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When I started running, I ran; eventually. As time went on I started looking at how I ran and more specifically at how the way I ran impacted in my body. This lead to the discovery of several methods of “efficient” running. With most of the credit falling on a fellow forumite jonp for the Pose and Pirie information and his colleagues Marion and Michelle for the ChiRunning description, I have collated the information below as a comparison of some of these techniques. I am not claiming that there is anything wrong with the way we run; nor am I suggesting that you need to make changes, but for anyone interested then I hope this article will be of interest to you as it was me.

Part 1
POSE​

Pose Method treats running as a skill (technique) sport, that we can learn and continually hone our skill of running. This is separate from your normal "training" that is essentially a physiological workout of your body. Pose Method is a "method" and as such is not just a description of good technique, but also a way to learn it.

Traditional running instruction talks about "driving phase", "toe-off", "push-off" and talks about power generated from our muscles pushing against the ground to drive ourselves forward. Pose running turns this on its head by basically saying that in actual fact the primary (motive) force in running is gravity. Gravity accelerates our body downward (to the centre of the earth) at a constant 9.8 m/s2, so it was dismissed as a force to move us forward. But our body actually rotates forward when we run (no matter our style) and when this occurs, a gravitational torque provides our propulsion. Our muscles work (of course), but they provide support for our body and react to gravity (if you jump up and down, every time you take weight, your quad muscles engage automatically to stabilise you - you don't "do" this, it just happens. So Pose method views muscle activity as a supporting role of our body not a propulsive one. (There is one exception described below).

It all sounds terribly complex, but Pose Method (the way to learn to run) splits the task of running into 3 elements: Pose-Fall-Pull

- Pose describes the body alignment for running
- Fall describes how our body actually falls forward (via gravity) when we run - if we let it.
- Pull describes the only "active" movement we need to make when we run

"Pose"
If you watch any runner, you will see an enormous variety of body positions. Some people hunched forward, some tall and straight, some twisting their shoulders etc. With Pose we basically have to learn one body position, "The "Pose". There are 4 points of alignment, each one sits directly on top of each other so that you are in a straight vertical line: Ball of foot->Hips->Shoulder->Head. In this position you are balanced as if on the edge of a cliff. Any slight unbalance and you will fall forward.

"Fall"
This follows the Pose. It is actually not something you do, but more something you let happen. It is about relaxation when your run and reducing body tension. If you are in the "Pose" (on the edge of a cliff) then when running, momentum will take the centre of mass of your body (known as General Centre of Mass or just GCM) forward and you will fall forward. The important thing is to teach yourself to just let this happen. It means you shouldn't keep tense muscles and try and "power run". Did you ever see the top 100m sprinters in the Olympics and see how there muscles swish around like jelly as they run - that is what I'm talking about; release of tension. Whenever you get a muscle pull, you have held a tense muscle that is subsequently tugged and tears. If you release tension, then your muscles behave more elastically.

"Pull"
You are now falling forward from the "Pose" because you let yourself go without holding muscle tension. But you need to do something to stop yourself falling flat on your face. This is called the Pull and it is what you do with your feet when you run. The pull is a lift of your foot off the ground in a direction directly upwards under your hips. You do not push your foot back and then swing it forwards. Your "action" is to just lift your foot up so that you get back into the next Pose position and hence back to the next Pose-Fall-Pull cycle which is running. Although you pull your foot directly upwards, when running this will actually look like a circular motion since your body is moving forward.

The one thing we don't teach in Pose running is how to land, and that is for very good reason; it happens correctly and directly under your body if you just focus on pulling your foot upwards and then forget the foot i.e. don't interfere by pushing your foot to the ground. So the forefoot landing that is often talked about for Pose is actually a result of doing other things correctly and not something you aim for by actively doing it.

The benefits of Pose are greatly reduced risk of injury and increase in running efficiency. If you are a heel runner then you are actually putting a straight leg out in front of your body to stop it moving forward (you're applying the brakes). When this happens, all the force of your bodyweight goes up through your leg and hits the weakest point - your knees. That is why runners suffer knee problems; almost all the landing force is directed up to your knee. With Pose because our foot is landing naturally under our body (which is continually falling forward with every step) with a bent knee, then the force is distributed evenly correctly. Imagine your are a boxer and your opponent throws a punch, you can stand there and take the full force or you can shift your body position and redirect the force so it becomes a glancing blow. That is the essence of pose, redirecting the force of gravity to let it work for you. There is much more technicality regarding muscle and tendon elasticity, ground reaction forces etc but it is not necessary to know unless you are just interested for the sake of the science.

