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Does Pose Running Really Decrease Running Economy?

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by NewsBot, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


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    In a number of threads, this paper on Pose Running has been quoted:

    Effect of a global alteration of running technique on kinematics and economy
    George M. Dallam; Randall L. Wilber; Kristen Jadelis; Graham Fletcher; Nicholas Romanov
    Journal of Sports Sciences, Volume 23 Issue 7 2005 Pages 757 – 764
    Recently there was this blog post critiquing this study:
    A Critique of One Study of Pose Running Technique
    which concluded:
    They have just posted again on this study:
    A Critique of One Study of Pose Running Technique - Part II
  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I did find this post from that blog interesting:

    The Use of Scientific Studies in Blog Posts
    which is exactly what the barefoot running community have done with the way the misuse, misquote and misrepresent research! And then they get ****** when we do a critical appraisal of the research that they claim shows support for barefoot running being better, when in fact, it does not! ...don't figure!
  3. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  4. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    I'm very gratified to see that my blog posts have been quoted several times on this thread. I had wondered if anyone bothered to read them. I think it is great that the Podiatry community is exploring this question, and not necessarily accepting the results of the following study at face value.

    Effect of a global alteration of running technique on kinematics and economy
    George M. Dallam; Randall L. Wilber; Kristen Jadelis; Graham Fletcher; Nicholas Romanov
    Journal of Sports Sciences, Volume 23 Issue 7 2005 Pages 757 – 764

    I'm also happy to see some criticism of the misuse of scientific studies by the barefoot running community.

    Ken Schafer
  5. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    If you get bored one evening, there are almost 1000 posts in this thread:
    Barefoot Running Debate
  6. Jenene Lovell

    Jenene Lovell Active Member

    does anyone have a link that I can read up on this? I dont know much about it except that you change the way you run so that you dont wear orthotics? Before I comment, I'd like to at least know what I am commenting on...
  7. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    Here are some links
  8. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I have four problems with "{insert technique name} Running":

    1. The almost religious like fervour that the "Church" goes about touting "{insert technique name} Running" and the arguments and strategies that they use are no different to a religious like debate.

    2. The belief that "{insert technique name} Running" is the ONE best way to run and everyone should run that way

    3. The misuse, misquoting, misrepresentation and misunderstanding of research to prove that "{insert technique name} Running" is better

    4. The criticism of other "{insert technique name} Running" techniques as evidence that their "{insert technique name} Running" is better. If "{insert technique name} Running" is really any good, it would stand on its "own two feet" (excuse the pun), rather than stand on perceived faults with other techniques.
  9. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    Most of the well known running techniques are really only minor variations of each other. Most of them are based, at least in part, on scientific research. I have never really seen much in the way of "religious wars" between the those who practice these technique because they are more similar than different.

    Where the "religious wars" kick in on the theory behind the technique. Most theories of running maintain that that the runner pushes himself forward, but others like Pose maintain that the the runner falls forward.

    I don't see this rivalry as anything different from what has occurred in other forms of athletics. Just look at what happened in high jumping, there are also plenty of examples of these rivalries in the martial arts and yoga communities.

    The only difference between running and other forms of athletics is that, for some strange reason, many people believe that there is no such thing as good running technique. Furthermore they believe that everyone naturally discovers his or her own best running technique just by running. Unfortunately for these people, the laws of physics dictate that there must be an optimal way for the human form to move within the gravitational field of the Earth.
  10. I have no idea where you got these ideas from. People have been coaching better running techniques at least a half a century. Why you think that "many people believe that there is no such thing as good running technique"? And by the way, good running technique, for most runners, is not using the Pose technique. Good running technique is a heel-striking gait for most runners at slower running speeds.

    The law of physics also dictate that for each runner's specific structure and function, they will self select the optimal kinematic pattern by which to conserve metabolic energy during any activity. Coaching someone to run on their forefoot, is not the optimal kinematic pattern for most humans to run at slower speeds.
  11. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    You are right that have been running techniques taught for a long time, but the popular techniques that are taught now do turn to science for improvement and validation.

    Just read the popular running literature since the beginning of the running boom in the 1970's. There are constant references to the "fact" that that there is no such thing as good running technique. I just attended RCAA coaches session where they basically said exactly that. Where did you get the idea that this is not a common belief in the running community?

