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Brian Stone
03-09-2009, 12:31 PM
When searching for information on POSE running technique, I came across this info today.

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/10/pose-running-reduces-running-economythe.html

Which references this study

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=16195026&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum


In this study, we examined the consequences of a global alteration in running technique on running kinematics and running economy in triathletes. Sixteen sub-elite triathletes were pre and post tested for running economy and running kinematics at 215 and 250 m.min-1. The members of the treatment group (n=8) were exposed to 12 weeks of instruction in the "pose method" of running, while the members of the control group (n=8) maintained their usual running technique. After the treatment period, the experimental group demonstrated a significant decrease in mean stride length (from 137.25+/-7.63 cm to 129.19+/-7.43 cm; P<0.05), a post-treatment difference in vertical oscillation compared with the control group (6.92+/-1.00 vs. 8.44+/-1.00 cm; P<0.05) and a mean increase in submaximal absolute oxygen cost (from 3.28+/-0.36 l.min-1 to 3.53+/-0.43 l.min-1; P<0.01). The control group exhibited no significant changes in either running kinematics or oxygen cost. The global change in running mechanics associated with 12 weeks of instruction in the pose method resulted in a decrease in stride length, a reduced vertical oscillation in comparison with the control group and a decrease of running economy in triathletes.


The loss of efficiency isn't as big a concern of mine here as issues with ankles / calves, which are mentioned in the first source (which is not a journal or peer-reviewed article itself).

My understanding prior to seeing this was that POSE was generally understood to be a superior running technique, although I found it odd that it would be so out of synch with what the body naturally falls into, as the body is usually prejudiced toward efficient movement (admittedly, this is not always true for various reasons; not wanting to belabor that here).

My own conclusion would first be that when you are moving away from a pattern where you are pounding onto your legs and muscling yourself forward, of course you are going to lose spring. However, if elite LSD runners use the natural technique with success and have since before the invention of POSE, this calls into question the idea that conventional running causing your legs to have to muscle you forward. I'm also skeptical about greater skeletal impact from conventional vs. POSE running.

Any other experiences with POSE vs. conventional running? I might be better served asking in an Endurance community, but not sure what kind of exposure you all have had.

Thoughts?

Donald Lee
03-09-2009, 01:22 PM
This was from one of the comments on one of the Sports Scientists' blog entries:

I just came across this discussion of Pose running and reference to the study I did on that topic and published in 2005. Let me make a few points in that regard.

The majority of the subjects were very experienced runners with only a few exceptions. They were pre-screened for an existing heel striking pattern as well. The Pose Method group clearly became less economical during the training period, however 7 of 8 also anecdotally reported improved running performances (races, training splits , etc) during the learning period. This was intriguing to us and so we did a little follow-up likert scale survey after the study which confirmed those observations - not publishable science as we had not planned on doing so in the original investigation design. Those results were distributed to the USA Triathlon certified coaching group in a coaching report at the time. Most treatment subjects also experienced some degree of calf soreness in the first few weeks which resolved in most cases by the 3rd-4th week. One athlete clearly struggled with the technique and had additional physical problems - interestingly enough he was also a marginal attendee at the practice sessions. 7 of 8 treatment subjects showed worse economy, however the least experienced athlete in the group improved. The follow-up surveys with the treatment group also suggested that some injuries had resolved with the technique change (in particular two cases of plantar fasciitis of long duration) and that 7 of 8 would continue using the new method in spite of the conflicting economy data. Finally one should consider that we tested the athletes on treadmills . After long term analysis I feel like the pose method effectiveness overland is negated to some degree in treadmill running because the moving belt makes it more energy efficient to stay on support longer. An early treadmill based economy study from the Cavanaugh group actually showed the most economical runners to be heel strikers on the treadmill. Finally I think we have to remember that large scale motor skill changes in highly "trained" individuals clearly take years versus days, weeks or months to become the dominant motor pattern. This might imply that large scale changes also introduce worsened economy even as they enhance mechanics and external work capacity in the short run. In my own experience it took several years to make this technique "automatic" meaning I did not have to think about it to produce it. In retrospect we should have included a performance trial and used overland economy analysis.

