Everyone should just "run naturally," right?
Many websites will debate running form and the benefits of learning how to run. Everyone knows how to run, right? Shouldn't we all just "run naturally?" Based on Chris Schapman's personal experience, learning how to run has benefits.
Interestingly, running could be the one sport that is not considered a skill. Just run. Just do it. Baseball, on the other hand, has specific drills for batting, pitching, fielding, etc. that are then put into action during a game.
The Pose Method is not a way to run, but a way of teaching running technique. Running has specific drills that are then put into action during a run.
Staying injury free and running efficiently will ultimately allow you to run faster and farther. Your body will be able to support the increased training demands without breaking down.
Are there benefits to learning how to run? (Does running PRs as you age count? Does having pain-free knees count?)
So let's look at Chris as an example. He's been "running naturally" since high school when he joined the cross country team the second day of his junior year (he needed a reason to drive to school and cross country gave him that excuse daily). That first day, the coach just said to "run for 15 minutes." Easy enough. He had running shoes on. He was even able to do a little air boxing (Rocky style) while jogging around the cross country course. Hey, this is fun!
Notice the coach spent no time with him on how to run. Had this been baseball or football, the athlete more than likely would have been thrown in a small group to work on a specific skill first.
Chris grew to love running.
He wasn't terribly fast (last place at the a state cross country meet), but he enjoyed running...for the most part. He did not enjoy the typical injury cycle. Build mileage. Develop an injury (knee pain, IT band, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, stress fractures, etc.). Take time off. Recover. Start over.
The cycle is painful and frustrating. He tried cross training to "save his knees" from the damage his "natural form" was causing. He tried big, anti-pronation shoes. He tried insoles. He tried insoles in big, anti-pronation shoes. And when the padding in the heels of the shoes broke down, he'd have to shell out another $200+ for shoes and insoles.
Chris stopped running.
Fast forward to 2011. Chris started running again. He tries barefoot running. After 6 weeks in a boot with a stress fracture, he tries running again. The cross training continues until Chris discovers by Brian Mackenzie, which discusses this "pose" running by a guy from Russia.
...so you "pull" with the hamstring? You don't "push" off the ground?
...so you use gravity to pull you down, which really makes you go forward?
He tries it. It's absolutely brilliant!!! The people on the bike trail think he's nuts for how happy he is running that day.
Like any change, things take time. But the Pose Method gave Chris a secret weapon that a pill or fancy pair of compress shorts won't give a runner. He was able to stay competitive, run injury free, and realize the following benefits:
- Run consistently.
- Enjoy running again.
- Push the pace more during runs.
- Run more miles than he ever did in high school or college.
- Run multiple marathon+ distance training runs while building up to the Spartan Race Lake Tahoe Ultra Beast (30+ mile obstacle race) in 2016. He finished 4th.
- Replace cross training activities with running, because that's what he wanted to be doing all along.
- Not fear running on roads and other hard surfaces.
- Consistently finish in the top 5 at trail and obstacle course races.
If running faster, farther, and injury free is interesting to you, consider signing up for a clinic so you can also improve your running technique. Enjoy running.