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Running is (Not!) Too Hard on the Body – Part II

Posted by Filed Under: Pose Method of Running, Running Injuries

Article Summary: The second in a two-part series that offers hope to runners who’ve given up on running because of injuries, or who are close to giving up because of pain and injuries, or who are new to running and want to avoid injuries.

In part one, I shared that I, like many runners, had a history with running injuries. Welcome to part two—the part where I get to share the secret of how I became a happy, injury free runner.

How I Beat Running Pain and Injuries

pose.jpgI beat them by learning the Pose Method of Running. Now, just in case you’re having this thought, I don’t think the way I run is any better than the way you run. I don’t think you are any less a runner than I am. You’re A-OK in my book.

But, if you’re having chronic pain or are getting injured a lot, I think you might really benefit from learning the Pose Method of Running. Still with me? Great! Then read on.

How I Came to the Pose Method

After my second last marathon, I viewed some videotape my wife took of me running. I didn’t like what I saw—I looked absolutely heavy and jerky. Not fluid at all. That was the defining moment. Right then my history with shin-splints came into crystal-clear focus and it became obvious I needed to change the way I was running.

I looked for information on “running form,” “running technique,” and “running mechanics” and eventually came across Chi Running and the Pose Method. I dabbled in Chi Running but ultimately found Pose to be a more complete system.

How I Have Benefited

Let’s start with the best part. I feel nothing but joy when I run. I have no anxiety around pain or injuries. I feel amazing.

Specifics:

  1. Light on My Feet: There is no sensation of pounding or jarring on my body. And I bet I could sneak up on you without you hearing me.
  2. Back Pain is Gone: This happened almost immediately after transitioning to Pose.
  3. No More Shin Splints: This one took a bit of time. The better I got at Pose, the less shin splints I had. Today, I have no shin splints—and that’s after a decade of running with them!
  4. Increased Mileage: Prior to Pose, I suffered at three to four days of running. Today, I run 70 miles and seven days a week with no problems.
  5. Getting Faster: I’ve got a new marathon personal best! Of course, the biggest part of that is due to better training (e.g. 70 miles a week) but I’m fairly certain I would have never been able to handle that kind of training without switching to Pose.
  6. Confidence: Virtually every time I’ve had the slightest niggle, refocusing on good form has solved the problem. Let me tell you, having that kind of confidence—compared to wondering what’s wrong—is an incredibly empowering feeling to have.

So, You’ve Had NO Injuries Since Switching?

To say I’ve had absolutely no problems would be a lie. But, I can say I’ve only had one little hiccup since getting back into heavy marathon training mileage—a sprain in my big toe that my sports Doc surmised was caused by an awkward slip on the ice (it happened in very icy winter conditions). That niggle sidelined me for a week. Other than that, things have been golden!

What Does Pose Running Form Look Like?

Here’s a video clip of me running in Pose Method. It was filmed in the winter (February 2007). My form here is not as good as it could have been because I’d not warmed up prior to filming. However, it should give you an idea of the quick, light steps we strive for in Pose.

And here’s a video clip of the creator of the Pose Method—Dr. Nicholas Romanov sprinting on ice!

How Hard Was it to Switch to Pose?

I won’t lie. It wasn’t easy. Actually, it was a painstaking process that took a great deal of patience. Why? Because I had over 10 years of habits to break! At first, I was only able to run fifty meters or so at a time. But, over time I was able to extend that to 100 meters, and then a 1,000. Looking back, I think it took me about three months to be able to run 40 minutes non-stop in the new form. I remember telling myself, “You must think of yourself as a new runner if you’re going to get through this.”

And even after those first few months, I had periodic struggles. Most notably, there was often soreness in my Achilles heel and calves. Those, I was told by the Pose gurus, were expected and would go away. They did.

All in all, I’d say I felt very comfortable running in Pose after twelve months and it was another year before I felt confident enough to train for another marathon. You might be thinking, “Wow, that’s a long time”. But, to me, it was a small price to pay to keep on running!

Would Learning Take as Long For You?

It’s a good question. The answer is, “I don’t know.” But I do know that the longer you’ve been running, the longer it will likely take to replace your current form with the Pose Method. On the other hand, if you’re a new runner it would probably be very easy for you to learn the Pose Method.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The whole point of this has been to give you hope and to suggest that running is not too hard on the body if you’re doing it right!

To that end, it’s really up to you. Do you want to change? Is it worth it? How badly do you want to keep running? For those of you who’ve already stopped running, would you be willing to try the Pose Method if it got you running again? And finally, if you’re new to running, are you willing to put in a little extra effort to help you avoid injury? These are questions only you can answer.

