Progressive Running

Running Form Correction

Category: Coaching (Page 1 of 3)

2017-2018 Running Off-Season

Running season in Sydney pretty much terminates with Sydney Running Festival and in this year it was held on 17 September. The next large race is SMH Half Marathon in May 2018.

This means from now, September 2017, till May 2018 is the best time to look into your running technique. Most of recreational runners start with and mostly rely on shoes and methods of training for results whereas there is a missing step in this structure that by addressing it you can improve your mechanical efficiency by up to 50%.

Watch this video. I can help you understand and practice this technique in a few sessions.

3 x 1 hour private sessions, or 5 x 1 hour group sessions would cover all theories and drills.

Private Sessions for total amount of $150. 

Group Sessions for total amount of $75.

Please also fill out this form and I will be in touch with you soon.

One PB a year, keeps the doctor away

City2Surf 2017 was on Sunday 13 August with Harry Summers and Celia Sullohern winning men’s and women’s top spot on the podium. Congratulations to both. Harry Summers won the race last year too and came second in the one before that. He was injured this year and only had 6 weeks to prepare, and there you go, he made it!

Although this race is my favourite I took it easy this year because I had planned for improving my PB in half marathon earlier in May (and it went well) so I decided not to push for another one in the same year to avoid any chance of injuries. That is why I came up with the title of this blog post. Well, if I had Harry Summers’ super genes I might think differently! Anyway, I think I did ok at the race as I did not even expect to go sub 60min but I just made it in a few seconds better: http://live.tiktok.biz/results/view/city2surf/2017/00658

Back in 2012 when I was pushing hard to make good time at any race I ended up in growing a bone-spur right in the back of my right heel bone that still annoys me every time I run. Worst thing this bone-spur did back then was tears in the [right] Achilles tendon. It stopped me from running for 6 months which was depressing however there was an enlightenment for me from this injury. I used to run – and still do a lot – in extreme minimalist shoes like vibram five fingers. Back in time I was on this notion that running like a caveman must be injury free due to being completely natural. There is a misunderstanding in this approach and that is “not everyone knows how to run correctly efficiently”.

Please do not think I am going to say running in Vibram Five Fingers causes injury (from my last conversation with Harry Summers on this in June 2016, he did not agree with me). I still run in them and cannot recommend anything better for training. My point is something else. At running in cushioned and supportive shoes what is protected by shoes is your feet “locally”. What you may not see through is the magnitude of improper landing on the higher parts of your legs. Moreover, design of most of running shoes is based on the [true] statistics that most people “push off” the ground so that running shoes try to make it more comfortable and effective (monetizing the current trend). The alternative to this approach, and in fact the opposite view, is that pushing off the ground is not really right/efficient. The chance of injuries is higher when the runner pushes off the ground due to “unnecessary usage of muscles”. If you could do less to get the same result, would not you think it would be more efficient and less prone to injury?

The opposite approach, which is fully explained in Pose method of running, is to use gravitational torque as the only source of propulsion. What is left to manage would be to learn how to redirect forces to properly run within this framework. That is why running correctly efficiently is a skill.

One immediate noticeable difference you would experience once start running in Pose is you hardly get sore from your running workouts. Calf and quad soreness is usually caused with pushing off the ground. Not getting sore is a great benefit because otherwise you would have to slow down or postpone training for the soreness to go (safe approach). The other great benefit is the lower chance of injury (nothing can beat over-training though). It is more likely to get injured at training rather than the race day, comparing the amount of time spent and the distance taken at training with those of the actual race. That is how running in pose can keep you on the safe side during your training period, and besides it helps you save energy up to 20%.

It is not all about training

Cannot believe one year passed since I wrote this on SMH half marathon 2016: Getting subconscious mind under control talking about mind challenges I went through last year. I had it better under controlled, while observing what I was missing to get better at running the race next time.

