Running Book Review: Pose Method of Running by Dr Nicholas Romanov

Dr Nicholas Romanov’s Pose Method of Running is the  book on running technique used by runners and running coaches, being one of the most popular running technique books.

The book itself is comprehensive when it comes to running technique and biomechanics.

Pose Method of Running argues that the benefits of using the method of and, subsequently, changing your running form can help:

  • eliminate injuries
  • improve endurance
  • raise speed
  • reduce recovery time
  • increase flexibility
  • improve coordination

The book addresses the subject of running from a very scientific point, as Dr Romanov studied physical education and was a track and field coach and teacher.  The origins of the Pose Method, as explained in the book, are Karate, Dance and Ballet.  In developing his method of running he also drew information and inspiration from  the Ancient Greeks vision of running, concluding that running is a skill that can be learnt and developed.

What I love most about the book is the different drills for developing the running technique. It’s not the usual, fitness style exercises, but drills that sort of reset the body’s nervous and muscular systems to move in a different way, especially the exercises to correct leg movement (my own conclusion here).

There are a few classic exercises as well, for flexibility and mobility, hips and to develop muscular elasticity.

After taking the readers and runners through the concepts of the Pose Method, Dr Romanov teaches them how to “build a runner’s body….and mind”. This is where you have strength and conditioning, muscular elasticity, exercises for hamstring, running on sand, uphill and downhill , trail running, developing flexibility and training programmes to integrate everything and ensure your risk of injuries are at a minimum (if you do all this) and your performance at a maximum.

One of my instructors once told me that when you’re not getting faster with speed training, look to eliminate the things that slow you down. In running this would be, for example, muscle tension, landing, how you use your lower body and how you use your upper body. I find the POSE Method is exactly the kind of running form, style or technique which discards what needs to be discarded (that which stays in the way of speed) and, in so doing, simplifies running (even if it doesn’t seem so when you first learn it).

Then it goes on to refining the running technique by looking at errors of legs, trunk and arms movement, and how to correct them so you run smoother, faster and reduce the risk of injuries.

In my opinion this book should be read by all of those who run on a regular basis. There is much more in the book that I haven’t mentioned here, such as the “Thinking, Seeing, Feeling” concept which I believe is essential because…..psychology interferes with body mechanics (my own note here).

This is the book for you if you:

  • experience recurrent running related injuries
  • want to fine tune your running so you can run faster (eliminate the movements which slow you down)
  • want to build up your endurance
  • reduce the tension in your muscles, so you run more relaxed (and faster as a result)
  • reduce the stress and pressure placed on your joint (reducing the wear and tear)

Check it out on Amazon (affiliate link)

Running Technique – Elements Of Effortless Running – Lower Body

elements of effortless running-blog

Any books you read on running technique which has the potential to reduce the risk of injuries have a few common elements. Each technique or style of running (i.e. Chi Running, Pose Method, Natural Running) has its own particular elements that sets it aside from the others, however they all state that to run with less effort and fewer injuries a runner should:

 

1. Land with the foot underneath the body 

That means DO NOT land ahead of your body because you overstride, break your momentum and increase impact. When you overstride you also have to power up by re-engaging the back muscle chains to start a new stride. More effort, more muscle tension, more impact, higher risk of running injuries.

If you can see your feet when you run (by looking down with your eyes and head, not by bending your whole body) it’s a sign you are probably overstriding, landing heavily in front of your body.

Bouncing up and down too much can be another sign. Usually, if you land under your General Centre of Mass you won’t bounce, you will move smoothly, almost like gliding.

This will also help reduce the rotational forces in the joints which lead to overuse injuries in the ankles, knees, hips, spine.

 

2. Lean the body from the ankles

This is an up-right, slightly forward leaning from the ankles, correctly aligned posture. Let gravity do the work instead of using your muscle strength.

 

3. Strike the ground with a midfoot strike

Another common element is the midfoot strike. If you land under your general centre of mass and use gravity to move forward there is no way you will do a heel strike. You will automatically go into a midfoot-forefoot strike.

That being said make sure you don’t run on your toes. You land on the balls of your feet and then allow the heels to touch the ground slightly. That’s it.

If, when you run, you listen closely you can tell whether you land with the ball of the foot. You will hear a “tap” and then you will feel the heel touching the ground. If you hear a “punding” that’s heavy landing and probably heel striking.

If you think about it pretty much all sports require a midfoot or forefoot body weight distribution: dancing, skiing, martial arts free sparring, even tennis. Look at the footwork in this tennis match, just the first 10 seconds.

 

4. Pick up the feet

Your feet are like pendulums. A long pendulum will move slower, a shorter one will move faster. So stop shuffling your legs, dragging them behind you, instead pick them up and bend your knee. 

5. Aim for optimum cadence 

Running cadence is measured by the number of strides per minute that each leg takes. The optimum running cadence is considered to be 85 to 90 strides per minute. 

If you do all of the above then you can maintain the optimum cadence.

However you have to build up gradually to this cadence if it’s not your normal. Then you keep that cadence all the time and use the lean and picking up your feet to move faster. In Chi Running you also increase the strides to increase speed. But you move faster because you lean more and relax your legs more not because you are using muscle power. You should not put effort to increase your strides, it will happen as you lean more. But first master the lean.