, your foot will land in front of the body and cause a breaking of your body's forward momentum. Finally, if your foot is behind your body at toe-off, it requires significant effort to overcome inertia to drag the leg through. Whether your leg is in front or behind your body, it will affect your whole body's ability to change from a balanced to unbalanced position without losing momentum.

Extra Tips

The best way to learn to run Pose is one step at a time. Begin by understanding the concepts of the model in your mind. Then look carefully at the photos in this feature or the Pose video (, and see how Pose runners run visually. Then begin to feel these movements in your body as you complete the drills.

How long will it take to perfect? This is basically how long is a piece of string. Some athletes have picked up the method in as little as 10mins, while others have taken years. The best method to help you learn is to always to focus on technique when you run and to practice drills each session. Only run as long as you can hold technique and use the bands to keep the feel of the movement. For example, take the ankle bands and hold them at your hip, and the other end around your feet, and pull up your foot with the bands to help you maintain leg cadence.


-The running pose is the ability to allow your body to freefall under the influence of gravity, directed through the general centre of mass (GCM) of your body

-In order to prevent your body falling forwards completely, you need to change support by pulling your foot from the ground vertically under the hip, using the hamstring muscles

-The use of all forces involved in running - gravity, inertia, ground reaction and muscle elasticity - is aimed at helping gravity pull the body forward. The coordinated timing of these forces (the time each force is acting and when it's not) produces a comprehensive running model that can enhance your performance

The use of this method allows coaches to teach running technique much easier and faster, because the principles and drills allow direct practical improvements. Use of this method allows you to run with less effort and tension, reducing injury risks, and improving results.

Running in triathlon

Running in triathlon is convoluted by a swim and bike leg, both of which contribute in increasing fatigue, reduced muscle freshness, loss in coordination, mental focus, etc. So when we get to the run, we have to be ready to face all the complications mentioned above and know how to deal with them.

Several separate issues arise owning to necessity of changing neuro-muscular patterns from the bike to the run. In order to do this transition less painfully, it is necessary to have many elements of running in the bike leg.

The end of the bike leg in this case should be done with a cadence close to the running cadence, which is a good base for the neuro-muscular transition. For example, if our running cadence will be around 180-190 steps per minute (for two legs), then pedaling cadence in cycling should be around these numbers 90-95 rpm for one leg. Besides this, pedaling should be done on the easier gears, which provide reduced muscle tension just before the run.

Running after the bike should be made with a strong focus on the major elements of running technique. It is not about running speed yet - but getting into a proper movement pattern.

The first focus is getting into the pose with landing or keeping the body weight on the balls of the feet. For this matter it is better to keep shorter stride length and slower speed. The second is to concentrate on pulling the foot from the ground to achieve high cadence. When these elements are established, we can move to the next step - increasing the lean in order to increase speed. It takes usually about 1k to 1 mile to settle all parts together and get into a desirable rhythm of running.

In order to train these elements, we need to replicate race conditions in a short version of triathlon, which could be called transition training.

Transitions could be of different length.

Sprinting: 1k, 1mile reps on a bike and then 400m run, 5k bike and 1k run.

Longer course: 20k bike and 2-3k run with the same aims of maintaining running technique as the main objective.

To check your technique it makes sense to video tape transition running and then analyze running technique elements.

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Re: More on Running Form

Post by Anthony5450 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:55 pm

Pose is kind of BS - just marketed good running form.


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Re: More on Running Form

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