    This is demonstrably wrong. They self regulate within the gate that they are using, but not to using a perfect gate. I can and have gotten people to use less energy by changing their technique.

    Clearly you and I disagree on many elements of what good technique is. However, there are very few people studying running technique who would agree with you about heal striking at any speed.
  12. First of all, Ken, let's go back to English class so that everyone can understand what you are talking about:

    I walk with a certain gait pattern, but can also walk through a gate into the garden.

    The plantar aspect of the heel of the foot may develop a pressure ulceration that may heal over time with pressure reduction.

    Lesson over, for now.

    I have been a competetive distance runner since the 1970's and have competed with many high caliber runners, have coached other runners over the years and have been teaching my runner-patients to run with better running form over the past 27 years. Please show me any written expert reference from the last 40 years where your statement is supported, "There are constant references to the "fact" that that there is no such thing as good running technique."

    However, the scientific research on running does show that individuals will self-select the most metabolically efficient running stride length (Cavanagh PR, Williams KR: The effect of stride length variation on oxygen uptake during distance running. Med. Sci. Sports Exercise, 14: 30-35, 1982):

    In addition, when attempts are made to change the optimum kinematics of a runner drastically, such as trying to train them to become "POSE" runners, the scientific research has shown us that metabolic efficiency suffers (Dallam GF, Wilber RL, Jadeles K, Fletcher G, Romanov N: Effect of a global alteration on running technique on kinematics and economy. J Sports Sciences, 23:757-764, 2005.)

    Do you have any scientific research which refutes the claim that experienced runners will tend to self-select their most metabolically efficient running kinematic pattern over time? It is my belief that most runners don't need to be coached by individuals who make a living, for example by selling their "running gait improvement sessions" over the internet, telling runners that they have improper running form simply because they are heel-strikers and need to change to a new running technique, such as POSE running. Where is your scientific evidence, Ken, that demonstrates that what you are selling over the internet actually does anything useful for anyone, other than increase your own income??

    Attached Files:

  13. I remember having lectures as an undergraduate from a psychology lecturer who came in and put some slides up in which he'd spelt out "gate", but was meaning "gait" on his slides. I sat there and thought to myself, this feller knows **** all about gait. Funny how posts like this one trigger such memories. You're right about one thing though: this is demonstrably wrong. Suggestions of "I wouldn't trust you to sit the right way around on a toilet seat" let alone start trying to fanny about with my "gate" spring to mind (spot of oil on the hinges is all it needs).
  14. krschafer

    krschafer Member


    1. I apologize for my spelling errors. Thank you for correcting me. I do have dyslexia, and I do not always catch my errors.

    2. I have simply been giving my sincere opinion about running technique. I'm not going to apologize for getting paid for teaching runners Pose technique. I'm sure you do not work for free at your private practice.

    I take what I do very seriously, and if I thought there was a better way, I would not hesitate to change what I teach. However, if you and others on this form think that I should stop posting because I charge people for Pose lessons, then I will stop posting. If it makes you feel any better, my coaching business has never been profitable. I do it because I love working with runners not for the money.

    Also, I also have never said that Pose is better then anything else out there. In fact, I've indicate that I think most of the popular running techniques are very similar. However, I'm more familiar with Pose than the others, so that is what I teach. I do think that Pose is very effective, but I am open to idea that there may be better alternatives.

    3. Since most of the popular running techniques are so similar, and there is not one, that I know of, which encourages a heel landing at any speed, I think that strongly suggest most technique experts think that forefoot landing is better than heel landing. If you know of any specific running technique that encourages a heel landing, please let me know about it and any literature that may exist about it. I will definitely investigate it.

    4. As I said, if you go to the popular running literature, like Runner's World, you will see there is a common perception about there being no such thing as good running technique. I did not say that there were any experts expressing this opinion, and that was my point entirely. This is a common misconception in the running community base on something other than expert opinion and scientific research. If the RRCA is expressing this opinion, then clearly it is well established in the running community. I must admit that I'm surprised that you seem unaware of this general misperception in the running community.

    5. I have read the study "Effect of a global alteration of running technique on kinematics and economy". I have already done a right up on how poorly this study was designed, and that given all of the design flaws of this study, I am unwilling to accept the results of this study as significant. I’m sure, given your academic credentials, some of the flaws must have been obvious to you as well.

