Pose Method® for Senior Runners
Senior runners – how to start running or continue running without injuries as you get older? This is always a popular topic. I understand it completely because I have lots of experience with this particular age group due to my personal training work. At a certain age the necessity to change the lifestyle becomes urgent, because the previous sedentary way of life brings so many negative consequences that they force you to start doing something about it.
But for most senior newcomers the world of exercise is mostly inaccessible due to the absence of basic skills, so their choice naturally goes to the seemingly simplest exercise – running, where, by a commonly accepted opinion, you don’t need to learn anything, you just go for a run because it is the most ‘natural’ form of human movement.
Lots of people get caught in this trap with all its consequences: injuries, frustrations, unhappiness and so on. (That actually happens at any age.) In its turn, their bad experience scares others away and creates a negative mental image and an accompanying opinion that at a certain age people can’t just get into running and get all those amazing health benefits.
Running is not for everyone and that’s ok. Some might have a preference for, say, swimming or cycling and will do better pursuing those activities instead of following the cliche. In general, there are plenty of health benefits in simply staying active, as long as you’re moving and not just sitting, you’re going to be in better health. The key is to learn to move right and not get hurt in the process. Active lifestyle full of injuries defeats the very purpose of being active.
I’m here to tell you that all is not lost and it’s not as bad or difficult as it might seem to you right now. You need to LEARN how to move right just as you did with everything else in your life. At the beginning it may seem unreal and daunting, but believe me, it is very real, very possible and it’s very rewarding. It would only require some effort and a bit of your time. You have to learn to think, feel, see and do something you never thought you should or could do to make your life more enjoyable. But that is the case.
Difficulties to Overcome
By the age of 60 most people accumulate lots of bad habits and fears and are somewhat unaware of it. The first steps in learning how to run correctly will take a lot from you, and you’ll need to open your mind, feelings, adjust your muscles’ work and neuromuscular patterns for these changes in order to start building a new you. It’s a long way, but it’s worth it and your life in running will be long, too.
The first hurdle is your mind. Are you really ready to put in effort and keep going? Do you believe that you, as a senior runner, are capable of doing what needs to be done? I could assure you that it’s quite possible regardless of the age or level you are at.
The second is your neuromuscular coordination. Not the strength of your muscles yet, it’ll be your next step. You have probably noticed that you have a rather limited use of your body with age. Any deviation from your routine or your well-established habits of movement is difficult now. You get up from your bed, walk around the house and get to your car. That’s pretty much it. When backing up a car you have trouble turning your head or neck, or your torso around its own axis. Changing lanes when driving is also a problem for the same reason as well. Yielding to a lady at the door confuses your movements and you prefer not to do it at all. In other words, your space/time perception is far away from your needs when they extend beyond your routine. Running is even further away from your expectations.
But then you listen to your fellow runners, read the “Runner’s World” magazine and get the wrong idea that running is possible for you without any preparation for it. Just get a pair of cushioned or motion control shoes and you are ready to roll. That’s where all your problems, frustrations, pain and disappointment pop up. Was it what you were looking for? Of course not.
If you want to run and enjoy it and get all the benefits of running you have to learn how to do it and you have to prepare your mind and body for it. Ignoring this will only extend your misery.
The Pose Method® offers you the simplest and fastest way to reach your goal, but you have to start from the beginning.
Things to Work On
On the surface, running requires only elementary coordination, but it is still difficult because you never learnt it. That’s why, for example, a simple requirement to keep your body weight on the ball of the foot could be a problem. You never did this before consciously, so your muscles are not familiar with this demand. But your ability to keep your body weight on the ball of your foot is the crucial point of proper running technique, because you are falling forward from this point by using gravitational pull, the most powerful force available in our movement.
The next thing you need to do is to change support from one foot to the other, while you are falling. And here the next challenge arises, how to pull your foot from the ground while you are falling. Your body just doesn’t have any idea of how to perform this action, which requires very unusual coordination. In younger years people may have learnt this accidentally, if they trained in some fields where running was a part of the game, but by the age of 50 even these people usually lose it. So, there is only one conclusion here, you have to learn it.
When you get the idea about the fall and pull as real actions, then your next step would be to work on your specific and nonspecific strength level. In both fall and pull actions you are working with gravity and gravity doesn’t really care how old you are, what your status is, and how much money you have in your account. Gravity asks you to deal with your body’s weight (that’s how gravity manifests itself) and at this moment of truth your muscles should be ready to respond in the best way possible, in each step you produce in your running journey: in the morning, at noontime, in the evening, uphill/downhill, under the rain, against the wind, in a warm or cold weather the rules are still the same. You have to deal with them.
Age is a relative issue. In most cases, your psycho-emotional condition is much more important than your biological one, which, of course, I don’t want to dispute, but still. When you learn to run, you have to forget about your age and get into the learning mode without any hesitations or embarrassment, otherwise you’ll never learn anything.
You also need to develop a proper perception of your body in space/time/efforts terms. When you turn right or left, for example, execute the required set of actions in certain rhythm and with the minimum necessary muscular efforts for these movements. Work on your neuromuscular movement pattern.
To sum it up, you have to:
- Set your mind to pursue your running goals;
- Start from developing coordination and perception;
- Develop a necessary beginning level of running specific strength;
- Improve your level of coordination and specific perception for running;
- Gradually go to the next level of strength conditioning related to springiness/elasticity in running;
- Increase the length and speed of your running as long as you can maintain the proper running technique;
- Develop a new perception of running.
Every step required and mentioned above is described in great detail in our Beginner’s Guide for Runners. The program goes into a great detail explaining how our body is supposed to move and how to learn proper movement patterns. When you know why something should be done a certain way it will be easier and simpler to understand it and to accomplish it.
Your physical abilities might be or might become limited, but your skills have no limits. Improved skills will balance out and in many ways compensate for certain physical limits that often come with age. Improving your skill is a life long journey. So don’t be afraid to start your journey, the reward will be priceless: a new lease on life.
Learning how to run and do your own video analysis is part of the Pose Method® Running Course. This seminar also offers 16 CE hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes are encouraged to attend.
Understanding and learning of sports techniques is part of the Pose Method® Sports Techniques Specialist Certification. This seminar offers 24 CE hours towards continuing education for Physical Therapists. Click here for scheduled seminars.