The Press (USA)

New method of running could reduce injuries
by Joe Szozda

Joe Sparks wondered if he'd ever run again as well as he once did. After all, his orthopedic surgeon, a runner himself, told Joe he wouldn't. That was lifealtering news for a triathlete, but a funny thing happened an his way to recovery - Joe discovered a new way of running.

That new way, The Pose Method of Running, has reduced Joe's times and gives hope to the aging runners concerned about joints. After knee surgery to repair torn meniscus, Joe started his rehab. In a; triathlon, he swims one mile, bikes 25 miles, and runs a 10-K. He soon matched his best times in swimming and biking, but couldn't meet his normal time of 48 minutes for a l0-K.

Joe shared his frustration with a fellow runner who recommended he try the POSE Method of Running, a revolutionary technique devised by Dr. Nicholas Romanov, a Russian scientist who has consulted many world-class runners.

Dr. Romanov's bio-mechanist, studied animals and machines to discover how man can run more effortlessly. If running were treated more I like a learned skill with its own set of rules and exercises, times and injuries would decrease. He observed most runners are heel-strikers, that is, thev hit their heel first and roll off the ball of their foot. He contends this method puts too much stress on the knees an hips. To counter that stress, manufacturers running -shoes with big, padded heels.

Dr. Romanov took a lesson from the animal world. Animals run on the balls of their feet. This style is a central tenet in the POSE method. Do it right and your heels never touch the ground.

Other components are keeping knees bent and stride compact so that your weight is directly over the balls of your feet. Meanwhile, you pull your ankle up from the ground in a vertical line under your hips in a continuous motion like a wheel.

Pulling up your ankle with the hamstring, versus pushing down your heel is difficult to master at first, Joe says.

"This is the hard part. You're free falling. It's kind of scary at first because when you run you stick your legs out first, but here you fall first then you let your legs come. And, you'll notice you won't be landing on your. heel," he explains.

"The running pose is a whole body pose. It vertically aligns the shoulders, hips, and ankles with the support leg, while standing on the ball of the foot.

This creates an S-like shape. The runner then changes: to pose form from one leg to the other by falling forward allowing gravity to do the work. The support foot is pulled from the ground to allow the body to fall forward, while the other foot drops freely to change support," he adds.

This creates movement with little energy resulting in faster times, easier running and fewer injuries, claims Dr. Romanov.

Joe learned the POSE method and entered the Sylvania Triathlon a year and a half after he last ran it. He cut his run time by five- minutes and finished second in his age group, his best finish. In subsequent meets he ran his first sub 40 minute 10-K and his first sub 20 minute 5-K. These performances in 2001 at age 45 come after eight years of competing in triathlons.

Joe's success led him to seek certification in POSE so he can teach other runners. He will begin teaching individuals in January. That's in time for those of us who've made a New Year's resolution to get in better shape. And, if you do, consult your physician as you would before starting any exercise program