Finally I will point out that Graham Fletcher,a member of our research team, has since produced and replicated a relatively simple study illustrating the beneficial effect of pose method technique change on running peformance. Basically they show that a week of pose method training improves 1.5 mile run time in experienced runners using a two group design. As his dissertation work the data is not yet in publication but will be eventually.

For my own purposes I have found that the change in technique can be created more quickly by using barefoot running in small amounts combined with regular use of the key pose method drills. Barefoot or minimalist shoe running appears to create a condition whereby the technique occurs without much need for conscious regulation - I believe because it actually represents the way we have evolved and become hard wired to run over the span of human evolution.

George Dallam

Garrett Smith
03-09-2009, 03:01 PM
That last paragraph is hugely important.

Running barefoot is free and teaches exactly the right habits. POSE running is an attempt to re-create the instinctual barefoot running patterns while wearing shoes.

A little knowledge about POSE plus some Vibrams goes a really long way, IMO.

Brian Stone
03-09-2009, 03:37 PM
I did a 5k today (treadmill) and did heel stroke, though I did some barefoot practice beforehand. My knee (which has had nagging issues for years now) always bothers me after running, which is what mainly spurred my interested in POSE. I don't have the ankle and calf strength, or close to technique, to pull of a 5k POSE right now, though.

The barefoot advice is great - I'll take that to heart. I'm going to try to shoot for about 5 mins of barefoot POSE work on my treadmill and work up from there to see where it gets me. I've studied some video and hope to at least emulate that with some semblance of competence.

Patrick Donnelly
03-09-2009, 05:25 PM
Could you please define "running economy?" What's it measured in? Economies per minute?

I get the feeling the study is referring to the absolute oxygen consumption, but that doesn't really measure the efficiency, since the muscle recruitment changes so dramatically.

Garrett Smith
03-09-2009, 05:50 PM
Patrick, I believe they are saying that a reduced running economy is a higher submaximal oxygen consumption at the same running speed. From the above, cut-and-pasted:
a mean increase in submaximal absolute oxygen cost (from 3.28+/-0.36 l.min-1 to 3.53+/-0.43 l.min-1; P<0.01) ... at 215 and 250 m.min-1
The most telling parts are these, at least to me, from the researcher's review of his own study in the second part:
The majority of the subjects were very experienced runners with only a few exceptions. They were pre-screened for an existing heel striking pattern as well. The Pose Method group clearly became less economical during the training period, however 7 of 8 also anecdotally reported improved running performances (races, training splits , etc) during the learning period. This was intriguing to us and so we did a little follow-up likert scale survey after the study which confirmed those observations - not publishable science as we had not planned on doing so in the original investigation design. Those results were distributed to the USA Triathlon certified coaching group in a coaching report at the time. Most treatment subjects also experienced some degree of calf soreness in the first few weeks which resolved in most cases by the 3rd-4th week. One athlete clearly struggled with the technique and had additional physical problems - interestingly enough he was also a marginal attendee at the practice sessions. 7 of 8 treatment subjects showed worse economy, however the least experienced athlete in the group improved. The follow-up surveys with the treatment group also suggested that some injuries had resolved with the technique change (in particular two cases of plantar fasciitis of long duration) and that 7 of 8 would continue using the new method in spite of the conflicting economy data. Finally one should consider that we tested the athletes on treadmills . After long term analysis I feel like the pose method effectiveness overland is negated to some degree in treadmill running because the moving belt makes it more energy efficient to stay on support longer. An early treadmill based economy study from the Cavanaugh group actually showed the most economical runners to be heel strikers on the treadmill. Finally I think we have to remember that large scale motor skill changes in highly "trained" individuals clearly take years versus days, weeks or months to become the dominant motor pattern. This might imply that large scale changes also introduce worsened economy even as they enhance mechanics and external work capacity in the short run. In my own experience it took several years to make this technique "automatic" meaning I did not have to think about it to produce it. In retrospect we should have included a performance trial and used overland economy analysis.
He basically is saying that his study was worthless in trying to evaluate actual benefits to health or performance--and the athletes self-evaluations showed a strikingly different conclusion than a cursory review of the study abstract would show.

