Training: Remedy for Fatigue When Running

“What do I do when I get tired when running?” This question came up and it reflected a very interesting mind-set regarding performance from coaches and athletes. Indeed, what can we do when fatigue emerges when we run? Do we have some options in how to deal with fatigue? Obviously not many options exist, nevertheless many coaches and athletes “hope” that there are some magic tricks to go around. Some choose to gamble by using something yet unknown to science.

Is it a question “what do I do?” when a tennis player, swimmer or any other athlete in any other sport get tired during their performance? Do they ask to stop the game or exit the race for a moment to get some rest? Not at all, no one has that kind of luxury, because this is the essence of sport – to find out who can overcome the most obstacles, including fatigue, in order to win.

Then, what can we do when we get tired when running? The answer is as simple as it is complicated.

First the complicated part. It comes from the complex nature of fatigue, which is never just physical fatigue, but has mechanical, anatomo-physiological, psycho-emotional, mental, and spiritual parts. Which one of these states is more “tired” is very difficult to identify, but there is something known from our experience and science about the relations between these parts and their influence on each other.

 

Psycho-emotional aspect of fatigue appears much sooner, long before real energy exhaustion in the physiological component of fatigue steps in.

 

Generally, from science and experience it is well-known that the psycho-emotional aspect of fatigue appears much sooner, long before real energy exhaustion in the physiological component of fatigue steps in. Our psychology reacts in advance trying to “prevent” the danger of growing fatigue and to convince our mind to stop the performance. Therefore the brain receives lots of signals of fatigue in the form of burning sensations, pain, and reduced strength of muscles.

Focus on the Action

How do we deal with this psycho-emotional component of fatigue? Simple, our mind has to (and I am emphasizing this) stick to the action. In different sports it’s a different thing, but the meaning remains the same. Action is something that allows us to continue our performance. In running, from the Pose Method concept point-of-view, it is the action of pulling the foot from the ground. Do we have any other option, or some trick to continue our performance? The answer is, clearly, no.

 

Action is something that allows us to continue our performance.

 

Our ‘business’ is to keep our mind from exerting a discouraging influence of our negative emotions connected to the signs of growing fatigue. We must remain focused on the action of pulling so we don’t have the opportunity to dwell on what feels like danger to our life, and prevent our mind from recruiting defensive mechanism of the body to shut down our performance. Our mind is supposed to stay focused on the action no matter what is going on in our perception. In the Pose Method of running the only action to stick with is the action of pulling the foot from the ground while you are falling forward from the Pose.

This and only this focus of your mind will allow you to avoid unnecessary energy expenditure and keep utilizing it into your running no matter how fast and long you run. It is the essence of training and racing performance.

 

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Technique: How to Run on Ice or Any Slippery Surface

Ice is a demanding surface and most people feel and move awkward on it. Even athletes that seem to be adept at the most complicated of moves often find themselves struggling to stay on their feet to say nothing of walking or even running on ice.

Ability to run on ice (or any slippery surface) without the help of any ice traction devices has a certain irony to it. It unequivocally extinguishes all debate on running technique and effortlessly removes all thought up forms and variations of technique and leaves Pose Running as the only viable option.

Push off? Paw back? Extended stride length? That and other ideas, all propel themselves not forward but out of the window.

Running on ice leaves zero room for creative interpretation of what running is, or how to run. It doesn’t not allow anyone any false efforts for any reason. You can’t go easy or go too hard, the effort has to be just right. Sounds militaristic? No, it is simply pure, and in that it demands the same from the runner.

A while ago, an editor in chief of a rather big publication said: “If Pose Method works than Romanov should be able to run on ice”. Presenting Dr. Romanov running on ice at a skating rink. Keeping a few key things in mind – you can do it too.

How To Run on Ice

It is a good idea to be familiar with the Pose Method of Running before trying out these tips but you should be able to utilize these regardless. Perception becomes even more important when running on ice. It is a good idea to spend as much time and effort on improving your perception as you can.

