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So I took a 90-minute lesson in the Pose Method of running from Julie Robinson, owner of RunErie and a certified Pose running instructor and wrote about it for yesterday’s Her Times magazine in the Erie Times-News. Here’s my part:
Posed to Run
By Heather Cass
I love my hot pink and black Saucony Cohesion running shoes with their wide toe box and cushy heels, but Julie Robinson, an Erie-based Pose running coach, said they have to go.
“You need to lose the big shoes,” she said.
I’ve been a heel striker for all of my running life, about 15 years now. It’s obvious if you look at my running shoes. The outside edges of both heels are worn off from being scuffed into the ground for hundreds of miles.
Landing on the ground heel first when running is bad. It sends hundreds of pounds of pressure up the legs, through the hips and into the lower back. It can cause a host of running-related injuries from shin splints to Achilles tendinitis to herniated discs.
Robinson and I are in a parking lot at Penn State Behrend where she is giving me a short course in the Pose Method, which encourages the use of lightweight, thin-soled shoes.
“Getting out of the big shoes helps reduce heel striking because it hurts when you do so in a more minimalist shoe, which forces a change in and of itself,” she said. “But it’s learning to correctly ‘fall’ into Pose that gets rid of that nasty habit. Big shoes just get in the way.”
What is Pose?
It’s hard to explain, but according to www.posetech.com, the Pose is a one-legged stance with the head, shoulders and hips aligned over the ball of the foot. The airborne foot is up under the hips, and running becomes a sequence of falling forward from this position, having the airborne leg drop to keep from falling to the ground and using the hamstring to pull the trailing foot into the airborne position, then returning to the Pose on the opposite leg.
Got it? No? That’s OK because Robinson does get it. In the 90 minutes Robinson and I spent together, she was able to demonstrate some of the methods she uses to build a better runner. It’s a gradual process. She doesn’t just take your shoes away and force you to run in a whole new way. You have to build strength and mobility in your ankles and hips first. You have to work your way down to a lesser-cushioned shoe. You have to practice the one-legged stance, master the use of gravity and “falling forward” and learn to pull your leg up, using your hamstring, instead of pushing off the ground with your toes.
“With Pose, you don’t need the ground to get moving,” Robinson said. “You’re pulling your leg up, not pushing off. Pose is perfect for trail runners who run on rocky, uneven terrain.”
Three days after meeting with Robinson, I ran the Cleveland half marathon. I concentrated on applying some of the principles she taught me, constantly reminding myself to pull, stay centered and fall forward. While I didn’t set any personal records that day (it was 80 degrees), I had no soreness, calf cramps or knee twinges during or after the race. That is a victory for this veteran runner.
Veteran Verdict: Even veterans with closets full of medals and awards can benefit from learning the Pose Method and working with Robinson and Run Erie to improve their form.
There’s more to the story — you can read what newbie runner Marnie Mead Oberle thought of the method here and see a video here.
Bottom line is this: Julie knows her stuff. If you’ve been plagued by constant injuries, it’s worth checking out. Heck, even if you’ve not been plagued with injuries and you’ve been running (and placing) for 15 years, it’s worth checking out.
You can find more info here and learn about some great workshops they are offering with a master pose coach here.
Starting in June, Run Erie will offer a full schedule of classes on Pose basics at the introductory rate of eight classes for $75. Private lessons are also available at individual and package rates.
RunErie will also bring in master Pose coach Valerie Hunt from Austin, Texas, who will teach two eight-hour seminars with personalized video analysis on June 29 and 30 at CrossFit FBO, 1311 Chestnut St. Cost:$150.
The clinics are open to all ages and ability levels. Each clinic includes eight hours of instruction, video analysis, and time for lunch and socialization with new friends. Details for registration are available on Run Erie’s Facebook page under the events tab or e-mail Run Erie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If nothing else, follow Run Erie on Facebook and learn more about the pose method — they frequently post videos and tips.
* Dogs get high, too, but ferrets don’t.
* Does it seem like it takes longer to recover the older you get? Um, it does. Here’s why.
