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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Running technique Part III: The Scientific evidence for running technique

Today is Part III of our series on Running Technique. The two key questions we are looking at addressing are :

  1. Is there an "optimal" running technique? I think we are probably all in agreement that there is, the tricky part is defining optimal...
  2. Is this "optimal" technique the same for everyone? In other words, should we all be running the same way?
  3. Can running technique be taught, or is it learned? This is perhaps THE key question, because if technique is learned,then it stands to reason that everyone might learn their own technique and run differently. On the other hand, if technique is to be taught as a complete "entity" (as suggested by running techniques like Pose and Chi), then it suggests that what we do naturally might be incorrect, and we need a technique makeover.
  4. When running technique is taught, how should it be done? There are two schools of thought on this one. The first is to teach it wholly, effectively relearning HOW to run. This is the mass market approach, and is done in courses where Pose and Chi (and probably others) are taught. Participants get taught the theory and then instructed in how to run. The second school of thought suggests that the principles, rather than the PRODUCT, are important. That means that running technique can be taught by observing each runner on an individual basis, and then applying what are known to be sound and correct principles to modifying that technique. I hope that the distinction between this approach and 'generic, one size fits all' training are obvious.

In previous posts, then, we've looked at the concept that what we do naturally might be incorrect, we discussed the philosophy or running as a learned or taught skill, and we looked at the biomechanical principles of Pose (and to a lesser extent, Chi).

In today's post, we look at some of the scientific evidence for the teaching of technique. We're dealing predominantly with question 4 from above as we move through this evidence. We're looking at the question, then, of whether it's possible to change the running technique, and what the implications and outcomes of this change are. Some evidence is anecdotal, some is 'hard(er)' science.

The Pose study - evidence that it changes technique

I guess the starting point to answer this question is to ask whether the teaching of Pose is actually able to change the technique to begin with? For example, there are millions of products that make claims, but they don't work because they don't even produce the change they claim to - imagine a hair colourant that leaves your hair the same colour as before! So the first question to ask is whether a supervised course in Pose running (or Chi, for that matter - it just hasn't been researched, to the best of my knowledge) is able to produce MEASURABLE changes in technique?

First point here is to define those changes. What are we looking at when we say that running technique is changed? Running technique, as I'm sure you can appreciate, is a pretty complex thing - arms, hips, shoulders, head position, movement of feet, landing patterns, swing phase, support phase, you name it - there are so many ways to look at technique that just "looking" at a runner doesn't allow you to know what is different. You might sense that there is a difference, but you can't know what it is, unless you objectively measure it.

To do this, you need some specialized equipment. And luckily, we had that here in Cape Town in 2002, when the Pose study was done. The background to that study was that Nicholas Romanov contacted Professor Tim Noakes and discussed the possibility of coming to Cape Town to perform a research trial. Tim agreed, and to cut a long story short, Romanov and two colleagues flew out to Cape Town to work with some of the researchers on this study.

The study - the only research on the technique so far

The study consisted of twenty runner volunteers (Jonathan and I were both part of this group), who were trained by Romanov and his team for a week. We began with theory lessons of how we should run, and this followed by a pretty intensive week of practical training. We're talking two sessions a day, lasting an hour each, under the supervision of three coaches, with substantial individual attention for all the volunteers. We did drills, got taught how to run, and how not to run. The first point worth making is that this situation is vastly different from that which occurs when a Pose or Chi course is run. Normally, there may be upwards of twenty athletes per coach (often way more than this). We had perhaps 3 athletes per coach.

In terms of measurements, every volunteer had his/her running biomechanics assessed running one of three ways - the first was "heel-toe", the second was "mid-foot" and the third was Running Pose. This assessement, called clincial gait analysis, measures a number of different factors, called kinematic and kinetic. Briefly, you look at things like stride rate, stride length, joint angles on landing and at different parts of the stride (kinematics), and then also at forces in the different joints (kinetics).

So that allows the research to establish whether the runners had different biomechanics as a result of learning the technique.