  • Land under – precision, precision, precision. Land a bit ahead and you slip, land a bit to the side or a bit back and you slip. Your body and its weight will have to be right on top and aligned with the ball of your foot in the running pose.
  • Keep you running pose – your goal is to maintain your running pose. Focus on nothing else.
  • Move quicker – When you’re moving on ice everything becomes faster, more intense, condensed, if you will, and requires more focus. If you would like to keep on moving without slipping then you will have to operate within a much narrower space-time frame than normal.
  • Pull faster – Pulling your feet up with your hamstrings in a piston-like motion (up-down, up-down) will be even more crucial than when running on any other surface. Runners often think that pulling involves a prolonged effort to bring the foot up as high as possible, but in reality, and especially when running on ice, pulling action is more of a burst and the foot will come up on it’s own as high as your speed dictates, and will follow the effortless predetermined trajectory before dropping down again. All you must do is focus on a quick burst of a pull. This is where your utmost effort will be required, but to avoid injury, focus on the quickness of pulling not the effort.
  • Keep the rhythm – Timing and synchronization will also be essential. On ice you don’t have an opportunity to take long luxurious strides at your leisure. It’s all or nothing. You either get with the program and tap-tap-tap or you’re down.
  • Stay light on your feet – This basically sums it up. To stay light you will need to move across the icy surface according to everything outlined above. You will find just the right amount of muscle tension and will figure out how to stay relaxed over time. The right and slight angle of falling will reveal itself with practice

Chances are, nobody will attempt to run an ultra on ice, not even a mile. It is too intense. But it is possible to run on ice and is satisfying to know that you can do it. And as a tool of improving your running technique – running on ice is priceless. It will reveal all flaws and confirm all strengths and show progress. Have fun experimenting!

 

About the Author

Lana Romanov is a Director of Certification and Continuing Education at Pose Method, Inc. Having studied and worked at the company since 2001, Lana develops and maintains the continuing education program for health + fitness professionals. She also writes short articles and assists with research efforts.

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Theory & Practice: What Is Overstriding in Running?

Overstriding is a very simple thing, but it is still veiled in the cloud of confusion for one simple reason – it is impossible to identify and/or define something when you operate without a clear standard.

When you are told that you’re overdoing something (and that’s what overstriding essentially means) the question arises: how did you come to a conclusion that I’m overdoing something? I think I’m just doing it. What makes you say I’m OVERdoing it? Is my ‘doing’ different from your ‘doing’? Who is to say that my ‘doing’ isn’t better than yours? Maybe what I’m doing is IT and you’re underdoing whatever it is you’re doing.

This can go on indefinitely because in that conversation we operate with opinions which are usually far from a standard and while we are all entitled to our opinions and points of view, this physical world operates by and with a set of natural laws. These laws are a part of the foundation of the conceptual model that is known as the Pose Method. But first, let’s look at the word ‘overstriding’ itself.

The Term

Over  / oh-ver/

  1. above, beyond, in excess

Stride/ straɪd/

  1. a long step or pace
  2. the space measured by such a step
  3. a striding gait
  4. an act of forward movement, completed when the legs have returned to their initial relative positions

overstride / oh-ver-strahyd /

  1. to surpass
  2. to tower over; dominate
  3. to stride or step over or across

The simple definition of the words that are used to create this term makes it clear as to what the word means and why it was chosen. Or does it? What does the action of overstriding mean and in relation to what is it considered to be an action of excess? We need a standard to compare this action to in order to get those answers.

What is Overstriding

The Pose Method® provides us with a clear standard for running and makes identification of correct actions and errors, as well as providing definitions & terms a simpler and easier process.

When you’re told that you’re overstriding – you’re going over a point that is defined as a norm, a standard. The running stride exists between the points of support and is comprised of flight and support phases. The flight phases could be the most enjoyable part of running, but it is the support phases that provide one of the most significant contributions to movement. As we change support (as our feet land on the surface we run on) the quality of that interaction largely determines the quality of our running experience.

Through research and studies we’ve identified the best, the most efficient way to move from support to support. All a runner needs to do is maintain the running pose while falling forward. When the runner stays in the running pose he or she, by default, lands on the best part of their foot and in the most ideal position which is under their body, under their general center of mass.

This brings us to a very clear definition of overstriding – within the Pose Method of running framework, overstriding is defined as landing ahead of your body, ahead of your general center of mass.

