Time Trial Review

Strike a Pose!


To prevent knee injuries, would you recommend the POSE running method? And if so, is it necessary to buy special ‘mid-strike’ shoes or can this running style still be practised in ‘regular heel-strike’ running shoes?

Not many athletes are familiar with the POSE running method, so let me start by explaining what it is. The POSE Method? of Running technique, in short known as POSE Running, was developed in the 70s in the former Soviet Union and is currently taught and practised all over the world. It is used by athletes of all levels and ages.

 The characteristics of this running method include:
    S-like body position with slightly bent knees.
    Lean forward from the ankles to employ gravity and work with it, not against it.
   Pulling or lifting feet up under the hip and not behind the buttocks.
    Ball of foot landing under your body (your general centre of mass).

According to Dr Nicholas Romanov, the creator of the POSE running method, and as explained in a study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal (2004), this method reduces impact and eccentric work on the knees by 50% and may also prevent knee injuries! This is due to the POSE technique’s shorter stride length and vertical oscillation (up and down movement during running) of the sacrum and heel in comparison with normal heel-toe running.

However, in contrast with the above findings, there was a higher impact and eccentric muscle work at the ankle in the POSE method compared with heel-toe running which may well lead to ankle injuries. But, there are no clinical controlled trials to date showing that the POSE running method may be associated with, or have a role in the treatment and rehabilitation of the different types and frequencies of running injuries.

To get back to your question on which type of shoes to run with when using the POSE technique, I would recommend a neutral running shoe with good cushioning for the forefoot. Most running shops will stock these. Dr Romanov recommends wearing lightweight shoes with thinner soles. I would like to emphasize that if you pronate, a neutral shoe will not give your foot enough support and may lead to injuries. For further information on the types of running shoes available to complement the POSE method, visit www.posetech.com.

Modern Athlete Expert
Sport physiotherapist with private sport and orthopaedic practices in Elarduspark and Faerie Glen, Pretoria. Member of AS Eagles Running Club, sub-45min 10km runner.

Help! I’m Not Improving!
I have run a total of seven 10km races this year. My PB is 44min. Since then it seems as if I have regressed! Lately I am running slower and am floating between 49min and 55min for a 10km race. Is there any way I can keep running faster or at least maintain the sub-45min I used to finish races in? I train four times a week; I do steps and run about three 6km distances a week. I also go to the gym where I train my shoulders, quads, calves, etc.

Well done on your 44 minute PB. It’s a good time and I’m glad that you want to get back there. To do this, you will have to tweak your training a little. I would suggest you turn your step session into a running session. You would then be running four times a week and your programme would look like this:

SESSION 1:  6km  (Easy)
SESSION 2:  6km  (Speedwork)
SESSION 3:  10km  (Easy)
SESSION 4:  6km  (Tempo run)

Your speedwork session should alternate between:
Fartlek running: Warm up for 2km followed by running 2min intervals. Do seven in total and end with a fast interval at about 4min/km i.e. four fast intervals in total with your three slower intervals at about 4:40min/km. You will cover about 3km. End off with a 1km cool down.
Circuits: Pick a  +/- 2km fast i.e. flat or slightly downhill circuit. The route must be circular. Mark the 1.5km point from the start. Run a 1km warm up and then do two circuits, running very hard to the 1.5km point and jogging slowly back to the start. Finish with a 1km cool down.

Your tempo run should be a 2km warm up followed by 4km at just under
5min/km pace.

Good luck and let me know when you reach that 44min milestone!

Modern Athlete Expert
Running coach with 33 years’ experience and has run 37 consecutive Comrades Marathons. His PBs include 1:17:21 (21km), 2:39:30 (42km) and 6:29:22 (Comrades).