Pose Method is a method, and as such doesn't just describe how to run, but also teaches it. This is done through a set of special exercises called drills that break the Pose-Fall-Pull into small chunks and allows you to "learn the moves" outside of running, (a bit like what you do when you learn to swim) so that with practice you learn to run more efficiently and with reduced risk of injury.

Here is a video clip of Usain Bolt winning the 100m Olympic gold. At 1min in there is a nice slo-mo section. It looks like Usain is striding out in front, but watch the point where his foot actually lands - it's right under his body. Also see how his body is all lined up at this very same point in the "Pose" position.
Usain Bolt 100m final Beijing 2008 WR 9.69 Video Compilation

Here is a video clip of a Pose trained runner (but not Olympic athlete!). See the similarities to Bolt's style.
Pose - Dr Mike

These two are sprinting, but the technique is exactly the same for all speeds including jogging; you just keep your body alignment and use less intensity to pull your foot up off the ground.

Here is an example of slower Pose running:
http://www.posetech.com/video-old/drromanov_slow.mov
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Part 2
Pirie​

Gordon Pirie (See book "Running fast and injury free") shares an awful lot of similarities to Pose and a few differences. Here are his principals (taken verbatim from his book) for running:

1 - Running with correct technique (even in prepared bare feet), on any surface, is injury free.
2 - Running equals springing through the air, landing elastically on the forefoot with a flexed
knee (thus producing quiet feet). On landing, the foot should be directly below the body.
(Walking is landing on the heels with a straight leg).
3 - Any and all additions to the body damage running skill.
4 - Quality beats quantity; the speed at which you practice the most will be your best speed.
5 - Walking damages running.
6 - The correct running tempo for human beings is between three and five steps per second.
7 - Arm power is directly proportional to leg power.
8 - Good posture is critical to running. (Don't lean forwards!).
9 - Speed kills endurance; endurance kills speed.
10 - Each individual can only execute one “Program” at any one time; an individual can be
identified by his or her idiosyncrasies (i.e. “Program”). An individual can change his or her
“Program” only by a determined, educational effort; each individual's “Program” degenerates
unless it is controlled constantly.
11 - Static stretching exercises cause injuries!
12 - Running equals being out of breath, so breathing through the mouth is obligatory (hence the
nickname “Puff Puff Pirie”).


Pose comparison

1 - Same
2 - Same
3 - Same
4 - Pose puts technique first and foremost above everything. If you run well, you don't get injured, you can thus train harder/longer as required.
5 - There is a pose technique for walking. There is not a view that walking ruins running technique.
6 - Same. Cadence must be a minimum of 180 steps a minute (90 per foot) for muscle elastic properties to work and give you free re-use of energy = 3 steps per second.
7 - Arms balance our body and are co-ordinated with leg movement.
8 - Yes good posture. In Pose we have a perception of full body lean forwards. Although Pirie says don't lean forwards, what he actually means is don't bend at the waist, which is consistent with Pose.
9 - Not specific for Pose.
10 - Same. You have to learn technique (just like any other sport) and then keep practising it to retain it.
11 - Same. Flexibility exercises are good. Stretching muscles, tendons, ligaments is bad.
12 - Breathing is essential when running.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Part 3
Chi Running​

ChiRunning applies the principles of T’ai Chi to Running. T’ai Chi is a martial art which focuses on going with the flow of energy. The two skills required to achieve effortless and injury-free running are alignment and relaxation. If you are aligned correctly than efficient movement comes from your core, not the muscles in your legs. Good alignment allows you to take advantage of gravity by leaning and moving forward with the twist of your spine and good running form.

ChiRunning is a practise much like T’ai Chi, Yoga or Pilates. Students are encouraged to use the time they are on their two feet as an opportunity to practise good alignment and relaxation. There are a series of exercises and drills, which are used to help them to understand how the technique should feel in their body but mostly ChiRunning is practised while you, are running.

Good alignment and relaxation also help to prevent injuries. Overuse of muscles, tendons and joints is avoided. The main causes of injuries such as landing ahead of gcm, pushing off, and too much side to side or up and down movement and unnecessary muscle tension do not occur in ChiRunning. Extraneous movement is reduced and the runner becomes more energy efficient.

The student should work on form above all else. Over time they will be able to hold their form for longer, building core strength and becoming looser and more relaxed. The focus is not on speed but that it is a by-product of good form over distance. ChiRunning also uses the principle of gradual progress and a cutback in mileage will benefit all those who start on the road to improving their running technique. Body sensing is a skill that will be developed over time.