Steven Low
03-09-2009, 06:16 PM
Running economy is basically minimizing the amount of energy it takes to go a certain distance.... running large distances is a function of how much oxidative energy (aka "aerobic" energy) is being used which can be directly measured by O2 usage.

I personally always thought it was VERY obvious that switching "elite" or "sub-elite" athletes who have been running for YEARS with heel strike would result in increased running economy. I mean, you're drastically changing a movement pattern. But it's interesting that most people FELT better with better running technique AND often did better. This should tell you something.

With enough running with better movement patterns, running economy will drop as well.

Mike ODonnell
03-09-2009, 06:38 PM
Anyone can come to my running seminar....for only $1000...I take your shoes off and send you running....you'll figure it out after that.

George Mounce
03-09-2009, 06:41 PM
Running economy is basically minimizing the amount of energy it takes to go a certain distance.... running large distances is a function of how much oxidative energy (aka "aerobic" energy) is being used which can be directly measured by O2 usage.

I personally always thought it was VERY obvious that switching "elite" or "sub-elite" athletes who have been running for YEARS with heel strike would result in increased running economy. I mean, you're drastically changing a movement pattern. But it's interesting that most people FELT better with better running technique AND often did better. This should tell you something.

With enough running with better movement patterns, running economy will drop as well.

I'm confused...its it more economical to do more, with less? Therefore doesn't economy improve? If you run faster, using less oxygen than before, aren't you being more economical?

Steven you've said they had increased economy but then decreased. I believe based on the use of the word economy...its the other way around. They had decreased economy, but then later an increase in economy - in both motion and oxygen usage. The real term we should strive for is efficiency.

Steven Low
03-09-2009, 07:40 PM
I'm confused...its it more economical to do more, with less? Therefore doesn't economy improve? If you run faster, using less oxygen than before, aren't you being more economical?

Steven you've said they had increased economy but then decreased. I believe based on the use of the word economy...its the other way around. They had decreased economy, but then later an increase in economy - in both motion and oxygen usage. The real term we should strive for is efficiency.
Oh whoops.

Whatever the case, O2 consumption increased which means that the efficiency there decreased (or decreased running economy).

But as I stated I don't think that matters as long as performance improves & you feel better + less injuries.

Patrick Donnelly
03-09-2009, 07:44 PM
Garrett, I have no doubt in my mind that a forefoot strike is the best way to run. I simply wonder what the reasoning was behind defining "running economy" as oxygen consumption. I can see that burning more oxygen means you're burning more calories, but if you're also using more muscles, then that could help slow the occurrence of fatigue/cramps in specific muscle groups. That would permit you to run for a longer time, therefore making it more effective, at least in one sense, even if more calories are burned.

I wonder how much of the increased oxygen consumption came from the calves alone. In heel-toe, the calves don't play any substantial role, since the impact is all absorbed by the minimal elasticity of the cartilage in your joints (a bad idea, but that's what happens). With a forefoot strike, all of that force absorption is immediately assumed by the calves. Muscles absorbing force takes energy (and therefore oxygen); joints absorbing force just causes pain. Is 0.25 L/min a huge difference? Just thinking.

George Mounce
03-09-2009, 08:03 PM
But as I stated I don't think that matters as long as performance improves & you feel better + less injuries.

I wholeheartedly agree! :)

Donald Lee
03-09-2009, 08:13 PM
I'm not sure if the researcher stated it in his comment, but I remember reading way back when I read about all this stuff, that they never measured the progress throughout the trial period. They merely took measurements in the beginning and at the end. This doesn't really give a clear picture of what happened.