As the followers of my facebook page should know I was aiming to improve my PB at this half marathon race to be sub 90 min and here you go I just made it:

Official site 1:29:17

and my own tracking with Garmin 910xt

I was stuck at 94min time at this race for the past two years that I picked it up and to name what made the change since last year to this one I would say:

  • Better application of Pose running on uphills and downhills (technique)
  • Better plan/program to follow that did not wear me out prior to the race

These days my post-race favourite conversation is that my lower legs are not sore at all. The only sore parts are quads which either inevitably get sore or that is the room to improve for next year. Soreness is caused by intensive eccentric contractions. Absorbing shock with knees at landing time can cause this, mainly at downhills. My anecdote on soreness is if an eccentric contraction is immediately followed by a concentric one the soreness is likely to be severe. For instance if you toe-push off the ground after landing, your calf muscles get too sore. If you do not push off, they may not even get sore. The reason my quads are sore is vertical push – adjusting height – happens automatically and quads have an important role in doing so. Besides, running up hills take certainly needs gaining heights and this race course is known for being hilly.

When I finished the race I joined the stand of the charity organisation that I support at this race: Running for Premature Babies. They have been extremely successful at attracting runners to join their charity (this year they had 500 runners) and managed to raise more than $300,000. At the stand I met a runner whose PB was 83min made in 2016 however although he had done the same amount of training he ended up in 86min this year. He wondered why and the only thing I had to say was, well, sometimes it is not all about training.

Again talking about the usual missing part of most recreational runners’ training program: techniques. Public understanding of running is not efficient for serious running. Here is where a particular way of running as a skill works much better than the second nature everyone knows about.

One funny thing happened after the race, I also wear a Garmin wearable, vivo smart, for heart rate and other activity tracking. I wore that during the race but when I got into the car to go back home it vibrated telling me “Move!”. Funny, but not a good news for the manufacturer, huh?!

Insights to Share

Taking a look at my own tracking reveals an interesting insight that am going to share with you here.

Very high heart rate at the beginning

Some people run the first half of the race faster than the second one. I am one of them. Not saying this is the best way of running a race. Maybe I have to revise this strategy going forward, I do not know and I have not made my mind about it. I fell off almost one KM in the second half of the race but maybe I had saved a lot of seconds by running fast in the first part so I could rest a bit in the hardest part? Anyway, let’s leave that for now. I should write something about it later once I have done my homework.

Running the first split of the course faster resulted in my heart rate to go higher than what I expected. It was surprising to see it reached 204 whereas my record of every Max heart rate test I had done before the race, or any hard speed training I had pushed myself in to my max effort, was that my Max HR is around 185 bpm. Going up by 19bpm only means I burned a lot of carbs during that part of the race which makes sense because I started feeling low energy from kilometer 10 where I started taking gels. That feeling low is due to low blood sugar that feeds the brain. Go find videos on Youtube of people who get dizzy from pushing too hard. Apparently it is a terrible thing because some say they really feel they were going to die!

Room for Improvement for 2018

Looking at my splits (per km) I fell off my goal pace at 7 splits, meaning if I can improve my hill running to maintain the same goal pace I should be able to shave another 2min off my PB.

I ran in zone 4 most of the time

If my Max HR is 204, given my resting HR is 55, my HR zones are:

Zone 1: 129-144 (50%-60% Max HR)

Zone 2: 144-159 (60%-70% Max HR)

Zone 3: 159-174 (70%-80% Max HR)

Zone 4: 174-189 (80%-90% Max HR)

Zone 5: 189-204 (90%-100% Max HR)

It is recommended to run races mostly in Zone 3. You can see at the end of the race that I am depleted of carbs my HR goes to highs of zone 3 and before that it is at the lows and highs of zone 4. Relying too much on burning carbs meaning I cannot do it  again without taking gels. Good or bad, I do not know. It is subjective.

Please note that I had a sugary toast in the morning and that is where the required carbs were sourced in the first half of the race, as well as the reserve of carbs in the muscles; the one that is fueled with the so-called carb loading before the race.

Hope you find this post useful. Please feel free to contact me on facebook or on my email: rez@progressiverunning.com for any question or discussion.

Barefoot Running, good or bad?

Recently happened to read this article on barefoot running here: https://www.jenreviews.com/barefoot-running-shoes . From its few first lines everyone can tell it is pro barefoot running. You might even also think I am so excited and am going to highlight every bits and pieces in it, but you are not quite correct this time.

Yes I advocate minimalist running as I think maximalism is unnecessary, if not hurtful. There are great benefits in going light however do not think mother nature will take care of you if you go barefoot.

Here am going to list the main headers from the article and comment on them.

1. Barefoot Running Promotes Recovery

Regular shoes may cause you to land on your heel, which is unnatural, may impair balance, and makes you at risk of getting ankle strains, among other leg and foot injuries

Striking rear foot is NOT unnatural. It is a valid technique for running. The problem is when heel-striking is used for long distance running. That is where it comes inefficient first, then it causes trouble due to those so-called over-striding and landing ahead of body issues.