    I have not read "The effect of stride length variation on oxygen uptake during distance running". I'll assume for now that it was well designed study, and I will try to find it and read it. However, based on what was in your post, this study does not address my point. I do believe, that people will adopt an optimal stride length given whatever technique they run with. But, my point is that by changing a runner’s technique, can he or she run more efficiently?

    My experience indicates that most people can run at the same speeds using less energy by changing their technique. Whether or not changing a runner’s technique results in a new or altered stride length is not something I have ever worried about. My primary concern is are they able to run faster with same effort, or are they able to run at the same speed with less effort. Just because someone optimizes their stride length given their current technique that does not mean altering their technique will not improve their running economy. These issues are not the same.
  15. krschafer

    krschafer Member


    I forgot to make one point.

    I absolutely do not have the scientific evidence to back up all of my opinions, but the science does not yet exist to refute them either. Most of the scientific studies I've read so far (both pro and con) were so poorly designed that it is clear to me that much more basic research needs to be done. Fortunately that research is under way.

    As for heel-striking specifically. The arguments both pro and con, that I've read, are highly speculative. However, in my opinion, the arguments against heel-striking seem to be much better thought out, and based on much less speculation. My experience coaching is that runners who change from heel striking to a forefoot landing both improve their speed, and reduce injuries after an initial period of adjustment.

    One more thing, it is also important to point out there much more to running technique than how a runner lands. Talking about technique as heel vs. forefoot landing is not really a very good way to discuss this topic. In my opinion, the landing is the result of doing everything else correctly. It is not first thing to address when working on a runner's technique.
  16. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    I apologize for my poor writing. Thanks for your humorous way of pointing it out. :)
  17. Ken:

    How do you know that the people you are training in POSE technnique are "using less energy"? Is this just a guess, or are you measuring oxygen consumption? This seems contrary to the research findings.
  18. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    First of all, it only contradicts some very deeply flawed research. Like at least one of the studies you mentioned previously. I emphasis this because too many people seem to accept much of this research at face value without any critical analysis of the the design.

    Furthermore, one study is rarely proof of anything. It is simply a small part of a larger body of evidence. In the case of running technique, that body of evidence needs a lot more work before hard conclusions can be drawn. Until then, people like you and me are left to try to make sense of very limited data, much of which is of questionable quality.

    I haven't validated anything via scientific studies or VO2 testing. I simply do not have the resources to do so. However, before starting to work with someone on technique, I usually have them do a time trial for a specific distance. While working on their technique, I know that they go through at least several weeks of detaining from a physiological standpoint. Once I feel their technique is reasonably good, I immediately have them run another time trial. Despite the fact they are detained physiologically, they almost always have a faster run in the second time trial.

    I also have experimented using heart rate monitors measuring heart rate at various speeds. Usually I see a reduction in heart rate at all speeds after working on technique. However, I have not really done much with this.

    So to be completely honest, I don't know that they are using less energy. However that would be the most reasonable explanation for the results I'm getting. The people I work with are faster even though they are less fit.

    Although I'm nowhere near as fast as I was as teenager in the 1970s, when I started learning Pose technique 2 years ago, I went through exactly same pattern. I was about 8% faster after working on my technique, despite 3 months of detaining. Also when I started, I did not fully understand Pose technique, so I was also faster despite implementing the technique sub-optimally.

    I'm sorry that I can only offer anecdotal evidence, but I'm not claiming that it is anything more than that. I should also mention that I have actually had very few people willing go through the period of detaining necessary to work on their technique. Most people lose interest once they realize that changing their technique is not going to happen in one or two lessons. So I can't claim that I've experienced these results with every runner I've coached, but only on the few willing to make the effort.
  19. Ken:

    So, in answer to my question, it seems that you really don't know whether the people you are training in POSE technique become more metabolically efficient....you are just guessing from your anecdotal experience.

    For your information, heart rate monitoring and running time trials are not reliable methods of measuring metabolic efficiency.

    In conclusion, if we are being completely objective about this discussion, unless you know of any scientific studies otherwise, Ken, we would then need to go along with the one study that shows that POSE running decreases the metabolic efficiency of running (Dallam GF, Wilber RL, Jadeles K, Fletcher G, Romanov N: Effect of a global alteration on running technique on kinematics and economy. J Sports Sciences, 23:757-764, 2005.)