The findings

Sure enough, the gait analysis showed the following changes had taken place after training (compared to before, and natural running in each case):

  1. Stride lengths were shorter, and stride rates were higher - this is consistent with what Pose theory predicts, as we discussed yesterday.
  2. The vertical oscillations of the sacrum and left heel marker were reduced (this means there was less up and down movement of both the hips and the feet)
  3. Pose running had a lower loading rate of the vertical impact force than the BEFORE training running styles. This was explained because during Pose running, the knee flexed more in Pose than in heel-toe and midfoot running. Basically, during Pose, you land on a slightly more bent knee and it lowers the rate of loading.
  4. The knee power absorption and eccentric work were significant lower in Pose than in either heel-toe or midfoot running
  5. There was a higher power absorption and eccentric work at the ankle in Pose compared with heel-toe and midfoot running
So those were the key findings. This is not a biomechanics lesson, but it's worth looking at some of them in more detail. Let's have a look at the implications of these findings very briefly:

The implications of this study

It is possible to change running technique. One week of intensive Pose training was able to change a great deal of biomechanical variables in this group of runners. The stride length, stride rate, knee joint angles and rate of loading were all different. So you can 'teach an old dog new tricks'

The most important findings are Number 4 and Number 5 in the list above. They are worth looking at in much more detail.

Firstly, let's deal with Number 4. What this is saying is that when running Pose, the "eccentric work of the knee" is lower than compared to heel-striking and mid-foot running (somewhat misleading terms - let's just compare to BEFORE training). What does this mean? Well, there is some evidence the knee injuries are associated with higher eccentric work in the knee. This means that in runners who have a high eccentric loading, there may be increased risk of injury. Therefore, the conclusion made is that Pose will reduce the risk of knee injury. In fact, if you go to the Pose website, you will see this claim in the top left hand corner! That's marketing for you!

So this was the very exciting finding, and Romanov and the team were incredibly happy with it. They felt they were vindicated and had proved the benefit of Pose. And to a certain extent, they had. One small problem though...that eccentric loading doesn't just disappear, it goes somewhere else...


Does Pose increase the risk of ankle injuries?

Where does it go? Well, look at Finding number 5 in the list above. You'll see that the study also found that the ankle eccentric work was higher in Pose than with heel running! So that means that what has been taken away from the knee has been transferred to the ankle! The work done on the knee (the definition of eccentric work, by the way) is lower, but the work done on the ankle is higher! Using the same logic, this would mean increased risk of injury in the ankle and calf muscle. Does the evidence support this?

What the published study didn't tell you...what happened next?

That's where the published research ends. This research study was published in the journal MSSE, you can read the abstract here. But what the published study fails to report is what happened next...

Because what happened next was never going to be published in a scientific journal by the advocates for the technique, and would certainly not be reported on the website alongside the claim of reduced work on the knee! For what happened is that of the twenty runners who were trained, more than half broke down with calf muscle injury, Achilles tendon strains and other injuries of the feet! Let me elaborate...

We (UCT scientists, who by now included me, as I'd been brought onboard to instruct the technique) realised that this higher eccentric work in the ankle was something to keep an eye on. So Romanov and the team flew back to Miami, but taught me the basic theories behind the Pose technique, so that we could use it as a tool to do further research if we needed to.

What we decided to do was evaluate all the runners in a 'follow up' study about 2 weeks later. So we left the 20 volunteers for one weeks, so that they could go off and run and get used to running Pose, and then we called them up again and re-assessed their techniques and gave them further training for TWO WEEKS. At this stage, my role was to identify and continue to diagnose any potential problems with technique. We split the group of 20 into two parts. 10 were the "control" group, who received no further assistance or advice. The other 10 were the "follow up" group, who I saw twice a week and gave further advice to. We then measured everyone in the biomechanics lab at the end of the third week.

Calf problems - more common than they should be

What we found should be of concern. Everyone managed to maintain the same running technique - that was a good thing, because it meant that even two weeks later, everyone was still running Pose, whether or not they'd received further coaching.