2. Running Economy is Improved with Regular Use of Barefoot Running Shoes

Agree with this from this point of view that it has been proven by studies that running in barefoot/minimalist shoes strengthen lower legs and that can result in better running economy.

3. Oxygen Consumption, or VO2 max, is Heightened due to the Specific Motions that Simulated Barefoot Running Requires

That is not a bad News however what I know is VO2 max is less important than in the past to rank runners. Someone with lower VO2 max might still run better than the others at higher one. There are factors that more accurately can rank runners by very high accuracy. VO2 max although has a high correlation with performance, it is not that much accurate to tell, for instance, who runs faster.

4. Barefoot Running Shoes Strengthens Muscles, Tendons, and Ligaments of the Foot

Totally valid based on the study I shared previously in this post.

5. By Running with Barefoot Running Shoes, You Can Develop a More Natural Pace or Gait

I do not think there can be an exact definition for “natural pace or gait”. What does ‘natural’ really mean? how can it be defined accurately? You might find this term in my earlier blog posts but these days I use it more carefully. There are only two natural features in our legs that if used properly I can call that way of running “supportive of our nature!” but still not “natural running form” because the terms is a bit vague:

  1. Our tendons are elastic
  2. There is a great shock absorption mechanism in our legs

6. Running with Barefoot Shoes Can Improve Your Balance and Proprioception

This is true. Most of our nerves end at the soles of our feet. Wearing shoes do not help them get better. Going barefoot improves the sensation and along with strengthening ankles and other lower leg parts we should be able to manage better balance. Moreover the  better sensation of where the ground is and how we are landing can help the proprioception.

7. You Feel More Encouraged to Run Outside, which is Better for Your Health then Running Inside

Objection, subjective!

8. Barefoot Running Shoes Allow You to be Connected with Yourself and the Earth or Natural Surfaces, which Can Improve Sleep

That matches what I know of that Chinese medicine on the relation of parts of soles and body parts. If that is true, this one is true too.

9. Running in Barefoot Shoes Can Improve Short-term or Working Memory

I skip this one :)

10. Barefoot running shoes help prevent Plantar Pain or Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis happens for several reasons, two of them I know of are:

  • Going frocibly against the gravity
  • Running too fast, too soon, too much

Going against the gravity is in the technique and is when the runner [toe] pushes off the ground. You should allow your feet to peel off the ground with your momentum and let falling forward generate the propulsive force. Pushing off the ground causes too much stress to Achilles tendon and plantar fascia and if this stress is too much such soft tissues may get inflamed and cause trouble.

It goes on the same track as the three too’s: too fast, too soon, too much. Any time you rush into training after a relatively long period of rest and going lazy (!) you may fall into a benign to severe plantar fasciitis.

11. Using Barefoot Running Shoes Can Boost Blood Circulation

I find it plausible. Simply put your feet are not restricted by shoes so they can spread as much as needed. Those shoes claiming to be natural running shoes have wide toe pocket to allow feet move naturally. The meaning of natural here is letting feet move freely while observing how they go at landing.

12. Earthing, or Running on Natural Surfaces, has a Positive Effect on the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)

Maybe it is a new sensation different from what we do most of the time at this modern life. Most of the time we sense our in-soles :) then the synthetic surfaces at home or at work if you work at a relax office as I do. Anyway, from my experience sensing the ground was great plus it massaged my feet, although beware of blisters. You have to gradually increase distance as your feet develop strength and skin thickness to handle it.

13. Exercising in Barefoot Running Shoes Can Improve Overall Health

No special comment on this.

14. Transitioning to Barefoot Running Shoes Can Reintroduce You to a More Natural State and Can Increase Your Chances of Survival

I know this one looks has gone a bit overboard but my comment on that is going barefoot develops a different type of agility that can come handy some time somewhere. At the end of the day those with better nervous system do better and going barefoot is aligned with this notion.

15. Using Barefoot Running Shoes More Often Gives You the Sense of Freedom, Healing, and Other Positive Emotions

Cannot disagree with the sense of freedom. It feels great, so true. The idea of not being dependent on shoe wear strikes me.

