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Is this You? “Running Sucks!”

Want to Love Running?  Use the Pose® Running Method.

The simplicity of running has long been celebrated. Most running magazines have a column dedicated to running for the sake of running. Not competition, qualifying times, fitness, health, or anything but the joy of running. While athletes in many other sports feel the same way, there is a dark corollary to this side of running that needs to be addressed: the “just run” school often denies the importance of good technique for all runners, regardless of ability level. Ignoring technique leads directly to injury, limiting access to the beloved joys of running. Good technique takes time, effort, and energy, but is a necessary investment to keep you healthy, happy, and on your feet.

Related: Why Motor Control Makes You Stronger

There are two major “schools” of running technique, Pose® and Chi Running®. I am certified in Pose® technique, so I will discuss it here, but know that, on closer inspection, both get you to the same positioning and same essential actions. Both emphasize posture and high cadence. The only real difference is in the approach, with Chi taking a more “Eastern” philosophical approach to Pose’s anatomical emphasis.

The “Pose” that gives the method its name is a simple figure-4 stance (gray figures in the image below):

Pose Sequence

All runners pass through this pose at some point in every step. The difference is in how efficiently the runner arrives at the pose – reaching out in front with your foot, keeping the foot on the ground for too long, or pushing it out behind you are all ways to move with less efficiency. Which brings us to the other two elements of the Pose® technique, which actually involve moving you forward: fall & pull.

Good technique takes time, effort, and energy, but is a necessary investment to keep you healthy, happy, and on your feet.

Inefficient runners often start by reaching forward with one foot, putting it down in front of them, jumping off the ground with the back foot, then, after a hard landing, pulling themselves forward on the standing leg before jumping again to repeat the process. The Pose® way to initiate and maintain your run is to hinge forward at the ankles until your General Center of Mass (GCM, aka center of gravity) is in front of your balance point. When that happens, you have two choices: fall on your face, or move a foot forward to stop your fall. Since running is the point, we don’t want to stop.

The trick is to place that foot only underneath or just behind your GCM. You stop the fall downwards by keeping that leg firm, while your fall forward continues. At this point, you Pull the standing leg up into the Pose position, rather than jumping off the leg. This minimizes your vertical movement, smoothing out your forward motion, and decreases the forces you absorb on landing. Allow that leg to drop, using gravity, not muscle effort, so the foot lands beneath or just behind your GCM, and you’ve completed the process.

And we are back where we started: pull that leg up into the Pose position smoothly, and you will be running much more efficiently and landing with less impact. Less impact, fewer injuries. More efficiency, and you can run faster, farther, or both for the same energy.

Related: Strength Training for Endurance Athletes – Videos & Guide

Focusing on our running technique allows us to minimize the risk of injury, increase efficiency, and increase our longevity and enjoyment of running. If you don’t like running, it might even make a runner out of you! Even if it doesn’t, the practice increases your body awareness, sense of balance, and overall coordination, which will pay significant dividends in every other physical endeavor you attempt.

Our Pose Running clinic this Saturday from 10:30AM-12:00 Noon will help you learn the basics and provide you with a transition plan to follow to get you running more efficiently as soon as possible!

Get the Pose running tip sheet by clicking the button.

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Send me a message with any questions you may have, I’m happy to help.

 –John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

John@CrossFitSlipstream.com