* For the ladies: Jezebel: If You Must Think About your Weight, Here Are 10 Things to Think About Warning: there are plenty of f-bombs in this article, but this is probably the greatest thing I’ve read in…well, ever. I’m at that stage where I’m pissed off about this situation we’ve all bought into. I’m sick of women’s magazines and fitness magazines and women’s expos that are full of ways for us to fix ourselves — lose weight, fix your hair, get the whitest teeth, cook better….f@#$ you, I’m fine the way I am. READ THIS. PRINT IT OUT. GET MAD.
Hmmm….now this treadmill workout could possibly hold my interest:
For all my ultra-running friends. (This is a JOKE…though, you have to admit….it’s funny because most of it is true, right?). LOL.
Available here for $19.97.
If you have absolutely no idea what I’m taking about, read this. If you don’t have time for that, watch this:
OK…..now that were all up to speed, the good news…..drumroll, please…..
You can learn it right here in Erie. Erie runners and trainers Julie Robinson and Sean Donachy have formed a business called RunErie to teach local runners how to improve their form, which will result in better race times and — most importantly — fewer injuries! Yay!
They’ve already taught two classes and they are offering another on Saturday, May 25 at 8 a.m. CrossFit FBO at 1311 Chestnut Street. Cost is $10 and space is limited. Details here. Contact them on Facebook or call 450-7786 for more info or to RSVP.
You may have heard of Chi running before, too. It similar, but there are some differences as well. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about Chi running versus Pose method, but, if you don’t have time for that, here’s the short version:
“Pose running puts more demand on the legs, using muscle control to maintain proper positioning. ChiRunning teaches that the leg below the knee should be relaxed, taxing the muscle very little. The primary focus of ChiRunners is core strength and the belief that energy can be redirected from the trunk to the extremities. Another key difference is that pose running uses a short stride while ChiRunning extends the stride, again to alleviate the effort on leg muscles.
Probably the most distinguishing characteristic between these two approaches is that pose running is primarily focused on the physiological elements of running. ChiRunning on the other hand, is steeped in Eastern philosophies that, while may be perfectly valid, Western runners may have trouble applying.”
Big Brother Fitbit Flex is watching tracking you. If you’re looking to get a handle on exactly how much exercise you’re getting every day and are considering strapping on a fitness tracker (think those armband things you wear that meausure your activities, calorie burn, sleep, etc.), word has it the new Fitbit Flex is the cream of the current crop.
* Should you eat before a morning workout? Probably.
* Too busy to train for a marathon? Here’s one that anyone…and I do mean anyone…can finish.
* The real cause of muscle cramps (it’s not what you might think) and how to avoid them. (I can vouch for this…learned it the hard way)
Leave it to SNL to do the best parody commercials ever. This New Balance commercial is hysterical:
T-shirt of the Week
In honor of tonight’s final episode of The Office, the classic Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For the Cure race T-shirt:
Available here for $16.95.
* Genetically Modified Foods: 7 Things Every Shopper Needs to Know
* If you haven’t had a tick on you yet….it’s a matter of time, especially for those of you who run trail…(If this doesn’t make you itch, I don’t know what will): The Rise of the Tick & 9 tips for Avoiding & Treating Tick Bites
* Former Pittsburgh Steeler, Hines Ward, is not done being a bad#@$. He’s training for an October Ironman triathlon! Find out how his training is going.
* Runner’s World: Do Ice Baths Reduce Muscle Soreness?
This has absolutely nothing to do with running, but…man, don’t you miss Hills?
Available here for $20 (but it would totally be like $6 if you could still buy it at Hills…and you could spend $1 on an Icee and popcorn on the way out).
Yoga, Pilates & More owner Elyssa Lindenberger taught the class full of runners how yoga poses and help relieve (and prevent) some of the most common running injuries. She led us through a 1-hour practice, then we went over four “power poses” that runners can use to stretch and strengthen their legs and core, which will help stabilize the body.
I found the 2-hour workshop to be really informative because Elyssa didn’t just teach yoga poses, she taught us WHY they were important for runners, in particular (the muscles and tendons we frequently strain, etc.). That knowledge really helps you understand how and why yoga can help you.
A body in balance means better race times and fewer injuries. What runner doesn’t want that?