Brian Stone
03-10-2009, 04:40 AM
Fair enough - I'm sold. I just wanted to look into the viability of POSE before I committed the time and effort to learning a new technique. Great discussion to all involved.

Brian Stone
03-10-2009, 04:46 AM
Garrett, I have no doubt in my mind that a forefoot strike is the best way to run. I simply wonder what the reasoning was behind defining "running economy" as oxygen consumption. I can see that burning more oxygen means you're burning more calories, but if you're also using more muscles, then that could help slow the occurrence of fatigue/cramps in specific muscle groups. That would permit you to run for a longer time, therefore making it more effective, at least in one sense, even if more calories are burned.

I wonder how much of the increased oxygen consumption came from the calves alone. In heel-toe, the calves don't play any substantial role, since the impact is all absorbed by the minimal elasticity of the cartilage in your joints (a bad idea, but that's what happens). With a forefoot strike, all of that force absorption is immediately assumed by the calves. Muscles absorbing force takes energy (and therefore oxygen); joints absorbing force just causes pain. Is 0.25 L/min a huge difference? Just thinking.

The original article I cited did mention that the stress in POSE that you normally find on the knees was transferred to the ankles, so POSE does not necessarily introduce the relative absence of joint stress, only shifts it. Or so the original source claims.

Edit to add citation:


Trying to make radical, wholesale changes to running technique is probably not the optimal way to go, for it simply transfers the point of loading on the skeleton to another area. Specifically, the research study discussed in Part III of the series (a study we were both involved in at UCT) found that 2 weeks of training caused the loading on the knee to be reduced, but the loading on the ankle increased.


It's not entirely clear from that description, but the increased loading may only be mainly due to inexperience with the movement.

Garrett Smith
03-10-2009, 07:14 AM
Patrick,
Heel strike running does put lots of stress on the calves [EDIT - I meant lower leg]--the anterior tibialis decelerating the "foot slap"--that's what leads to shin splints in those runners so often.

I also think that measuring oxygen consumption was a relatively poor way of measuring running economy (efficiency). The best distance runners (or endurance anything athletes) don't necessarily have the highest VO2max, and I'm not sure that oxygen consumption necessarily gives a good impression of perceived exertion or actual work output (it would seem to be quite an assumption).

Garrett Smith
03-10-2009, 07:17 AM
Brian,
I do think the calf/ankle complex is likely better suited to take the force of running by design.

Note the lack of ankle replacements these days (like they even could), compared to the excess of knee replacements. I hardly see any ankle arthritis, while I see a ton of knee arthritis. I'd say that knees are wearing out prematurely compared to ankles, possibly showing that the knees are being "used" incorrectly...

Brad Collins
03-10-2009, 10:00 AM
I have no idea about the science behind it all, but I know since switching to Pose I have no hip or knee problems when I run anymore. I weigh 245 so I took a pounding running with a heel strike. The only thing I've had to adjust to is the amount of work my calves now do, and the accompanying soreness after a run. But that has diminished as I've gotten more work in as well. Overall, I don't think I'm any faster yet using Pose, but I know my body feels better. That's all I care about.

Garrett Smith
03-10-2009, 12:09 PM
I said calves, I should have said "lower leg". My bad, corrected above.

Craig Loizides
03-11-2009, 10:10 AM
Running economy is the energy cost associated with running at a particular speed. It's usually given in O2/min or O2/mile. Running efficiency is often used interchangeably and is usually given in O2/kg/min.

George, I agree completely that it would make more sense to invert it and use mile/O2. For instance with cars we talk about miles per gallon. Then again, runners like to talk about their pace in min/mile rather than their speed in miles/hour. Oh well.

Here are a couple interesting articles on running economy.
http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0950.htm
http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0642.htm

If you do a search on pponline for running economy you can find some more.

