Exercise, Journal, Running

Strike a POSE

POSE Running with Puma H Streets

I used to run competitively in high school, and I even completed a half-marathon when I was thirteen! Then, the freshman fifteen — pounds, not miles — came around, followed by post-graduation ballooning. The long winter months of the past several years have forced my body into a lengthy hibernation from which my summer exercise routines have not been able to overcome. As a result, I’m many pounds over my preferred fighting weight. One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2007 is to get into better shape.

The easiest way to lose weight, aside from a week of solo backpacking, is to run. Even during high school when I was decently good, running has always been a painful sport. I’m well acquainted with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and other running-related ailments. In 2002, I got fitted with a pair of custom orthotics, which made walking long distances and running more comfortable. This year, I’m trying out two new techniques designed to make running more comfortable and easier: POSE and ChiRunning.

Both POSE and ChiRunning avoid heel-striking and favor either forefoot or mid-foot landing during each stride. Both techniques also tell you to pull or kick up your legs instead of pushing off the ground. From the videos that I’ve seen, you can use any running shoe with ChiRunning. Proponents of the POSE method prefer light-weight, thin-soled shoes like Puma H Streets. I bought a pair of H Streets a few days ago, and I learned that Felix is also replacing his running shoes with them too!

The H Streets are really light at 5.8 ounces, and running on them approaches the feel of barefoot running. One interesting thing I’ve found is that I can run in these shoes without my orthotics, and I feel fine. If I were to run in my normal running shoes without my orthotics, I would soon be experiencing pain along the bottom of my foot and shins. I guess typical shoes encase the foot in such a way that it can’t move naturally. Learning a new running technique takes time, and although I feel like I’m more efficient, there’s no doubt plenty of room for improvement. Such improvement will lead to the fulfillment of my ultimate goal to lose substantial poundage!

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12 thoughts on “Strike a POSE

  1. DaHamster says:

    Adam, Have you tried boxing, badminton, or tennis? I used to do biking, weight lifting, skiing, competitive badminton, ping-poing, and tennis. After I hurt my back, I have gained 50 pounds. I went from size 29 waist to size 38. : ( I have been spending the past three weeks playing Wii with my kids and my wife. Check out the Wii. You might like it. I wish you and your family the very best in 2007.

  2. Brian says:

    Hey Adam,

    My advice would be to just go to a decent running shoe-store (not Footlocker, etc), and have them watch you run in a pair of shoes. The decent shops will work with you through as many pairs of shoes as it takes until you’re comfortable with your current stride, and the shoes you’re wearing stabilize your foot. The most common foot problems are pronation and subination, and both can be helped with shoes. It takes someone actually watching you run, though, to see how your foot is rotating during foot-strike to see what you need. The shop by me (I’m in VA) puts you on a treadmill with a video camera pointed at your foot, and the monitor at eye-level. As you run and change pace, you can watch your foot rotate for yourself, try on a different pair of shoes, and see what happens and what fixes the foot. Other shops take you outside and either run with you, or watch as you run around in circles.
    I went from not being able to run 3 laps of of a sub-400meter track due to crushing pain in my calves, to running 3 marathons, tons of 10ks, 5ks, etc. Forget CHI-running, get some decent shoes that fix your foot problem(s) :-) And replace the shoes every 500 miles or so (the cushioning wears out long before any obvious signs of wear shows up on the uppers).

    Good luck.

  3. Matt H says:

    sweet! I think I will grab a pair of those shoes! I’ve been running pretty actively for the past few years including doing a few 12k races. I almost always have pain in my knee and ankles so I’m looking for some good shoes. I bought the $250 Adidas 1 (1.1) with the computer in it that regulates heel torque and bounce 3000xSec, but they are actually very heavy.

    On a side note, It looks like the person who posted early is suggesting the Wii is a good way to get/stay in shape? haha I might have to try this!

  4. Brian – I’ve actually been running just fine with my Asics with my custom orthotics. The reason I’m trying POSE or ChiRunning is to see if there’s a better way to run. Felix has had pretty good success with POSE, so it won’t hurt to try something new.

  5. Brian says:

    Hi Adam,

    Well, actually, it can hurt… Running coaches don’t generally change a runner’s stride (other than trying to hit 180 strides per minute [90 per foot]) because it can hurt in various ways…
    But whatever works man! Running is great, have fun.

  6. J.T. Conklin says:

    Hi Adam,

    Good luck with the running, but hope this doesn’t mean that you’ve given up on cycling. I really enjoyed “competing” with you on the low-key hillclimbs, and hope to see you again next year.

  7. I totally disagree with Brian. Only the best coaches strive to make a runner more efficient. Usually, this involves making them run more like Pose and Chi and barefoot. Midfoot and forefoot striking is essential to avoid injury and to maximize efficiency. Heel striking is counter to the way your foot/achillies/calf was naturally selected to work. Heel striking causes overpronation, too much shock transmitted to the rest of your body, which results in injuries. Read up online. Here is an important article to start with – the section, “IF the shoe fits – beware of it” at http://www.tullyrunners.com/Articles/RaucciArticle.htm

  8. Adam,

    I made the switch to the Pose Method starting about two years ago. My stats are:

    pre-Pose: 40-45 miles per week often feeling beat up and/or injured.
    post-Pose: I’m currently marathon training 7 days a week and 70 miles a week with NO injuries or that beat up feeling.

    My opinion is that when the body hurts, we are doing something wrong. We don’t need “better” shoes. We need to learn how to run correctly. From reading your post, it looks like you have a sense of this view.

    I sincerely wish you the best in your desire to run.

  9. Adam, I meant to mention that I’d be happy to help if you have questions about Pose. Of course, the Posetech forum is the best place for information, but I’m happy to help also.

  10. Mark – thanks for the comment. I’ll be updating this post and others on my experience with POSE. Some of my friends are also checking out the POSE method for themselves!

  11. lou says:

    For a while I ran barefoot at a local beach, but there would be months at a time when I couldn’t make it there at low tide, so I got shows again. I have been having great luck with Adidas’ AdiZero line. My favorite has been the AdiZero RC, but they stopped making them. I’ve found the minimalist shoes really do help me have control over my running– the foot remains flexible unlike built up shoes that are rigid and prevent your foot being active in your running. It’s not that your foot can’t move naturally in a regular running shoe, it is that your foot can’t move at all.

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