 

 

Sustainable Success at Running

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I have discussed success once or twice before in my previous blog posts  but this time am going to be more specific. It is about how to maintain success and to see if there is anything helpful towards that from the notions advocated at Progressive Running.

I follow variety of experts on the net: personal trainers, physios, dietitians, and running coaches. I was reading blog post of a running coach a long time ago where he raised a point about “not touching something that is working” and it sounded very right to me at the time however found it debatable later on.

Back in March this year I wrote a post on Heel Striking in which I described an invisible roof resembling our limits, hitting it means injury. It is a roof because we might hit it when we jump high for a greater goal. I still believe in what I said because we do not know at what exact stage our tissues fail at sustaining the pressure. Even by state of the art technology the medical science cannot accurately predict injuries.

Staying with the notion of the invisible roof, the more athletes progress in setting higher goals and picking harder challenges the closer they get to this invisible roof. It sounds reasonable to assume everyone picks a higher challenge once they tick off one. That is mankind’s nature to look for more; however as we pick harder challenges the scale of the necessities to achieve the set goals grows too. Training for a full marathon takes longer distances to run than for half marathon. That means a full distance marathoner is closer to his or her invisible roof than others aiming for shorter distances.

My interpretation of sustainable success is to find a way to push this invisible roof higher. Someone like me choose proper technique that would not overtax any particular body part more than the others. I aim for efficiency at the core techniques to spread the pressure between working parts the best way possible so my running economy would not stop half way through because of a failing part. Others might take different approaches. The debate stays forever on which one is universal, meaning definitely works for everyone.

Some coaches like Jason Fitzgerald mostly recommend strength training as a means to run efficiently and in a less prone to injury way. In other words they use strength training for sustaining success at running. Surely it is a working solution, I do not deny the benefit of strength training, and this method has worked for them too perhaps but my argument on it is that the followers of the notion might be fighting their own body without knowing it. Trading a bit of health to gain speed is what many runners do at running whereas they do not have to. For instance, as long as a runner’s cadence is below 180 strides per minute, he or she is over-straining knees and/or lower leg. What they gain is an extra propulsive force that results in speed. With the emphasis on strength training the runners build up strong enduring tissues that would tolerate the [extra] damage from the technique. This may work for some but am not sure it does for all. There is an excessive expenditure in such runner’s technique that is not addressed properly; instead a patch is used as fix. It is like someone who drink too much alcohol work extra hours to cover the cost of alcohol. Drinking alcohol is a trade of health for joy, and many are Ok with that but I wonder who would work extra hours to sustain this life-style.

Lessons From City2Surf 2016

HarrySummers

City2Surf 2016 was just last Sunday, the 14th. Another world’s largest fun run event finished with me going back into the red group (!) and Harry Summers winning it after coming 2nd and 4th in the previous ones.

Due to various reasons I was not able to run at this great event in the past two years and lost my spot in the red group. This year I unbelievably caught Pneumonia exactly four weeks out to the race and am lucky I could recover in one week to finish it with a good margin better than 70 minutes or whatever cut off the organisers are going to set for qualification to be in the red group next year (they make it harder every year). Made it in 64:39.

In a free training group sponsored by Adidas this year I met Harry Summers who led our running group. He used to run in Vibram Five Fingers but the one I ran with this year was not. Very fast and strong; however to my criticizing mind his cadence was lower than mine and I know mine is well tuned to be 180+ which means he pushes off the ground. I even noticed he is not meticulous on how he lands, and I caught some proprioceptive heel striking at the three sessions we did together. Such things happen at top professional levels, and that is fine. They do anything to be fast, and as long as their super genes can recover the wears and tears in time they should be fine. What I always look up to these successful runners is how often they train, what they do at training, what they eat at every meal, and how they recover fast, but one thing I do not copy is the way they run because IT IS NOT UNIVERSAL. It only works for them and those who can handle it. Others are better to stick to safer techniques that work for everyone.

Back to me, first three times I ran City2Surf, which was from 2009, I made it in 64, 66, and 60 minutes and they were all in thick Adidas shoes with motion control made for rolling-out feet. Besides, I was not running in pose. Back in time I just trained regularly and pushed my hardest on the race day. I got myself up to 60 minutes but could not break it.

