Is there a right and wrong way to run?
There is nothing more normal and natural than running. After months of crawling as babies, we learned to take our first steps as toddlers. Like any new skill, it took time to get the hang of it and there were a few falls along the way. Then the transition from walking to running seemed to occur overnight. Once we had found our center of balance and the muscles in our legs grew strong enough to support our little bodies, we were uncontainable! We were born to run!
According to Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion, a body at rest remains at rest, but a body in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.
Unfortunately, it seems that for most people today, that outside force stopping our motion is modern society in general. Nature may abhor a vacuum, but the greater modern society abhors running.
Those of us in the running community are a tribe apart. We are the exceptions to the norm, and we stand (or rather, run) apart! We are better, stronger and faster! We are exceptional, amazing, and awesome! We are rock stars and superheroes because we have made the choice to turn off the TV, get off the couch, and run! Runners have re-discovered what society has largely forgotten. That running is healthy and normal. But is there a wrong way to run that we need to avoid?
Each year, two out of every three runners experience an injury. Running should NEVER be painful. Slight muscle soreness after intense activity is normal. Pain is not! Pain is a sign of an injury, and means that we did something wrong.
Running is an athletic activity and EVERY runner is an athlete. As athletes, we need to focus on three key issues: diet, training, and equipment.
Diet is easy. Cut out the junk, eat organic, drink plenty of water. Make sure you’re getting all seven essential nutrients in your diet. Water, protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, fiber. Don’t take in more calories than you can burn off, and make sure your meals have the proper 40-30-30 split of protein, carbs, and fats. Adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle if you see fit as an additional healthy option.
Equipment is also easy. Basically dress for the weather in proper moisture-wicking athletic attire of choice, and wear the correct running shoes. (Or run barefoot if you dare.)
Training is hard.
A month ago, I got hit by ‘The Hammie Whammy’ when I pulled a hamstring by overtraining. I was pushing myself very hard and trying many different training strategies, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Needless to say it was a bad idea. Overtraining is the leading cause of injuries in runners. The next major cause of injuries is improper training. There are literally hundreds of training manuals on the market, each claiming to be the correct method. ONLY ONE makes the bold claim that it can teach you to run faster, farther, and injury-free– for life! Pose Method Training.
According to Dr. Nicholas Romanov, creator of the Pose Method there is a natural running form which utilizes the body’s biomechanics in conjunction with the force of gravity.
Running is flying!
In his best-selling science fiction series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the late Douglas Adams wrote that in order to fly, you just needed to fall and miss the ground. This is pretty much the same claim made by Dr. Romanov in his book on pose method, The Running Revolution. In the very first paragraph of the introduction, Romanov states that running is flying, citing that Usain Bolt spent nearly twice as much time airborne as he did on the ground when he ran his world record 100-meter race in Berlin in 2009. 9.58 seconds total time, 6.38 in the air, and 3.20 on the ground.
To simplify the pose method, the runner repeats a controlled cycle of falling forward while simultaneously launching themselves upward and essentially ‘missing the ground’.
Romanov even refers to these motions as the falling phase and the push off phase. Because of the forward angle of the body, you are running on your forefoot, so you must be wearing minimalist or barefoot running shoes to allow for the foot’s natural ‘springiness’. You should always maintain a short stride because long strides make forefoot running impossible. The rest is all a matter of muscle strength and physics. Always remember, you can build muscle strength, but you cannot change the laws of physics! Just ask Scotty.
Since you are using the force of gravity to propel you forward, the greater the angle of falling, the faster the run. The reason Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world is because of the extreme angle he races at. At top speed, Bolt is running at an angle of 21.4 degrees. This is the upper limit of angular body position one can lean forward and still be able to recover from this controlled fall. A deviation of an additional 1.1 degrees would spell disaster, causing the speeding runner to stumble and slam into the ground at top speed. The most critical thing to remember is that as you fall forward, gravity is the downward force vector acting upon your body’s torque. Too far forward and you cannot escape the gravitation pull of the ground. Your body’s torque is determined by the force of gravity acting upon your center of mass (your hips) as it moves beyond your axis of rotation (your support foot in the run).
How it all works.
To recap how all this controlled falling and launching cycle through, a typical stride using the pose method of running would begin with this paradigm: Pose, fall, pull. In the running pose, the heel lifts as the body begins falling. The falling ends when your swing foot passes your support leg, and your trail leg pulls up, entering the flight phase. The forefoot of your trail leg makes contact with the ground, becoming your current support leg and returning your body to the running pose position.
Switching from your current style of running requires mastering the pose method technique and developing a proper body awareness. To learn more about The Pose Method developed by Dr. Nicholas Romanov , read his book The Running Revolution. This 200 page manual is filled with exercises, workouts, training guides, and extensive descriptive photos of each. Is it all just hype? Read the book and discover for yourself if the post method can really provide injury-free running for life. According to Dr. Romanov and his disciples, pose is the only way to fly!
You can find me at these upcoming races:
Double Trouble 15K Trail Run August 15th @9:00 am French Creek State Park Elverson PA
Third Thirsty Thursday 5K Race Series – Race 5/7 August 19th @7:00 pm Reading PA
Be sure to check back on August 22nd for another article.
As always, I wish you success and happiness!