How to Visually Identify Overstriding

At a first glance it might seem as an easy task, and it could be sometimes in the most gross cases of overstriding, which is very common among recreational runners. But once you move up the ranks of pro athletes, it takes a trained coach’s eye to spot it. However, for the sake of simplicity and to provide straightforward guidelines, let’s keep the parameters, by which overstriding can be easily identified, as basic as possible for this article.

  1. Look for the proper alignment. Look for the running pose and hip position over support. Your hips are your center, not your chest.
  2. Don’t look for the footstrike type: regardless of what part of your foot you land on – forefoot, the entire surface of your foot (often referred to as midfoot) or your heel – you can still land ahead of your body. That is why at our seminars we always emphasize that it’s a mistake to focus on how and where your foot strikes the ground. The footstrike is only the result of correct action taken prior to the footstrike occuring.

But don’t go crazy measuring the inches. While numbers could be fun, and math can provide solid support in science, out there in the field when you’re actually running, the only thing you ever have is your perception. Work on improving your perception by doing the recommended technique drills.

The importance of having a standard is unquestionable. Without a clearly defined standard in running technique there is no overstriding, there is no explanation for or ways to prevent overstriding and all we can do is wonder. Having a standard in running technique allows runners to correct their technical errors, improve their technique and actually attain measurable progress.

 

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

 

Technique: How High to Pull Your Foot Up When Running?

How high should you pull your foot up when running and with how much effort? To know the answer to this question, one has to understand the purpose of the action of pulling your foot up when running. This is where the importance of understanding the ‘why’ is highlighted again. Reading the theory and understanding it through and through is not about complicating what most of us wish was such a natural form of locomotion – running. Contrary to that common assumption and in my opinion, gaining full understanding of the subject is actually about gaining freedom. Freedom to effortlessly do what needs to be done because you know exactly what is happening, you know the rules and you can work with them at any speed on any terrain.

Required Height

To put it simply, the necessary height of the pull will sort itself out. You do not need to think about it, all you need to do is make a slight effort to pull your foot up high enough to clear the ground and so it allows for change of support because running is nothing but ‘change of support’ while falling forward. In the Pose Method of Running, the pull is the last element of the technique that allows for the most efficient transition from one foot to the other. All you need is to execute the action of pulling correctly – everything else will be done for you. Trust the natural forces.

Minimal Effort

Effortless running is achieved through biomechanically proper technique because such technique works with and uses the natural forces such as gravity. By its very definition, effortless running requires or should take less effort. So, if all we need to do is change support in order to run, then the ultimate goal is to do that action with the least possible effort. Narrowing down all required action to a single action of pulling in the Pose Method of Running gets us closer to running with less effort, and actively working just one group of muscles – the hamstrings – fits the purpose and serves it well.

You will notice that putting less intentional effort into pulling your feet up by utilizing the hamstrings only, will help you do it correctly. You will also notice that such an important thing as high cadence is easier to achieve, if you don’t strain to pull your feet all the way up.

Putting less intentional effort into pulling your feet up by utilizing the hamstrings only, will help you do it correctly.

The general rule is – you’re better off pulling your foot up less than more. If you pull too high and/or too hard you will waste energy and will tire your hamstrings and might get injured. Think about the typical injury for sprinters – pulled hamstrings. Keep in mind, that the exaggerated motion of the pull, demonstrated in the running drills, is strictly for learning purposes, to help your body learn better patterns of movement required for running.

What about other muscles? Leave them alone. All you need is to do one action – pulling your feet up with your hamstrings – to set everything in the right motion with minimal effort.

Various Speeds

When you run faster, your foot will end up higher. I say ‘end up’ because you are not supposed to be putting any effort into pulling it higher or leaving it lower. That’s too much to think about especially in sprinting where everything happens way before you can think about it. If you’re thinking about it, you are already too late.

When you run faster, your foot will end up higher.

(This is happening on its own and due to the forces already in play, Bolt is NOT PUTTING EFFORT INTO PULLING his foot up this high.)

There is no need to put any effort into forcing your foot so high. The entire trajectory of your foot will determine itself based on your speed. All you have to do is focus on maintaining your running pose.