2009: https://secure.tiktok.biz/results/view/city2surf/2009/03594

2010: https://secure.tiktok.biz/results/view/city2surf/2010/03140

2011: https://secure.tiktok.biz/results/view/city2surf/2011/06708

It was August 2011 that I found out about Vibram Five Fingers and the idea of minimalism in running footwear’s. This finding gave my running career a good boost. The first one I noticed was although I went through some painful muscle soreness (mainly calf muscles), none of those shinsplints and runner knees turned up any time I ran since then. It was amazing. My feet and ankle started getting stronger and by having a stronger hold to the ground I could push better and for longer time too. I ran from home to the office once a week in the morning for cumulatively 10 months and each run was between 25-33km (I made detours a few times). During this period of glory I ran two marathon races (42.2km) at Canberra in 03:27, and in Sydney in 03:11. I ran my personal best at City2Surf in 56:58 . I was all over the moon. It felt like being an invincible robot.

Quite pleased with achieving all the goals I had, I started feeling weak after the last race. Perhaps two marathons and a PB at a hilly race track in period of 6 months for a person with a full-time sedentary job was a bit too much. I fell into ITB syndrome followed by a benign Achilles tendinitis.

Having these injuries made me think that being [almost] barefoot would not make the mother nature take care of me! There were other things I needed to learn. In the hindsight I can tell the reason I had ITB syndrome was weakness in leg stabilisers perhaps due to some improper techniques plus muscular imbalance would contribute negatively to that, making me lean to one side more than the other when was fatigued during running workouts. My right leg was two or three times stronger than the left one back in time. The Achilles tendinitis was somehow related to this aforementioned imbalance and more importantly to over-training. The other thing I relate to this tendinitis was my running technique: I used my calf muscles mainly to push off the ground on top of absorbing the landing shock. I actively landed on the balls or even between the balls and toes thinking it would absorb the landing shock even better. Wrong intuition.

That was when I realised I seriously need to boost my knowledge about running and it was by the time I finished my degree to become a personal trainer. I came across Pose Running and attended a personal training session to learn it. The actual training did not strike me as a proper technique but the theory sounded right. So I kept practicing and studied the material by myself. Two books and a whole website to browse and a paid youtube channel to watch. In a year or so I got it right and changed my form to run in pose and have never looked back.

This year I ran the race in 64min and it was completely in pose. I had pneumonia before the race and I am 4 years older (am 39 now) than the time I ran my PB at City2Surf but I still made it around the time I was much younger and more active. All credit to pose running. It is easier, less prone to injury and highly efficient which means it takes less effort to run the same distance.

During the race I observed the muscles I used for going up hills and surprisingly I did not feel much pressure in my quads or calf muscles. I clearly remember I used to have pain (tolerable) at going up hills, even in my glory year of 2012. Why? because I pushed off the ground and I did not know of any alternative way of running.

Last thing before I finish this long post, and thanks if you have read it all the way to here, am no longer running my races in Vibram Five Fingers. I train a lot in them but racing is a different category to fitness. There are times during the race that we get puffed out and it would be hard to maintain a good form. A little cushioning in the shoes would give a bit of comfort. If I could train more hours I would run my races in VFF but having a busy life is a big obstacle. These days I run my races in NB Minimus which is still at the extreme of minimalism but is a little more comforting than VFF and can be forgiving if I carelessly land on my heels just because am knackered. Ignore what am saying if you are not a competition freak! Anyway, some might go for more supportive shoes but as far as they have to train in those shoes before the race it may cause trouble before being fruitful. I personally keep it minimal and that works for me. I still believe the strength developed in feet is gold compared to the support in shoes bought off the shelf that I rank as bronze ;)

Hope it was helpful. Good luck.

Get on the road sooner – Financing a car and supportive shod running (WTF?!)

Car-Finance

Was passing by Ford dealership at Brookvale the other day and saw their Ad: Get on the road sooner, Ford Finance. What does it have to do with running? Surprisingly it does a lot.

The benefit of financing a car is you can drive away your dream car without having the money in your bank account. As long as you can afford repaying the principal and the interest you should be fine. The downside of financing is the interest of course. The reason some people finance cars is its affordability, so they choose the immediate comfort over the hardship of saving, budgeting and the initial delay to have a car.

How does it relate to running? Remember I said before (like here: successful-runners vs good runners) that Shoes do not make you a good runner, they just help you get into running more quickly ? Car financing does the same thing. You need a car right now, like you just have decided to get into running because you are getting married in 6 months time, or you just picked up a goal to run in a race which is usually not too far in future. You do not have time to learn how to run properly. The only thing you want to think of is to achieve your goal. The damage you cause is you run inefficiently, you may overtax your lower legs, you may put too much pressure on your knees, Achilles tendon, or plantar fascia, etc, at your training. That is the resemblance of the interest paid at financing.