If you missed Saturday’s workshop, you have another chance, several actually, as Elyssa is offering a Yoga for Runners Series:
* March 2: Lower Limb
* April 6: Core Strength
* May 4: Upper Body
* June 1: Nutritional support (team taught with Dr. Dan Young)
* July 13: Focus on Common Injuries
* August 3: Putting it All Together
Each workshop is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
P.S. Word to the wise: If you go to a workshop, wear shorts and a tank top — it’s toasty in the yoga room (that’s deliberate to warm up the muscles).
Did you happen to notice that an Erie native was quoted in the January issue of Runner’s World magazine (above)?
Tyler Travis is the executive director of the LECOM Wellness Center and he was quoted on “The Body Shop” page, in which he teaches us a whole new way to use every runner’s best friend — the foam roller.
Known to most runners to be a useful post-run stretching and massaging tool, the foam roller can also be used to build strength, as Tyler showed us in the magazine.
I talked to Tyler to find out more about his career path, his fitness philosophy, and how he ended up in the pages of Runner’s World magazine.
How did you end up the executive director of the LECOM Wellness center?
I was the past Fitness Manager of the Wellness Center. I was bestowed the task of hiring the Center’s fitness specialist and served on our facility management team. I worked with our fitness team to manage and implemented the launch of a New Medical Fitness & Wellness Center. I facilitated and assessed over 700 medical students in the first three months of operations. I helped develop the assessment and training system for incoming member population and was responsible for the development of the center’s safety policy and procedures.
I served in the Fitness Manager role for 2 years. The experience, teamwork and staff support was instrumental in my opportunity to interview for the Director position when it became available.
What does your job entail?
I provide leadership to center team through direct accountability of the development, programming marketing and operations of the Wellness Center. I provide direction and support to the management team concerning center policies and procedures and plan and conduct regularly scheduled management team meetings. I assist managers and the administrative/accounting coordinator in determining HR needs and job responsibilities. I am responsible for managing center operations and goals within the approved operating budget. I present a section on cardiac rehab and exercise physiology to 2nd year medical students annually.
I also facilitate annual preseason movement screenings and communication with coaching staff of NBA-D League Team, the Erie Bayhawks. A large portion of my role is to also help facilitate health fairs and promote community involvement. I also continue to serve with performing member assessments, personal training, and program design.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy the interactions and relationships of the people I serve. It is truly humbling to be a part of a team that is driven to empower others to improve health and wellness each day. I still really enjoy applying my education and teaching others how to improve their health and athletic performance through strength and conditioning.
What is your educational background? And, how does it help you in your current position?
I have an undergraduate degree in psychology from Penn State Behrend, 2001, and a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2003.
The fundamental requirements for anyone who wants to enter the health and fitness industry is education. The unique aspect of a medical fitness and wellness center is that we are balancing science with customer service. Our employees must have a passion for people. The health and fitness of one of our members can only be improved when the fitness professional/exercise physiologist knows how to treat the customer well.
My graduate degree in Exercise Physiology has provided me with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to evaluate and develop exercise programming for special population ranging from those with cardiovascular disease to the professional athlete. My psychology degree from Behrend served as the foundation that I needed to understand how to help new exercisers adhere to an exercise program and how our nervous system is crucial in understanding the way we think and move.
Are you a runner?
I run for leisure, but do not compete like when I ran cross country and track in college. I have a lot of fun participating in a variety of conditioning. I play ice hockey throughout the year and strength train on most days of the week. I also enjoy playing in a basketball league from time to time.
Any PR you want to share (any distance)?
My PR’s in college were 16:04 for the 5k and 4:12 for the 1500meter.
How did you end up with a feature in the January issue of Runner’s World magazine?
Nicole Falcone, a writer for Runner’s World, asked me to create a series of exercises using foam rollers. Nicole is a member of our Wellness Center and she approached me last fall and asked if I would like to be a resource for a future article. Nicole happens to be in Erie because her boyfriend is a LECOM Medical Student.
Is that you in the photos?
No. They took photos of me at the Wellness Center performing the exercises. The photos were then sent and duplicated by a model for the magazine.
Most runners are familiar with the foam roller as a way to stretch/massage sort muscles, but you say
it’s also good for building muscles?
Yes, and the foam rolling strength routine is a great way to get runners to do strength training. Most runners own a foam roller. The exercises that I suggest can be done anywhere from the beginning of the runner’s warm-up or at the end of the run. It can be done in the office or simply at the track. The foam roller is very portable.
And why should runners do strength training? Isn’t running enough?
