Method Running Technique
Dr. Nicholas Romanov
Elements of Running
by Dr. Nicholas Romanov
it so important to learn good running technique?
running, as any other movement, is an art that should be learned and perfected.
And while strength, speed and endurance always have individual limits, the technique
of movement can be perfected infinitely.
This latter fact will allow the
runner to drastically increase endurance by lowering the body metabolism 30-50%,
and oxygen consumption up to 20%. As a result, exercise heart rates will be lowered
Most importantly, effective running technique lowers the possibility
of injuries and increases running speed. Despite all this, most people think "I
already know how to run," and never spend one second on technique during all the
hours they spend running.
Think about it - lowered metabolism, oxygen consumption
and heart rate, reduced injuries and faster times. If this doesn't convince you
of the significance of technique, then I doubt I'll find anything else to attract
What exactly do we mean by running technique, and, particularly,
its effectiveness? First of all, by running technique we refer to a specific system
of body movements and its parts, aimed at a horizontal transfer - from point A
to point B. And here we measure efficiency by one of the most important indices:
That is, the lower the energy expenditures, with all
other indices (speed or distance) being equal, the more effective our technique
Gravity as a Friend
My point of view considers running as
a free-falling of the body, secured by alternating support from one leg to the
other. The body falls due to gravitational forces and the quantity of movement
(momentum = mv), which moves the body forward. The basic principle of this technique
is "do nothing, don't interfere" - which reflects the minimization of energy expenses.
Of course, we can't avoid all energy expenditures, so we are talking about
minimizing ATP energy expenses, which are used for active contraction of muscles.
You should understand that any movement, including running, is performed on the
bases of interaction of two groups of forces: 1) gratuitous (without using ATP)
and 2) muscular contractions (using ATP breakdown as its energy source). The ratio
between these two groups of forces is what defines the effectiveness of running
Hypothetically speaking, we could call these forces external
and internal, and could compare the external ones to the wind and internal to
the actions of the sailor, who directs the sails to catch a near headwind to move
his boat forward. In this case, the speed of movement is defines not so much by
the strength of the athlete, but his ability to use the external forces for his
We proceed here from the fact that movement and moving forces
are all around and inside us, they only are frozen, deterred or stopped with the
help of our muscles. And in order to cause movement, one must release the body
from muscular tension for free-falling and then return the body to some height
using muscular contraction. Simply stated, since your support alternates from
one leg to another, the leg that's falling needs to be relaxed as gravity brings
it down and the leg that's pushing off does so very quickly with just enough exertion
to raise the leg to a height reflective of your current speed (pace).
this sense, alternation of support from one leg to another is simply reproducing
the cycle of your falling body, where speed depends on how quickly this cycle
Figuratively speaking, the legs are running under the body,
preventing it from falling to the ground completely and lifting the body's center
of mass a minimal height (3-4 cm with the best runners), which is enough even
for the speediest sprint running, to say nothing of long distance running.
muscular work with this running technique (which I call the POSE method) is performed
only in one place on support (in the running pose), by the muscles of back surface
of the thigh (the hamstring), drawing the foot along the vertical line under the
pelvis. And this movement per se, breaking contact with the ground, triggers the
interaction of all external forces for the whole cycle of a running stride. The
rest of the stride requires no active work!
Thus, the concrete elements
of the running technique may be summed up simply. First of all, running is basically
a change of support from one leg to another, which should be done with legs always
bent at the knees. The feet should always be kept under the General Center of
Mass (GCM) of the body. The legs should always land on the balls of the feet (mid-foot)
and the heels should stay a centimeter or so above the ground.
you should never straighten your legs and never move them forward.
you should just try to pick up your ankles under the hips (hamstring work).
Fourth, don't be concerned about the stride length and range of motion - just
maintain the frequency of strides.
Fifth, you should not use your legs
to move your body forward. You have to allow your body to move forward by itself
and not interfere with this movement. You can imagine your movement as an uninterrupted
free-fall forward with the change of support (on your feet) serving to check this
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