At a slower speed your feet will be noticeably and naturally lower. When jogging, your running might resemble shuffling. Your feet will be at their lowest height of the pull.

 

Recommended:

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Theory & Practice: Do We Know How to Run?

Does the above question make any sense to anyone who is involved in running? Isn’t running a natural, simple and accessible for most people exercise for health, pleasure and competition? Is there anything wrong with this picture? By the latest statistical data, there are about 33.6 million people only in the US, including people running in some exercise program, which makes running the most popular and also the most dangerous kind of sport, because by the same statistical analysis, 2 out of 3 runners are injured every year. This statistic was first shown in the 70’s, when the running boom started, and it remains the same to this day.

So, two simple questions could be raised on this matter:

  1. Does this number of runners show that we know how to run, and I mean, actually run correctly?
  2. And, if, the answer to this question is yes, and we run correctly, why the number of injuries received in running, still remains so high, despite a much better medical service, more sophisticated running shoes, more educated coaches and athletes?

The irony of this situation lies in the fact that everybody talks about different causes of injuries, about volume and intensity of training, running surface, shoe design, body alignment, but not about how we run. So, no matter how you run, it’s ok. If you try to apply this “logic” to any other human activity such as swimming, tennis, dancing, driving a car and so on, it would sound totally strange, but not so for running…

 

 

A human organism, developed and existing in the gravity field, the greatest natural force surrounding us, should stay within a certain biomechanical framework. 

 

This paradox has a long history, which could be summarized as follows. Despite more than 100 years of scientific study in running, with tons of articles and books, and practical experience of best coaches, we still didn’t come to some commonly accepted model of running technique. As it was expressed by A. Nitro (1987) that “there is no scientifically founded ideal technique, that suits everyone.” But following this way of thinking, we should then agree that swimming technique is also completely individual, or hammer throwing technique, etc.

I don’t think so. If we accept this point of view, we’ll have to admit that nature “doesn’t care” how this or that exercise is performed in relation to gravity. I can’t agree with this, because I accept the philosophy of wholeness of nature, and the existence of humans as a part of it, setting a lot of limitations on their physiological, and biomechanical functions.

We have to understand, that nature does allow some deviations, and some angles, but these are very limited – if you ignore them, nature will “punish” you. No substantial deviations from nature’s “requirements” actually go unpunished. A human organism, developed and existing in the gravity field, the greatest natural force surrounding us, should stay within a certain biomechanical framework or some limits appropriate for gravity.

 

Free falling body during 6 seconds could achieve the speed of 58.8 m/s … almost 5 times more than the fastest runner.

 

How powerful gravity could be is easily illustrated by the following example. As you know, snowmass sliding downhill, called an avalanche, goes at the speed of more than 200 km/hr and becomes a disaster. We can compare human force with gravity as well. For instance, the fastest sprinters in the world could reach the highest speed of 12.5 m/s in 6 sec. But a free falling body during 6 seconds could achieve the speed of 58.8 m/s (v=at, 9.8 m/sec2 x 6 = 58.8m/s), which is almost 5 times more than the fastest runner. We can make some adjustments on horizontal directions in running, but it is far from the power of gravity.

Certainly, there are other forces involved in running as well, such as a ground reaction force (GR), muscle elasticity (ME) and muscle voluntary contraction (MVC). Speaking about movement, we have to understand that that is the resultant force or group of forces acting upon the moving body. Therefore the model of running technique is first of all a model of forces in running. This is what the science was looking for in running technique, and missed, and consequently left the title question of this article unanswered.

 

 

What we have in reality, is an eclectic field of facts and opinions on how we are supposed to run, but with no standard to which we could turn in our desire to achieve proper running. The absence of a uniform standard brought about lots of negative things in teaching and learning. Think of any possibility of teaching without any standards. It’s impossible, because you can’t build any movement without knowing the forces influencing your body parts, and you can’t correct any errors in your movement, because errors are by definition deviations from the standard.

There are no relations between errors and injuries, because, as we already pointed out, there are no errors, if we have no standard. Basically, to this day, the science of running avoids talking about errors and consequently about their relationship to injuries. Do you know any other sporting event where there are no errors?