The problem was that nine out of the 10 athetes who had been left alone broke down with Achilles and calf muscle problems in those three weeks after Romanov left. The ten I worked with had similar problem, but only 5 of them complained of injuries to the calf. No one had knee problems, but suddenly, we had 14 runners on our hands who had calf muscle injuries or ankle problems, despite never experiencing this before! Does Pose running then cause ankle injuries?

One might at this stage be tempted to say that this happens because left unsupervised, the runners adopt a bad technique and stop running Pose. If they were still running the technique properly, they would not develop this problem. That may indeed be true, but I would give three responses to that suggestion:

First, this calf muscle/Achilles problem did not only start happening AFTER Romanov left - it was, in fact, already happening while we were being instructed. Many of the 20 volunteers complained of severe stiffness and burning in the calves when they ran, and pain in the Achilles after a day of running. This pain was not yet full-blown injury, but it did suggest some was on the way.

Second, the group of 10 runners who did receive follow up training and supervision (from me) were still running Pose. Of course, I'm not the founder of the method and so probably should not have too much confidence in my coaching ability! But the biomechanics suggested that they were still doing the technique correctly - the biomechanics was the same as it was when Romanov was supervising (which made me feel a little better, I must confess!)

The biggest problem of all - selling a product that works only because you 'make' it work

Third, and perhaps most important, it doesn't matter whether it was because they ran incorrectly, the point is that they DID. What good is a technique if it gets taught and then is 'forgotten' or unlearned in only two weeks? Remember, these 20 people received the very best training they could - two sessions a day, individual attention, for a solid week. Yet somehow, they still manage to make errors and land up injured! Imagine if they were simply attending a weekend workshop or course, where they are one of a hundred people! What chance would they have then? This is a MASSIVE problem with the techniques (and Chi is included here) - how can you sell a product that is only going to work while the seller is on-hand to advise?

If I may use an analogy. Imagine you buy a television set, with the prospect of high definition images, revolutionary sound quality, 6 trillion colours etc. You get home and it doesn't work. It's black and white, at best. So you call the guy who sold it to you at the store and he says that it works in the store, the problem must be with you...How is that satisfactory? But he comes out to your premises, does some tuning and adjustments and gets it to work. As soon as he leaves, it flunks out on you again and you can't, for the life of you, get it to work the way he did. You call him back, and he says "It worked for me, it's not my problem. And no, you can't have your money back...!"

Crazy example, but I would suggest that this is what is happening with these techniques, both Pose and Chi. I have dealt with Pose, only because that's where the data is. But the anecdotes and reports are the same for Chi. They are making promises (run faster, run injury free) and then teaching a technique (the product) with this promise. You part with your money, but it doesn't work. In fact, it makes you even worse. But there is no accountability, because they can always suggest that YOU are in fact the one to blame. That is not fair, but the science suggests that this is what happens...That is my biggest problem with the mass coaching of a technique.

The anecdotes support this. It was been reported, for example, that whenever a workshop is held in a city, the orthopedic specialists know that they should anticipate an influx of people with calf and ankle problems about a week or two later! So for every positive story you hear (there are some, make no mistake, some people get it right and it works), there are those of disappointment and injury as a result of a 'generic' running technique.

The final factor - the mental cost of running a new way

So far, we've looked purely at the physical and biomechanical changes. But what of the mental changes? Imagine you are 40 years old, been running for 20 years and suddenly you learn a new technique. Suddenly, running is a mental exercise, your 5-mile jog becomes 45 minutes of focus and concentration: Am I landing right, how are my hips, am I pulling enough, I mustn't land on the heel etc. That's a guaranteed way to ruin a run, for MOST people. I received the following email from one of the 20 runners we tested (excerpt only):
Since learning Pose, I can't relax and run anymore. I'm trying to just run naturally, but the training drills we did are still too fresh in my mind (this was 3 months afterwards, by the way). I try to switch off and just run, but it's too difficult. I can't seem to go back to how I used to run, but I'm not sure I'm doing Pose correctly either. It makes my running very difficult, I wish I could just switch off, forget what I was told and run, like I used to, for pleasure"
This gentleman was incredibly frustrated, he'd been shown "the new, better way", but it created a burden for him that he didn't want. I'm not sure what he runs these days, but I suspect he has probably returned to his old technique. This story illustrates one possible risk of running a new technique - can you make wholesale changes to technique without overloading a runner's mental capacity? I don't think so, which is why the subtle change theory is the way to go, in my opinion.

