Pose Running is a more efficient way to run than the standard heel strike method we’re all familiar with and used to.
Pose running, because of its efficiency, can not only help you improve your running time, but also reduce the risk of injury. It minimizes joint impact, and aims to reduce the muscular contribution to running and rely more on using gravity.
The Pose Method was developed by Dr. Nicholas Romanov in the former USSR in the 70s and thrives to this day as the top technique for efficient running.
SEALgrinderPT Coach Jeff Grant has taught this technique for the past decade in workshops around the world and shares these tips for learning the Pose Method of Running.
Tip #1: Land on the ball of your foot
This is the same part of the foot you land on when jumping rope, running sideways, skipping, and running backwards. In fact, all four of those movements will support your transition to efficient Pose Method running.
Integrate them into your running, switching from the exercise to forward running to carry over the perceived feel.
Tip #2: Increase your cadence to a minimum of 180 beats per minute
Cadence is the tempo you pull your feet off the ground. You can use music apps with BPM filter to find music at 180BPM to help, just don’t get too reliant on music to set your cadence. You can also practice with metronome apps.
A faster cadence is fine and necessary when sprinting.
Tip #3: Fall forward from your hips
Use gravity for momentum. When you lead with your hips, your body will be the most efficiently aligned to harness momentum from the fall.
If you try to fall by leaning and reaching your chest forward, you’ll likely bend at the waist to do this, which will send your center of gravity backwards!
Tip #4: Don’t run on your toes with your heels constantly elevated
This is the number one reason runners report soreness when learning the Pose Method. Have someone film you from the side as you run by them. Notice how you’re landing and moving through your stride.
Tip #5: Pull your foot straight up off the ground under your hip
The focus is PULL, not PUSH.
This pull is more hamstring and hip flexor focused, so it will require training and adaptation of those muscle groups, but is much more efficient than pushing off and fully extending the leading leg.
Your can feel this pull and condition yourself for it by adding skipping to your warm-ups and technique practice. Think playground skipping, or better, track & field warm-up skipping. Skipping not only shows you exactly where the pulled foot should go, it shows you how to land (ball of the foot, relaxed foot).
Tip #6: Minimize the time your foot is on the ground
This is your time on “support” and we want it as short as possible, more like a bouncing basketball than a C-5 Galaxy doing a touch and go.
If your current shoes are worn out on the heels, you are spending too much time with your foot on the ground, as it lands on the heel and rolls through the midfoot to the toes for an inefficient push-off. The aim instead is down and up, short time on support.
Practice Pose Pony drills.
Tip #7: Allow your heels to lightly touch the ground only AFTER the ball of your foot lands.
Some novice Pose runners try to always keep the heel elevated, as if a sharp spike is under their heel. And this fries their Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Keep your ankles and feet relaxed on landing ball of foot, then light heel touch. Rinse and repeat.
Tip #8: Pull your foot full straight up
Don’t spring off the toes. Pushing off costs more energy than the gains it provides. This is especially important when running in loose terrain, like soft sand and snow. Notice how you’d run on ice. Pushing off would never work.
To run on ice, you have to pull your foot and keep everything compact and smooth. This is the Pose Method.
Tip #9: Run backwards to experience the feel of efficiency
When running backwards, you automatically land on the ball of your foot, automatically pull the foot off the ground instead of pushing, and automatically run with an upright body. It reinforces Pose fundamentals without you having to think about it.
Practice alternating backwards and forwards running, and carry over the perceptions you have when running backwards to your normal running.
Tip #10: Keep your feet behind the vertical line that runs through your knees to the ground
Inefficient running filmed from the side looks like an inverted Y, with both legs straight at one moment. In Pose Running, the legs are never straight and the foot never lands in front of the knees.
You are running in a compact, springy S, not a rigid upside down Y.
Bonus Tip #1: Always focus on pulling your foot from the ground, not on the landing
Don’t try to control the landing. Just pull, fall, and allow the landing to happening naturally. Don’t reach for the landing.
I call this the aircraft carrier landing, where a new Pose runner attempts to reach a foot forward and fly the ball of their foot onto the ground. It’s not efficient and looks like prancing.
When you are pull-focused, your quads will relax and your foot will land naturally in the right place. It’s just like running stairs — your foot knows where to land. Stair running is another great tool for running Pose without overthinking it!
Bonus Tip #2: Keep your knees and thighs relaxed, down, and close together
Relax your shoulders and keep your arms natural, relaxed, and tidy. If you tense your hands, arms, or shoulders, that tension will make it nearly impossible to run efficiently.
Keep your shoulders, hips, and ankles in vertical alignment.
Bonus Tip #3: Don’t get overwhelmed
It takes time and consistent practice to change your running technique.
Practice Pose Method perception drills, like skipping, backwards running, and stair running. Integrate them into your regular runs and focus just on doing the drill well, instead of trying to piece all tips and techniques together in one moment.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Brad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness. After passing Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp at BUD/S, he failed a math test and was kicked out of training. A year later, he returned, graduated, and served as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams.
Today, he is one of the most sought after mental conditioning coaches in the world. SEALgrinderPT audios and ebooks have been downloaded in 20 different countries around the globe.
Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to help you step up and take hold of your dreams and realize your goals.
Jeff Grant’s passion is in coaching–in helping people unlock their potential and break through cycles of stress, overload, and inaction. Jeff is a specialist mind training and running coach and currently lives in Switzerland. He is constantly finding new ways to challenge himself—such as completing an event to honor D-Day and raise funds for the Navy SEAL Museum, where participants swam to France from 10KM offshore and rucked 25 miles inland.
You can find out more about Jeff at his website Hillseeker.
QUESTION: I am wanting to try for the Air Force PJs and want to improve my running. Can you tell me some things to avoid so I train the best way I can?
ANSWER: Check out this article—5 Biggest Mistakes SOF Candidates Make in Running Assessments.
QUESTION: Lately I feel like I can’t keep my mind on track and stay on a project. I’m not exactly getting distracted. It’s more like I can’t stay focused on one thing. Can you give me some tips?
ANSWER: Here’s an article I think will help: 10 Tips to Improve Mental Focus.