What I have to offer is how to run with less amount of effort. First of all, you have to slow down and be patient. You have to stop what you are doing for a full-check up to see if you need to revise the way you run or not.

There are many micro and macro movements in feet that are affected by shoes. As I explained in The Most Natural Sport , one should learn how to run with minimal amount of effort and the best framework to practice it is to have minimal support from shoes, or even in bare feet. Once you master that, your eyes will open to what is going on in the shoe market. You can choose the right shoes that can extend your bio-mechanical abilities and do not manipulate the way you naturally run. Am not being cynical here but shoe industry like car industry want you to buy their products as frequently as possible. Easy car finance prevents your attempt to learn how to budget and save. In the same way comfortable cushioned shoes would make you not bother how to run efficiently because it feels comfortable to run in supportive shoes and you can start getting fit forthwith. If you learn to run in pose, which takes a little patience, you will be independent on shoes thereafter. You will develop strength in your feet/legs (gold) as opposed to buying incomplete strength off the shelf (bronze at max!).

Do you get the picture now?

 

Successful Runners vs Good Runners

Runner

Is there really a difference between successful runners and good runners? Perhaps it comes down to how we define each. Well, successful runners are those who achieve their goals. So who are good runners?

There are successful entrepreneurs who, by high correlation, are financially successful too, but are all of them good ones? For example what about those whose product-lines generate too much green-house gases, or those who try to get away with oil spills in the ocean? Do you still call them good entrepreneurs?

The scope of damage is different at running. It is limited to the individual and is actually self-damage if there is any wrong practice but it is somehow similar to the entrepreneur’s case by adjusting the scopes and making some assumptions too meaning if every individual is a planet, they can be successful in achieving their goals but they might use their resources too much. They have to make sure their training regimen is a sustainable one.

good runner

A good runner is in fact like a responsible person on a planet who follows the guidelines to avoid harming the planet while striving to achieve his or her goals. Growth with care.

To name a few of these guidelines in such a short blog post:

  • Recovery is as important as training if not even more important. Consider easy days after tough days, or easy weeks following tough ones. A tip for those who are too active, there are rules around double workouts. Check out this blog post by Jason Fitzgerald.
  • If you are a long distance runner, do not [over] use small muscles in your legs for propulsion. They are mainly for shock absorption.
  • Shoes do not make you a good runner, they just help you get into running more quickly. Do not rely on shoes too much. Developed strength in your legs/feet is gold, I rank the best strength gained from shoes as bronze in comparison.
  • Never stop learning, keep your inside child highly active. Learn new sports, new dance moves, new languages, or new stunts. Trust me, adopting new coordination is harder than losing weight or puffing up muscles and learning coordination at sports is how you can make more effective changes.

Good luck!

What is the fuss about pose running?

pose-running-sequence

Welcome to my website and thanks for taking time to read this article.

This blog post is about pose method of running, a technique for running efficiently and less prone to injury created by Dr. Nicholas Romanov.

About two years ago I came across this technique after facing some injuries at running that made me think again about my techniques and patterns of training. Back in time, as a big fan of minimalism, I trained so hard to run marathons and although I reached my goal in a reasonable time of 3:11, I fell into a series of not very serious injuries but enough to stop me to run for a couple of months and more importantly they made me think again about all I  had done for running. I looked into variety of running methods, I watched videos of Olympian runners, and subscribed to the mailing list or youtube channels of some top notch running coaches. At the end, the only one that could justify everything it claimed was Pose Method of Running.

The main reason that I came to like Pose Method was due to one of the injuries I had. My right Achilles tendon had microscopic tears as well as inflammation (tendinitis). I was diagnosed with that 4 months after I made my PB at Sydney Blackmore’s marathon (Sep 2012). Pose method advises against toe-push off which removes the pressure from Achilles tendon in terms of generating propulsive force. That attracted my attention so much and up to the day am still inclined to believe in the technique. I feel how easy running in pose is on my calf muscles and Achilles tendon compared to the time that I treated running as a second nature, or let say as a purely training sport rather than a skill.