But there is still some merit to the techniques

Having written that, let me now say that I still believe that the fundamental principles on which both are based are CORRECT (I don't think there's a difference between them, to be honest). That means that whatever it is that Pose is teaching, I believe is true - the centre of mass, the pulling of the foot, the balance and fall (all described yesterday). It's all sound. But to try to apply this to a mass audience only creates more problems than it solves. And for that reason, I would strongly suggest for anyone to avoid this kind of "mass customization". Running technique is a one-on-one thing, case by case. Remember, as I wrote yesterday, technique is first learned, then refined and the subtle changes are made.

We will look at these subtle changes in tomorrow's post, the last of our series. Once again, thank you for reading, I realise these are heavy and long posts, but I hope they stimulate thought and debate.

Bye for now!
Ross

Breaking news: Haile Gebrselassie has just broken Paul Tergat's world record for the marathon - 2:04:26. Check out the split times and post-race analysis here!



19 Comments:

Anonymous said...

How many miles per week were the subjects running? Was it the same or less than usual?

One explanation for the high rate of injury is that they were simply running too much and their ankles and calves were not ready to handle the load that Pose put upon them. Perhaps if you treated them like novice runners and allowed the muscles to slowly develop for Pose then the injuries could have been eliminated.

BTW, I agree with all of your basic conclusions. These posts have been very interesting, but I've tried not to learn too much from them for fear I'll start to think about how I run!

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Anonymous

Thanks for your continued reading of the posts, I appreciate the feedback and comments, which have been very sound!

To answer your question, the runners were ADVISED to reduce training load while the study was being done. DURING the training period, this was pretty easy to control, because we had these two sessions a day of supervised training and so most of the volunteers simply had no time to run outside. A few kept going with 20 or 30 minute runs.

But once that was done, most people did return to their normal training. Now I agree 100% that this was part of the problem. Whenever something new is introduced, especially something as radical as a change in running technique, one SHOULD reduce training, treat the situation as one would a novice and build up.

But from a PRACTICALITY point of view, it again begs the question - how reasonable is it to take a group of runners all aged 30 or over and teach them a technique and tell them it will take them THREE months (more or less) to run normally again? That's not a pretty attractive proposition. That's a big part of the problem. I agree with you that if these athletes had their training loads monitored, they'd likely have avoided injury. But seriously, is that feasible. Imagine the marketing line:

"You can run injury free and faster, if you learn Pose/Chi, and it will only take you three months to get back to normal training"

Doesn't quite have the same ring to it!

That's why the best approach remains small, incremental changes to technique, which allow the programme to continue without that unwanted interruption!

Thanks for the question, though, it's actually a critical point and one that I'm going to make in the post tomorrow!

Ciao
Ross

Stan said...

Thanks Ross. I guess I can stop posting as anonymous since you've officially declared me a non-idiot.

Seriously, the analysis is so good on this site that I thought I was way out of my league.

Stan

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hello Stan

No worries, you are more than welcome in this 'league', your comments have been terrific and driven much of the angle and approach I've taken, not only for the last post, but for the previous ones too.

Thanks for your readership and positive comments, we hope you keep reading!

Regards
Ross

David Nixon said...

I'm 52 and about 4 years ago began a massive overhaul of my running technique, moving toward the POSE style. It took me a full 3 years to fully transition to flat, lightly cushioned shoes (Puma H-Street) and it took me a little over a year to get past the niggling injuries to my arches, achilles tendons, and lower calves. But patience won out, and now I run with no knee injuries and no lower ankle injuries . . . and I run a lot faster.