Specific shoes are not recommended to students and ChiRunning suggests that they stay in their current shoes while they begin to work on their form. As running form improves, gradual progress is applied and they can move ‘down’ a shoe with the aim of running in a more minimal shoe.

ChiRunning is process oriented rather than goal oriented and it takes practise, perseverance and patience.


I hope you found this article useful and that it inspires you as it has me.
 

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now you see i find this interesting , but i am simply not intelligent enough to understand it . but it is something that i think about a lot .

i will have another look at the video's - to see if i can see what you mean

maybe its just cause its 2.23 am and my brain is tired :lol:

can it be simplified in one short phrase for me :p - like is it a case of standing up straight when you run cause the more tired i get , the more i lean forward and crouch - so i have been making a conscious effort to run tall and upright to open my lungs etc.

apparently - by some amazing fluke my legs run correctly , my local 'running bear ' shop did a gait analysis on me and my movement and foot falls etc is bob on perfect - (their words not mine ) - but goodness knows what my top half does when i get tired .

i'm trying to devise an energy saving way to run for when i'm doing my marathon - so i need a technique that allows me to shuffle with minimal effort

thanks hrun - i will re read when i've slept a bit :)
 

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yeh you see i need to actually see a person in front of me showing me the different techniques - for some reason i struggle to visualise things when they're not directly there right in front of me .

sorry - i'm waffeling :)

sorry - its me again - what does the walking damages running mean ?
 

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Have a read of Gordon Pirie's Book - it's free and available online (google "Running Fast and Injury Free").

If you want some help with the POSE technique then there are POSE Coaches dotted around the country who will do one-to-one coaching sessions for a fee of course.
 

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cant read this all right now, but am aware of all the theories mentioned & have read pose site & pirie cover to cover.... inspired by reading 'born to run' at the moment.. which chimes with my own developed running & ultra philosophy and is truly mindset altering in places.
 

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I'm very interested to read about Chi Running - I'm going to see if I can find any more info about it on the web - or if anyone here on the forum has any useful links, please let me know. (One of the exercise classes I go to is ChiBall.)
By the way, the first 2 videos didn't work for me - maybe they are no longer available?
Thanks Hrun for collating this info.
 

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Have a read of Gordon Pirie's Book - it's free and available online (google "Running Fast and Injury Free").

If you want some help with the POSE technique then there are POSE Coaches dotted around the country who will do one-to-one coaching sessions for a fee of course.
Just had a read through that Gordon Pirie's pdf its very good.
I try and follow the chirunning method now a days and no more bad knees for me :tup:
 

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thanks so much Giles!
I've been surfing all afternoon looking for stuff on better running form - and all the while, here it was - perfect! :)
 

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Gareth,
Get a short 20mtr run a video (most cameras do 30fps now), stick it on you tube and PM it to me and I'll give you some feedback on your Pose running :)
 

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I've read this thread with interest because of my own situation and thought I'd share my experiences so far... Started running again recently after 22 years away. Anyway, been jogging/running, using my heels, for about 6 weeks now and gradually building up distance/speed but recently I've started to get quite sore in the shin area during runs, especially during my first run after having 1 or 2 rest days, culminating in a very sore run this morning when I had to stop with my lower legs almost seizing up.

This was annoying and infuriating so, as I used to be a sprinter when I was a teenager and, obviously, ran on the balls of my feet all the time, I thought I'd give this 'pose' style of running a go tonight. I concentrated on not running on my heels and what a difference! No pain at all, found myself able to run faster, longer and easier and I seemed to be putting less effort in to achieve a better result. Marvellous!

Anyway, I'm going to keep going with this 'pose' style and I'll report back here on my progress. Difficult to say for sure after just one run but it seems to be suited to me - might be that different bodies are suited to different styles of running and, given my sprinting background, the 'pose' style suits my leg muscles etc. I'll report back here soon, if anyone's interested?

Cheers. :)
 

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Henner's. Glad making a change helped you right away. Just a word of caution though, take it easy. Running "Pose" style is not about running "on" your ball of foot, that is actually a consequence of doing other things right. Running on your ball of foot with heel held up in the air can cause calf and achilles problems. Make sure you aren't focussing on landing, but instead lightly pulling the foot off the ground. You should feel your bodyweight over your ball of foot area, but you should also have a sense that your heel is quite low to the ground - even if you don't feel any weight on it at all.

Pose Method is by essence a "method" of learning. Don't treat it as an instant fix, but insted a method of improving how you run. That includes good posture, relaxation, and developing sense of your bodyweight. Running on your ball of foot is not Pose per se.

Feel free to ask any questions here or by private message if you need any more info, and be sure to pop into ww.PoseTech.com and read the beginners guide there.
 
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