Garrett, I have no doubt in my mind that a forefoot strike is the best way to run. I simply wonder what the reasoning was behind defining "running economy" as oxygen consumption. I can see that burning more oxygen means you're burning more calories, but if you're also using more muscles, then that could help slow the occurrence of fatigue/cramps in specific muscle groups. That would permit you to run for a longer time, therefore making it more effective, at least in one sense, even if more calories are burned.

I wonder how much of the increased oxygen consumption came from the calves alone. In heel-toe, the calves don't play any substantial role, since the impact is all absorbed by the minimal elasticity of the cartilage in your joints (a bad idea, but that's what happens). With a forefoot strike, all of that force absorption is immediately assumed by the calves. Muscles absorbing force takes energy (and therefore oxygen); joints absorbing force just causes pain. Is 0.25 L/min a huge difference? Just thinking.

This would have to mean that VO2max is increased by pose running. I don't think this has ever been shown. Pose has claimed though that their running style is more efficient.


I also think that measuring oxygen consumption was a relatively poor way of measuring running economy (efficiency). The best distance runners (or endurance anything athletes) don't necessarily have the highest VO2max, and I'm not sure that oxygen consumption necessarily gives a good impression of perceived exertion or actual work output (it would seem to be quite an assumption).

Oxygen use is a pretty good indicator for energy use for aerobic work. There's generally a direct correlation between running economy and performance. A 1% improvement in economy will lead to roughly a 1% improvement in performance. It's true that VO2max isn't the best indicator of performance. A better metric would be something like lactate threshold velocity (LTV), the speed at which large amounts of lactate begin to accumulate. VO2max tells how much work you are capable of performing. Lactate threshold is the maintainable rate of energy usage. For an elite distance runner it might 85-90% of VO2max compared to 60-70% for a recreational runner. Efficiency determines the speed you can achieve at that oxygen rate.

General thoughts:
The comments in the original link are excellent and definitely worth reading. This is my favorite.

P.S. I think that the biggest problem that Romanov might have is that Pose isn't all that different from a good Ball-Striking style. He points out how he found a group of high-level African runners, who he believed were running Pose (without having learned it). He showed them videos of Pose runners and analysed them against videos of the Africans. The Africans saw little or no similarity in their running styles. Second, many coaches advocate a high stride rate (at or above 180), and many champions (short, mid, & long distance incl. marathon) have stride rates that are above 200. Third, many coaches advocate ball-striking for faster, more efficient running. Fourth, anyone with a rudimentary understanding of Physics can see that landing significantly in front of the center of gravity is going to introduce braking action (i.e. inefficiency). Heel landing indisputably has more of this--that's just basic physics. The interesting question here is whether Pose is better than other ball-strike methods. The only thing that Romanov has going is a relatively simple (3 elements) method to get you to do these things."


In walking, the heel hits the ground in front of the center of mass. Does that mean we apply a huge braking force while walking? Did we evolve so that our primary means of movement is inefficient? The first link I listed above shows that walking is more efficient than running. The second link talks about how the Kikuyu women are able to avoid applying a braking force while walking. I find that keeping the feet dorsiflexed while walking or running seems to help eliminate braking force, increase energy return, and eliminates over extension of the ankle and knee. Give it a try with walking.

We squat through our heels. It doesn't mean we keep our toes off the ground while squatting. Running on the balls of your feet doesn't necessarily mean you have to keep the heels off the ground.

Running to me seems to be (like most functional movements) just an explosive opening of the hip. Actually I think you could probably argue that running was the driving force behind the evolution of powerful opening of the hip.

The idea of pulling and falling with you leg under your center of mass never really made sense to me. It's kind of like saying that you row by putting the oar in the water and pulling it straight out.

While the foot is on the ground it's moving backwards relative to your center of mass at the same speed that you are moving forward. Once it comes off the ground, momentum will cause it to continue moving back and up. Once it is back, gravity will cause it to swing forward like a pendulum setting it up in position for the next explosive opening of the hip. At least that's how I envision it. Running is a pull, but pulling isn't necessary to get the foot off the ground.