It is well known in the world of strength & conditioning that runners are very asymmetrical. Many runners tend to be desk jockeys (let’s face it, our society as whole is moving less and sitting more.) The typical running pattern is what we call very sagital plane dominant. This plane is the same pattern we are in when we sit – hip flexed, knee flexed, ankle dorsiflexed.
Distance runners especially have weaker core muscles, glutes, tight hamstrings and hips flexors. Many runners unfortunately do not take time to balance their running with strength training.
A strength-training program can help improve areas of weakness commonly found in runners. The hips are the power source for runners. Hips should be strong and mobile. Any compromise in the hips can lead to low back or knee issues.
The next area that should be considered is the core, which supports the spine, and hips. Many runners have tight anterior deltoids/shoulders that need stretched and posterior deltoids/shoulders that need strengthened.
What one thing can a runner do to improve their performance?
Runners should make sure they are moving correctly. Moving repetitively, as a runner does mile after mile, can put their body in a compromised risk for future injuries if the movement is not correct. My recommendation is to be evaluated by having a Functional Movement Screen. The screen identifies the risk factor level for non-impact injuries. Corrective exercises can then be developed to improve movement and asymmetries.
What is your personal workout routine?
It’s much like what I suggested above. I am still guilty of having some of same asymmetries above. I like to strength train on most days of the week. I like to break up my cardiovascular workouts with circuits that utilize the ultra slide board, jumping rope, and kettlebell.
The slide board is a great tool that all runners should use from time to time. It helps open the hips and improve mobility and strength of the adductors and abductors (inside and outside of the legs.) I picked up ice hockey for that reason as well. It is a great high intensity workout that increases hip and glute strength.
What is your diet like (i.e. do you do the “paleo” thing or anything like that)?
I do not adhere to any specific diet and encourage balance. My family and I eat very clean. We focus mostly on plant-based food. The benefits of phytochemicals are tremendous. They help with combating oxidative stress that can be detrimental to the cells of our body. We balance the fruits and vegetables with lean meats such as turkey, chicken and fish. We avoid red meat except with the occasional buffalo burger. We really try to eat as little processed food as possible. Our favorite bread is Ezekiel bread.
Family (wife, kids?): My wife, Beth, is a 3rd grade teacher, and we have a son Matthew Dennis Travis, 8 months. We also have a yellow lab named Sidney who is typically by my side when I take runs or even when I’m simply working in the yard.
“It’s tempting to focus your training on building toward harder workouts, and schedule rest when your body “needs” it. Studies have found that inexperienced athletes make exactly this mistake, steadily increasing training until fatigue or injury forces them to back off—then repeating the cycle. Experienced athletes deliberately plan their recovery. By taking a rest before it’s necessary, they end up accumulating more training overall.”
— Alex Hutchnson, Runner’s World magazine, January 2013
Winter is a the time to rest and let your body heal. Some might even say that rest (and a little winter weight gain) is exactly what nature intended for us to do in the cold, dark days of winter.
If you’re forcing yourself out in the worst of weather, hell-bent on achieving more and more and more, ask yourself why. What is to be gained and do you honestly think that missing one workout (or two or three or five) is really going to hurt you? I’ve been running long enough to know the answer to that question. If you don’t know the answer yet, you will, grasshopper….you will.
Elyssa Lindenberger, above, is a runner, chiropractor, and proud owner of the newest yoga studio in town —Yoga Pilates & More — 2425 West 26th Street (in the Young Chiropractic plaza across from Champion Ford at the I-79 interchange) which is holding its grand opening tomorrow, Saturday, January 19.
Elyssa is an Erie native who went to McDowell High School where she was a pole vaulter for the track and field team. She got her undergraduate degree at Gannon and went to Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri.
It was in Missouri that the former pole vaulter and dancer began running.
“My friends and I decided that we would tackle a 5k and then a half marathon,” Elyssa said. “After my first half-marathon, I was hooked and now I run pretty much daily from March to September (I take a running hiatus during the winter months). I tackled my first marathon last September.”
Elyssa has been practicing chiropractic medicine at Young Chiropractic for over a year now (she’s accepting new patients, too!) and her new yoga studio is conveniently located just around the corner in the same plaza as Young Chiropractic.