We preach slow adaptation to training loads, but we seem to forget the same principle when it comes to running technique. I'm convinced that people can make the switchover largely injury-free, but that will mean a sizeable decrease in the load/intensity of their training on the front side -- and that's exactly the part that (1) we don't want to hear and (2) isn't shared in the marketing of either POSE or Chi running.

I only wish I had done this overhaul when I was in my teens. All that wasted motion!

Simon said...

Thank you, thank you for this analysis: I thought it was just me!

Fan of Pose, did a workshop with Dr R two years ago, got A+ for technique, have had Achilles problem ever since.

To repeat: I'm a FAN of Pose; forward lean, shorter stride, faster cadence, less time on support -- can't fault it.

But...if you read Dr R's book and supporting manuals, you will see he recommends a TON of strengthening exercises. What would be SO helpful is if you weren't allowed to take a Pose class unless and until you had done these exercises and strengthened the bits that are going to be newly stressed by Pose (and the switch to flatter shoes).

If you talk to Dr R or follow the discussions on the Pose website you will see that the first response to anyone who reports an injury is to tell them that they are injured because their form is not correct. Ie, because they are not doing Pose properly.

When I was having personal coaching from Dr R and reported calf problem, his accurate and helpful suggestion was not to rest but to incorporate specific strengthening (resistance) exercises into my training.

So, I agree with what you are all saying. What SHOULD be emphasised, but isn't, is that if you are going to take on Pose you basically need to take 2-3 months off training and invest that time in running less and doing more drills, strength and stretch work.

I haven't trained personally with Danny Dreyer of Chi Running, but from what I've picked up from his books and a couple of emails with him direct, his system is much less intensive than Pose and is kinder on the body.

Ross and Jonathan, thanks again for a superb analysis and a rare inside story from the research world.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hello Simon

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It's great to hear first hand stories of people's experiences with Pose, it only builds an argument. And your insights were really helpful. I must confess that there is a second study on Pose, which I will be analysing and posting on Monday - I had missed this one, but someone brought it to my attention. So that will be posted on Monday.

Wth regard to your comment, people have written in to say that Pose DOES IN FACT recommend this time off and the excessive strengthening. And yes, the book is loaded with strength exercises, and yes, they do help. I don't think this was ever in doubt. But as your story illustrates, the burden (I'd even call it the "liability") to learn Pose rests entirely on the runner, and to me, that's not good enough.

The post directly above yours, from David, talks of niggles and aches and pains for 3 years before the technique was learned. So I can think of three things to say to that:

First, well done David for holding out and mastering it.
Second, for every David, how many people don't have three years to work at technique and thus end up injured? I'd guess David is one in a hundred.

And then third, that's simply not a good "product" if this is what it takes! Great concept, absolutely. But as a product, I have to wonder.

Thanks again, David and Simon, for sharing your stories!

Regards
Ross

David Kelly said...

I've had Achilles Tendinosis on/off for 5 years. It usually flares up when football training on hard pitches. I've researched everything about Achilles and the key seems to be Eccentric Calve Strength.
I've tried Alfredson's Eccentric Strengthening Program but it takes three months and gets boring!
I'm going to try altering my running style. I think switching to a POSE/CHI style gradually (2 jogs per week) will reduce the ECC load on my knees increase the ECC load on my Calves/Achilles. Therefore.....GRADUAL change in running style will increase my ECC calve strength and lead to greater resistencee to injury when I go back to play football???? What do you think?? Also at least this is less boring than Exercises.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi David

I'd be very very very cautious about trying a running technique as a means of therapy. The problem is that the running technique is going to place stress on the very system that is weak and susceptible to injury. Remember, the evidence says that Pose will increase the eccentric force on the ankle and that means your already weak tendon is going to be asked to work even harder

If you're not absolutely careful about it, the injury will get worse. The nice thing about the exercises, the eccentric loading, is that you can control them, because they are slow and limited. But if you go out and run for 5 minutes, you'll be doing 400 contractions at high velocity, and I fear that this will be too much.

So yes, you can try it as a means to develop the eccentric strength, but you must also be very careful about overdoing it and making it worse. I would not, for example stop with the current programme of eccentric calf raises.

