Strike a pose – my foray into Pose Running

A couple months ago I told you guys I was working on changing my running gait. I never thought it would be easy, but I can confirm it really isn’t natural or easy.

I basically gave up for fear I was going to injure myself. Then I realized there are things I can do to slowly help me get there rather than just trying to do it without much knowledge, getting frustrated, and quitting!

The first thing I did was switch from shoes with a 12mm drop to shoes with a 4mm drop. Basically, that means the difference between the heel and forefoot of the shoes is 4mm (the heel sits 4mm above the forefoot).

Contrary to what some people think, this won’t automatically turn you from a heel striker into something else. But I believe it will help me as I go through the process.

Secondly, Kelly and I attended a Pose Running clinic a couple weeks ago. It was only a couple hours and just a brief introduction to the technique.

The Pose running technique is designed to prevent unnecessary strain on the joints by landing midfoot and using hamstring muscles to lift the foot from the ground, propelling the runner forward. (It’s not simply landing on your mid or fore foot.)

We started right in by doing some drills I hope to incorporate into my training. I understood the drills and was able to properly complete them after a few adjustments. They started from very simple (like standing with your foot in proper line) to partner drills were you essentially Pose run in place.

At the end we took some time to go from drills to running short distances. It fell apart quite quickly for me! Then, I’d go back and do some drills and it would feel better the next time.

It was the last thing I felt like doing on a blustery winter day, but I’m so glad we made the trek so I can start somewhere.

From what I’ve read, a lot of people struggle when they go from drills to actual running. The clinic coach suggested practicing drills a lot before starting off slowly with running. Incorporate sections of Pose running into your run- maybe a few lampposts- and slowly increase to a few blocks.

I have a LONG way to go. And honestly, I’m not sure how it’s going to work right now. I find running outside in winter takes certain concentration already and footing can be a struggle to begin with. Then I’ll (hopefully) be upping my mileage for our two summer races.

I know it’s something I have to try, as I hope it’s one key to injury prevention.

If you’re interested in learning more about Pose check out these resources:

How do you prevent injury? Technique, strength training, foam rolling? 

39 responses to “Strike a pose – my foray into Pose Running

  1. This is really interesting and I hope it goes well for you! I just let my natural rhythm control my technique, and I’ve never tried to force anything else. It has worked well enough for me and I’ve never had any serious running-related injury- but I’m curious to see how this works for you! I did just buy a foam roller today though 🙂

  2. I’m still working on how to prevent injury. I’m hoping to sign up for some coaching soon, whenever I can fit it into my hectic schedule!!

  3. It will be great to see how this works out for you. I need to do something that’s easier on my joints for sure. It is really hard to incorporate anything extra when running on the snow and ice, I agree. It is all I can do to stay upright.

  4. Very cool that you are giving it a go! It does takes lots and lots of patience and concentration. I always find that it helps to work on one element at a time. So one run I’ll think about quick turnover, for instance, and the next, my arm swing. Anyhow, good luck with it–I hope you like it!

  5. This summer I did exactly the same thing, shoes and all. The first mistake I made was to try and make this change in one long run and put myself out of commission for almost 2 weeks with some pretty serious calf strains – not good. It most definitely takes time and lots of practice. After about 4 months I’ve found that I know run naturally with a forefoot strike and have improved my form, distance, and speed right along with it. What I’ve found is just as important as your foot strike itself is where your foot lands. I was way to far out in front and slowing myself down. I looked at pose and also chi running

    • Yes- that’s a great point about where the foot lands. Mine lands way too far out front.
      I’m impressed with all the changes and improvements you’ve made over the last few months!

  6. Good luck! I’m one year in pose running now, and my advice would be: take your time, do not try to progress quickly but never give up!

  7. It is unbelievably hard to change your gait – really proud of you. Never heard of these clinics, but how brilliant!! After visiting the Pose website, I realize I most likely run poorly;/ Always room for improvement.

    Hope packing for your big trip is going well!

  8. It will be interesting to see how to go! I think just starting slow will be the key… Good luck!

    I use a foam roller everyday. I get massages regularly. I stretch after every workout. I have just started strength training again.

  9. I’m glad you posted about this. I took a Chi running clinic about 2 years ago and have slowly been able to transition to a mid-foot strike from being a long time heel striker. I think it has definitely helped overall, although I’m a little injured right now, so I guess I’m a bad example!

  10. Great post. I actually read an article a year or two ago regarding the big barefoot race in NYC. They set up cameras at several points, and analysed the striking of all the runners. Many, many of them, even barefoot, still did a heel strike. So you are right, it takes a ton more work than simply buying some shoes. Good marketing on the part of Vibrams though! =)

  11. Thanks for sharing! I have gone through the shoe change as well. Initially it was great, now I see that sometimes I go back to heel striking and all those other indicators of slacking during a run. Nevertheless, the strength I have already gotten and the fact that I run in these way more minimal shoes exclusively is a big pro for my running. I`d love to learn more about pose, but I think I`m scared of the process of completely learning a new stride with the drills and everything.

  12. I just read an article that was saying how it might not be bad to heel strike. It seems like it’s one of those things that you never really know what is good and what is bad!!

    For injury prevention I rely on strength training and yoga, with some stretching post run , but not nearly as much as I should be doing. I also foam roll every once in an while, but again, not as much as I should!

  13. I still think this is amazing you are doing the gait switch up. Anytime I am running and I try to switch things up, it lasts for maybe 3 minutes and I am right back to my comfortable running gait. I continue to read the benefits of different landing styles, but it’s hard to switch! Great job!

  14. This is exciting! I’ve been changing my running gait as well, with the help of my PT. The two things that helped me (other than drills) were running with a metronome to keep my cadence up, and slowly introducing the new gait. I basically started with running with a forefoot strike every other minute for a 20 minute run. I was injured at the time, so it wasn’t super frustrating trying to learn, but I could imagine that it would be frustrating trying to learn a new technique when your legs are healthy and strong!

  15. Wow, this sounds so ambitious! I have been blessed with very few injuries with my runs so do nothing to change the way I run. That said, I’m not very competitive and out there for fun so I’m sure a few tweaks might help increase my pace/make me a little more competitive.

  16. I haven’t heard of doing this–fascinating! Slow and steady makes sense, though.

  17. runnerbydefault

    Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying to help yourself be injury free! That is great that you have a partner in crime to work on your runs with. I should probably do more but all I do is lace up and run. I keep thinking about getting a foam roller but it hasn’t happened yet.

    • It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but if it’ll help keep injuries at bay, I’m in!
      I would highly recommend a foam roller. They can be torture devices, but it’s the good kind of torture!

  18. I”m so with you! it’s hard to change your stride. What shoes did you get? Newtons?

    • I didn’t go for the Newtons. I ended up getting a pair of Brooks Pure Cadence. My husband now runs in Newtons, and although I love the colours, I didn’t think they were right for me.
      Do you always stick with one brand, or do you use a variety?

  19. I have all the faith in you that you can do it !! I have a really hard time running when its winter and snow outside here in Sweden! I cant wait ’til the snow disappears and I can hit some trails 🙂

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