In my opinion Pose Method is based on one single point:

Gravity is the source of propulsive force

I have heard people chuckling at this and also countering it with saying that gravity does not have a horizontal component. That is true, gravity does not have a horizontal component but when the balance of an object, human body as an example, is tipped the object does fall and does not the top end of that object land at a distance away from the base? Yes. So what force moves the top end away? I do not want to get too much involved in physics here but this body movement is from a torque generated by gravity with centre of rotation at ankle joint. Well, as well as being a personal trainer I hold a diploma in Maths and Physics.

Human body is like a lever, standing upwards. We can rotate around our ankles, which are like a hinge. In fact, that so-called leaning forward is actually a rotation around ankle joint, especially because the body should be held straight all the way from head to ankles (I guess you might have heard this tip before). If we tip our balance by leaning forward / rotating around one leg’s ankle joint (because we always stand on one leg at a time at running), we will start falling face down unless we catch ourselves by the other foot. If you master managing this sequence of fall and catch to be merely the only things you do at running, I must congratulate you for becoming a pose runner! Pose running is that simple in theory. In practice, mastering the coordination and learning what muscles to activate and what to avoid doing(!) takes some time.

Pose method identifies three invariable parts of running: Pose, Fall, Pull. There are theories and drills to get the best out of each part to achieve highest efficiency at running. The opposite of this technique is push the ground back, using toes or knees, to gain propulsion; feels easier and even natural/spontaneous, but is inefficient. Pushing off generates a vertical component that throws the runner up like a projectile. That is completely waste of energy and most of the time results in landing ahead of body (over-striding). I have talked about this in my previous blog posts in more details, check them out here:

If you have any question please feel free to email me on rez@progressiverunning.com .

Getting subconscious mind under control

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It has been a while I have not written a blog post, was too busy training for a half marathon race which I did last Sunday the 15th. Was hoping to run it in sub 90 minutes but from my training I could tell I was still behind that dream. I did it in 94:58. Check it out here https://secure.tiktok.biz/results/view/sydneyhalfmarathon/2016/03415

Am happy about it, mainly because it was my first race in Pose method of running. Regarding pace, I would say “keep calm and be patient!”. Going too fast too soon ends up in trouble.

Interesting to say but during the race I had a few discoveries on a couple of things. I wrote a memory note and took my focus back to the race straight away.

The main one was the challenge with sub-conscious mind. It kept foreseeing 10km down the path and picturing me falling apart because I was trying to go slightly faster than my planned race pace. Maybe I was going faster but it was downhills and I was testing my special downhills running technique one more time during a real race. It worked really well but the feeling of high speed made my sub-conscious mind too worried. What I did was I took my focus back to the present time, checked my form and technique, managed to bring my breath-rate low to help my heart rate, and so on.

I checked my GPS watch often at the beginning of the race to adjust my feeling of my pace with my actual one. I know it pretty well when I train but would be reassuring to check it during the race. Although this helped, it made my sub-conscious mind “conscious” of the risks I was taking to gain a bit of edge during the race. What I did was stop looking at my watch from 16km mark to almost the end of the race. I went by my feeling and pushed to the extent that I felt would certainly take me 5km very fast; kind of trusting the experience I gained from all my past training and races I  had done.

If you have ever had this challenge with the back of your head telling you to stop and wonder how to overcome it, here might be some helpful tips from my own experience:

Check your current pace, is it much higher than what you normally train? if yes, check your perception of the level of intensity, if it is too hard you should slow down, if you feel strong keep going by that for a little bit more then check again. Once your pace feels under control, check your techniques to make sure you are in the framework of efficient running:

  • Are you sure you are NOT pushing off the ground?
  • Are you landing under your hips?
  • Are you shortening your stride length on downhills and uphills?
  • Are your toes and knees pointing straight forward?
  • Are your elbows going back and forth on a straight line along yours sides?
  • Are you standing tall? Check if you are not bending too much from waist and/or knees. Are your shoulders away from your neck and your neck tall too?

All the above points are about efficiency and saving energy at running. Just because you are running according to the planned pace it does not mean you are doing it efficiently. You have to check your technique and stay in the framework of efficient running, or your current technique will catch you down the track. 

Your sub-conscience mind always fears the worst and we all know fear is in our head, not outside.

Next time you do your running workout add a meditation practice into the workout. If you want some ideas have a look at this post of mine: Running, Meditation and Daydreaming and good luck.

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