Coaches had to solve this problem, to a certain degree, through their intuition, experience, trial and error, just luck and some general knowledge of the field, but not by having a proper model of running, or the method of teaching it. These two come together because they are interdependent things. We can’t teach what we don’t know. So to solve the problem we have to know what to teach and how to teach it.

 

The model of running technique is first of all a model of forces in running.

 

The following is a proposal for runners, triathletes, coaches and teachers for how to approach this problem from a theoretical and practical standpoint. This approach is the method of running and the method of teaching someone or yourself, which I call the Pose Method.

The essence of this method is that we employ gravity as a major force acting upon the runner’s body, and the rest of forces are assisting with this. And because the best integration of forces involved in running can happen only in a certain frame (point) of space and time of the body position, I call it the running Pose and the way of running and teaching – the Pose Method.

If we take qualitative descriptions of technique of the best runners, it can be reduced to the following: an easy, effortless, relaxed, smooth, flowing, without visible vertical oscillations, running. But does it mean that we can say that we know how to run correctly and how to teach correct running technique? Yes, our answer is still “no”, because we don’t know how to start and continue the described movement, where and when to apply the efforts and so on.

Nevertheless, the first answer was given around 500 years ago by the ingenious Leonardo da Vinci, who wrote: “Motion is created by the destruction of balance…” And really, what is the starting point in running? It starts in the position of balance, where the runner starts to fall forward from. Indeed, the free falling is the most simple representation of freedom of movement around us. It doesn’t cost us anything, but requires only some skill of transformation of movement from vertical to horizontal direction. The latter is the function of the rest of forces: ground reaction, muscle elasticity, muscle voluntary contraction which is related with our efforts. So we have to define where and how they should be applied.

The next simple reasoning could lead us to the proper answer. If we think that the main role of forward motion belongs to the gravitational force, then the ground reaction force and elasticity are indirectly redirecting this pull. But when the body is in the process of falling forward, the bulk of our attention should be devoted to the foot on the ground, which cannot remove itself. While it will eventually come off the ground, it won’t do so within the proper time frame. So our efforts should be directed to pulling the support foot from the ground and the most effective way to do that is with hamstring muscles. While doing that we automatically involve muscle elasticity, we remove the body weight off the ground and that allows us to change support.

 

The actual formula of running technique therefore could be summarized in the following way: fall and pull in the pose

 

This is the cycle of movement: falling forward from the position of balance, and changing the support from one leg to the other by pulling the foot from the ground, spending minimum efforts and producing minimum braking to our body movement forward. An interesting thing about it is that all these possibilities meet each other only in one point, in the Pose, when the body is in the state of balance on one leg, with the GCM (General Center of Mass) above the ball of the foot, with the s-spring body shape. This is the position from which we could start falling forward and then pulling the support foot from the ground simultaneously, producing non-stop cycle of movement.

The actual formula of running technique therefore could be summarized in the following way: fall and pull in the pose, which could be further reduced to just the pull, when the pose and fall are established well enough.

This running “formula” could be easily employed by athletes of any level, from novice to elite, and by runners for different distances, from short (100m) to the marathon. For gravity it doesn’t matter what is the speed and length of running, as long as you are falling, you have to pull your support foot from the ground. Certainly, it will be a different cadence of pulling, depending on how much we would like to use gravity. The lowest rate of frequency can be about 180 steps per minute, due to necessity to involve muscle elasticity. When the stride frequency goes below this level, muscle elasticity involvement reduces, and together with this muscle voluntary efforts and energy expenditure increase.

The Pose Method® is a very simple concept to understand, but not too easy to execute. This is so not because it is difficult physically, but because it involves completely different neuromuscular patterns, compared to what we were taught and had experienced before. It requires re-education of our bodies in our understanding, visualization, feeling, and execution, in other words, a completely new perception of everything.

My experience with the Pose Method is only positive, with happy and injury-free runners and triathletes from different countries at all levels from beginners to world champions. And my desire is to make this method available to more people in order to help them to accomplish their lifetime goals and most importantly  – enjoy running to the fullest.

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.