If you’re interested in getting started, the best place to do it is at Posetech. You might consider buying Dr. Romanov’s book and DVD (I recommend you get both) but, if you’re not ready to spend money just yet, make sure you visit the Posetech web site and forum—it is a place loaded with information from experts and beginners helping one another make the transition.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to write some articles to explain what makes the Pose Method the Pose Method. Stay tuned!

Links You Might Find Useful

  1. Posetech
  2. Posetech Forums
  3. Where to Buy the Pose Method Book and DVD
  4. CRNs Pose Method Archive (where you’ll be able to find all of our posts on this subject)

About Mark Iocchelli

Also known as the "Running Blogfather", I'm a 40-something marathoner who has beaten stress fractures and terrible shin splints. Now I'm running double the mileage with no pain - and I'm getting faster. I love to talk about running form and Arthur Lydiard. I also enjoy taking photographs, have a beautiful (and very patient!) wife, and am the proud father of two crazy kids. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the site.



10 Comments
  1. Running is (Not!) Too Hard on the Body - Part I » Complete Running Network on July 3rd at 9:42 am

    […] Running is (Not!) Too Hard on the Body – Part II […]

  2. Runner’s High with Running Kate » Pose Method on July 3rd at 6:27 pm

    […] recently read a post on the Complete Running Network blog about running injury free and a method that the runner chose […]

  3. Wayne B. on July 3rd at 10:13 pm

    Thanks for the info. I’ve been reading everything I can find on proper form for running. I try to concentrate on not striking my heels, but my heels do touch first. I just make sure I immediately roll forward. I also make an effort to plant my foot under my body and not out in front. This definately makes me feel lighter on my feet. I haven’t had any injuries, just aches and stiffness. I run about 30 miles a week now, but will reach into the 40’s soon. The POSE method is very interesting and I’m trying to incorporate some of the ideas in my running. I’m 56 and have been running for the last 3 years. I’ll be buying into the program with the book and DVD. Thanks for sharing your sucess story with POSE. But what do I do with my 3 pair of Asics 2100’s?? 🙂

  4. Soozan on July 4th at 6:16 am

    Your shoes are prettier than Dr. Romanov’s shoes. Are certain shoes better to wear while running POSE style?

  5. Jon (was) in Michigan on July 4th at 6:48 am

    Good stuff, Mark. Love the video of you running outside. I need to get out and do the video again.

    I think its important to point out that flatter shoes and a more efficient running style gives your body more flexibility when it comes to adapting to issues such as uneven terrain and foot pronation. Running in high cushioned heels, striking heel first, can leave your body little room to adapt to things like that, ultimately leading to injury.

    Lastly, did your neighbors think you were a little goofy running back and forth in front of your house, videotaping it?

  6. Mark Iocchelli on July 4th at 8:52 am

    @Wayne: You are very welcome. I’m very passionate about form work. I think it’s the most often neglected part about teaching running. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

    @Soozan: Basically, Pose wants you to run in minimalist shoes – ones without a high heel. The idea behind this is exactly as Jon has stated in the comment right after yours. And you’re right – my shoes are rather cool!

    @Jon: Great points. I intend on getting into those sorts of things in follow-up posts.

  7. jon on July 5th at 1:31 am

    as i left in the first article i still havent had any problems with injury yet as a highschool xc runner. but as the milage increases i think the pain will set in. a couple things to try is ice baths or showers whatever u prefer. the objective is to restict blood flow and flush much of the lactic acid out of the muscles. i have been doin this faithfully every day since xc started and i believe it helps a lot. and try “the stick” for those of u with shin splints and exesive muscle aches and pains it helped a lot more than i thought.

  8. Lana on July 12th at 7:56 am

    Mark,
    you look great! It’s a pleasure to watch you run, even if it’s only for a few seconds!

  9. Jim Kelleher on July 12th at 8:32 am

    Hey Mark,

    Just wondering if I could print part of your articles in our running club newsletter for the Pikes Peak Road Runners. I would, of course, give you full credit and refer people to your blog as well.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  10. SiamKarl on September 28th at 3:50 am

    Thanks for this, Mark. I tried out ChiRunning and liked the emphasis on gravity and turnover and changed my form accordingly over a couple years. Then I re-read the Pose method and realized that it was ChiRunning and more, as you say. It seems to me that a key Pose instruction missing in ChiRunning (and Evolution Running) is this: pull the heel towards the hip. This effectively keeps the knee weighted in front of the body as it “falls” forward – making the fall easier, thus making running easier each stride. It’s brilliant! Of course all the other parts have to come together as well: no heel, no active landing, no push off, etc.

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