Good luck
Ross

Jester said...

In reading the abstract to the Pose study, the joke for me was the increased cost in oxygen consumption.

Regardless to any theories, as oxygen needs are a passive measurement to running economy, the inefficiencies are easily identified.

The Pose method also isn't shown in the study to truly increase speed. That's the difference between being a competitor and a participant in my view.

Pose by nature isn't a faster way to run, its a much more comfortable way to run and why its popular.

In studies I did for Nike's research lab, I teach a technique which lowers heart rate by 20% on average for the same speed. Speed increases of 25% weren't uncommon amongst test subjects.

There is a more efficient running technique out there, however the running industry is based upon promoting slower techniques to keep you hooked on their running advce.

runnersbliss said...

In part two you said That Haile does not run on the balls of his feet in marathon only when sprinting. Go to this Utube video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xGXPxJzeug
and about 2:oomin in the video you can see Geb from behind running on the balls of his feet close to the end of the marathon. He was not sprinting just running. You should also be able to check out a lot of his 5K and 10K races on the site and in every one of them he is always on the balls of his feet. I can help if you want but why dont you contact him and ask him to comment on his running technique so you can refute Dr. R claim if you think it is false. I also want a link to the study which shows that most elite runners land on their heel. I should indicate that I do not believe this. From just my high scholl years and all my time around run. I have never made this observation. I have NEVER seen a sprinter for example running and landing on their heel.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Runnerbliss

Sure, take a look at the following site:

Foot strike in elite runners

That study, from Japan, showed conclusively that 75% of elite runners are heel strikers. That should provide the "evidence" you said you required.

I would prefer not to base my scientific opinion on some very blurry images drawn from YouTube - the evidence from the Japanese study is pretty clear.

That, combined with the study that found that running economy was impaired after Pose, and the fact that the negative work on the ankle is increased and the increased risk of ankle injury is quite enough to make a definitive conclusion. to me, watching videos does little - I have to point out that in the Japanese study, they used high definition cameras to generate their findings.

That's not to say there are no runners on the forefoot, and I think you may need to read my posts a little more clearly. It seems you have jumped to some conclusions without actually reading the arguments fully. I stand by the assertion that they are not on the ball of the foot - midfoot, yes, but the ball is another situation altogether, and it takes more than YouTube science to change that perception.

Ross

Anonymous said...

Hi

I just found you guys (after linking to your site when reading about the young cyclist who died in his sleep 6 Feb 09) so I am 12 months or so behind. I have read up to this point on running technique but still have to read the rest.

I was a cricketer (Sydney first grade) who converted to a triathlete in my mid 30's. Always a reasonably natural runner but a definite heel stiker. I decided to covert to (my intepretation of) the Pose technique in early 2002 (must have been before your study - a bit surprising). It all worked really well for me and I was able to train with very few injuries for 4 Ironman triathlons including Hawaii (2005).

The first time I tried landing further forward on my foot was out of curiosity. I went for a 40 minute run and my calf muscles felt like rocks for the next week so I gave it away for a while. After a bit more "research" I decided to make to commit to the transition but chose a time when I was coming back from a break to deal with knee pain. So I would use the Pose technique for 100m at a time when my runs were really short. I slowly built up and succeeded in converting. I would like to make a few observations based on my experience (sample of 1).

1) I couldn't imagine transitioning to Pose when running many kms a week, i.e. I would guess from my experience that it should be done slowly (with all the complications you mention).

2) I was able to manage fantastic consistency through some pretty heavy, long blocks of training for several years which I believe was my single biggest reason for my relatively rapid improvement. Maybe lucky or more a result of overall load management than technique - who knows?

3) I was acutely aware that my biggest injury risk was my calf muscles and spent plenty of time stretching them and had a massage once a week.

4) I did some of the classic Pose drills after most runs.

