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.