I toured the studio last week during a sneak-peek open house and it’s not like any other yoga studio or gym I’ve ever been in. I expected bright lights, pastels and lots of white walls, but Yoga, Pilates & More’s studio has a rustic cabin theme and is lined, literally, in warm wood that give a homey, soothing, rich, sit-down-and-stay-awhile feeling. There are two yoga rooms and the largest one has a gas fireplace flickering in the corner, which will no doubt provide the heat for the “hot yoga” classes offered.
You can learn more about studio, including class schedules and fees at www.yogapilateserie.com.
Of particular interest to runners Yoga for Runners workshop that Elyssa will be offering on Saturday, February 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is just $20. I’m already signed up!
I asked Elyssa a few questions about yoga, runners and why runner should make time for yoga:
Why should a runner do yoga? (How does it help them?)
Yoga is a designed to promote stretching, strengthening, and overall balance in the body. As most runners know, running tends to “beat up” certain areas of the body, tightening those areas, leading to common discomfort and problems. Yoga can be used to keep the body balances by keeping muscles stretched that need to be stretched and strengthening the muscles that need support the body. Another part of yoga is focusing on the breath. Becoming aware of how to breathe deeply and increase lung function. Running is as much respiration as it is muscular. Yoga helps train the body in all aspects.
What’s the biggest problem you see in most runners?
The majority of runners that I see as students in my classes and as patients in the office have chronic IT band problems, shin splints/calf tightness, hip pain, low back pain, and the occasionally shoulder problem. Occasionally, runners will come in with a sprained hamstring/quadriceps, but it’s mainly leg and hip problems.
What will runners learn in the workshop?
The workshop will consist of about an hour and a half yoga class. This class will be focused on the parts of the body that runners build tension. There will be strengthening work done through certain poses along with stretches. I will have hand out available that lists some of the poses. We will go over this handout at the end so that way each runner will have a mini yoga practice they can take home with them.
Who will teach the workshop?
I will be teaching the workshop. I’ll be incorporating my yoga knowledge along with my rehabilitation and education I received from my chiropractic education.
Runners tend to be, um, annoyed by yoga because runners are, by nature, go-go-go people. How do you get them to slow down for yoga?
Yoga can be slow, but yoga can also be strenuous. Being a runner myself, I find that I keep my classes moving—focusing on the breath, and different poses while moving through a flow. What this means is you are not holding the poses for as long but are instead moving through a series of poses to your breath. I find that by having a balance class that has the challenging aspects and then slowing down allows all of us “go-go-go” people to adjust to more of a slower moving class.
Do you have any success stories? Any runners you taught to love yoga?
I do have a few success stories, mainly within my group of running friends. While training, we all have our injuries. I started using a few select yoga poses as my pre-run and post-run stretches. My friends began to notice and joined me (especially before our longer runs). We all quickly noticed we were able to run longer and faster before our knee pain, ankle pain, hip pain, etc. began to bother us. They are hooked on using a little yoga to keep injury free. The best part of yoga is you don’t have to go to an hour class, breathing through 1 pose is still yoga!
How many opening are left in the workshop?
We are currently about 75% filled.
How do people register for the workshop?
Reserve space by either emailing me directly at elyssa.lindenberger at gmail, signing up at the studio (2415 West 26th Street, in Plaza 79 across from Champion Ford), or calling (814) 636-0198 to reserve their spot!
Anything else you want to add?
I’m looking forward to beginning classes January 19th at Yoga, Pilates, and more. Feel free to check out the website for more information and keep an eye on the workshop tab as we will be adding more and more!
Also, if you are unable to make the Yoga for Runner’s February 9th, I will be offering a second Yoga for Runner’s workshop March 2nd. The second workshop will be more focused on specific injuries and what yoga poses you can do to help relieve tension (just in time for the beginning of the heavier training season). Stay tuned for more information on the March workshop!
* 3 ways to build an injury-proof body (solid advice here)
* Rejoice! Salt may lose it’s rank as public enemy No. 1. As runners, we lose a lot of salt in our sweat. I’ve never limited my salt intake and always heed my body’s craving for more despite the drumbeat by those who claim to know what’s best for us.
* A running love story worth picking up: “Do Life”
Get your tissues:
More about Conner & Cayden here.
Available here in various styles/fabrics.