5) I am not sure what heel striking or rear foot striking really means. My running shoes disntinctly show wearing on the outer REAR edge, down the side and the middle of the front pad. I know I first contact the ground at the outer rear but I only put weight on my foot through the ball. Photos show my unweighted foot dangles so the sole faces inwards somewhat. I conclude that the firt contact is just straightening my foot out before it bears any load. When I consciously heel strike it feels completely different. I couldn't really understand the Japanese research paper but I wonder if there is another factor to measure apart from FFS/MFS/RFS and contact time. Where on the foot does the maximum load pass through? I think high speed film might deem me to be a heel striker when I don't think I am. I really doubt that elite runners have any rel weight on their heels like most weekend warriors.

I agree with your observations about the difficulty with mass marketing such a change in technique and will read with interest your following posts.

Cheers
Vernon

Pete said...

Hey fellas, liking your blog!


I guess the other aspect one could look at is injury rates for 'heel strikers' compared to Pose style runners.

Not sure on the ease of such a study, but its difficult to draw finite conclusions on every aspect of POSE running from one study.

A basic premise is that running, like all athletic movement is based upon skill and the level which you have will dictate your likelyhood to be injured and/or speed relative to your potential.

A study says "75% of Japanese elite runners use heel ball landing" The question then begs " How much faster could they be with a more effecient technique, either A) Using less energy to acheive same amount of work or B) Less injuries, therefore more time spent training therefore increased running capacity ?"

These qualities are measurable, repeatable and largly observable.

If one wants to be a runner then just run. If one wanted to be a more effecient runner then you'd have to accept there is room for skill development (I.E changing what you're currently doing because it's limiting your performance).

To sum up, if you wanna be average at something keep doing what you're doing. And if you want to excelle you have to be prepared to at least try something new.

And with that you've got an adaptation phase. Rush it and you'll be punished by injury, respect it and enjoy the learning and it doesn't matter if it takes 3months or 3 years to grasp it. It will be worth it.

After all whats 3months or 3 years in a life time? and similarly, whats a life time of constant injury and poor performance worth?

Apologies for an shocking spelling :-)

Anonymous said...

Very simple answer:

Pose instructors very specifically recommend that you ease into BOF and Pose running. The fact that the runners were running Pose every day for their first two weeks goes against everything I've heard about Pose. I did more than most my first three months because I believe my lower legs to be more durable than most and I had tightness and soreness, but no injury.

Getting Pose right is a different story. Folks do consistently fail to get run within the standards that the best instructors and Dr. Romanov are running.

Tuck said...

The Army seems to be getting different results.

http://www.army.mil/-news/2009/06/26/23546-new-running-technique-strikes-a-pose/

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

HI Tuck

Thanks for the link. To comment, the army hasn't yet got any results, they've just read the theory and bought into it.

I'm not sure how well they'll do when many of the recruits break down with Achilles tendon and calf injuries, but hopefully it won't slow them down. The Army has done some good research in the past, but they've also produced some of the worst research we've seen, particularly around hydration. Be interesting to see what this one throws up.

Ross

RA said...

I'm a new reader to your blog and I'm getting back into running as a form of exercise. I've enjoyed your series on running technique and have a question regarding the results of the Pose study. You mention there's a shift in power absorption from the knee to the ankle with this technique. Did the study say how much of an increase there was to the ankle compared to the reduction on the knee? A 1 to 1 shift seems like it's just trading one problem for another but, if say, there was a 60% reduction on the knee with 20% increase on the ankle that could be an acceptable risk/reward ratio. And from a biomechanics standpoint is the ankle /calf better prepared to deal with that load or is it structurally inappropriate to place extra load there at all?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and sound info here! Thanks for the writeup and sharing.

I was thinking along the line that after Romanov left, the volunteers started getting injured or like you mentioned maybe even before he left.

Isn't that the same case, if one never goes to the gym, suddenly he goes to the gym do bench presses, squats etc. He for sure will suffer muscle aches and may even get injured. So if one started running the POSE way, he may get calf strained etc. But after some time the muscles will recover and back to normal.

As for consistently thinking if running posture is correct while one is running. It's the same case with gym workout too. When one is new to gym workout, he will observe every rep and be very careful but once he mastered the lifting technique it will be a breeze for him when working out.