    In addition, my anecdotal experience as a physician, is that half the people being trained into POSE running develop new injuries that they never had before as a result of being taught to run differently. Have you considered that possibly all POSE running is doing is switching the harmful stresses of running from one anatomical location to another within the foot and lower extremity of the runner....... and making them less efficient at the same time?
  20. Why are you detaining your runners? Are you training criminals so that they will be forced to run with shorter, lighter strides when chased by law enforcement officials?

    de·tain (d-tn)
    tr.v. de·tained, de·tain·ing, de·tains
    1. To keep from proceeding; delay or retard.
    2. To keep in custody or temporary confinement: The police detained several suspects for questioning. The disruptive students were detained after school until their parents had been notified.
    3. Obsolete To retain or withhold (payment or property, for example).
  21. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    I'm sorry for my misspelling of detraining. Again, I'm am a little dyslexic, and I don't always catch these types of errors especially when doing very little proof reading.

    As I have already indicated, I did not claim that I had proven anything with my methods. I fully admitted that. However, It is not objective to accept the results of a deeply flawed study because there is nothing else available, that is actually highly biased. The objective response is to say we have no good data on which to base a scientific opinion, and more research must be done.

    I fully believe you on your experiences with runners trying to use Pose. I will even speculate on the reasons they were getting injured.

    1. Poor training on the technique. Probably with an over-emphasis on the forefoot landing.

    2. The runner trying to do more mileage than he or she is ready for. If the runner bypasses the time needed to adapt to running with a new technique, he or she is very likely to get injured.

    To make an unbiased assessment of Pose, at a minimum you need to be able to answer these questions:

    1. What training did your runners receive?
    2. What was the quality of their coaching?
    2. How much coaching did they actually get?
    3. How good were they at the technique? - There is an objective standard for Pose running technique, and this should be easy to measure.
    4. How quickly did they try to return to their normal training levels?

    None of my runners has ever been injured, if they were willing to do their training by the numbers. Only one runner injured himself because he did not want to wait before returning to high mileage training.
  22. These comments always send of alarm bells in my mind .

    Do you know anythíng about preferred motion pathways ?
  23. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    Why would coaching people in a way that prevents them from getting injured be a cause for alarm?

    I don't know much about preferred motion pathways. I believe it is a subject related to orthotics. Is that correct? Please tell me about them. and how they relate to this subject.

  24. 1. Anyone who claims that there is only one way to run, one type of orthotic device etc really does not understand the human body, you claim that none of your people get injured, I really do think that there is only a few conclusions that can be made here.
    1 you don´t train anyone or'
    2 people don´t tell you when they are injured or
    3 you don´t push the athletes to their full capacity or
    4 you have a group of genetic freaks and you are the luckiest trainer in the world.

    People who push themselves in sport get injuries it´s the nature of finding the next boundaries. A job on the trainer and or medical person is to limit the cost of these injuries.

    2.Preferred motion pathways ( my take on it) the body is very efficient or lazy depending on how you look at it. It will look at the easiest most natural way to complete a task, ie use the less muscle work etc. Everyone will do this task slightly differently. ie preferred motion for that individual.

    Now for some running in ´pose ´technique will be their most efficient of others heel striking will be more efficient etc, now at different speeds different striking patterns will become more efficient but again will be different individual to individual.

    So say we take 100 runners we say 25 as at their most efficient running ´pose´ but we make all run ´pose ´75 of these runners will be using more energy to run ´pose´ and will not be running efficiently.

    What a good trainer will do is make fine tune adjustments to the most eficient running form of the athlete to aid the preferred motion pathways, but not make wholesale changes and say this is the only way to run.

    We should all thank someone that no body tried to change Michael Johnson running technique - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2W_T77vwfQ&feature=related
  25. krschafer

    krschafer Member

    1. I should have been more precise in my statement. I have never injured a runner while training him or her on Pose Running technique. I did not mean to say I've never injured a running in training. I was discussing Pose training not training in general.

    2. I never said there was only one way to run. In fact I said that I am open to other techniques. However there are clearly wrong ways to run.

    3. Some of what you say I agree with, however you are getting into areas and terminology that I'm not very familiar with, so I'm not going try to discuss them here.

    4. Michael Johnson displays perfect Pose technique, as does Usain Bolt. Fortunately for them, their technique is natural. Most people do not have such naturally good form, and it is my opinion that most runners can benefit from learning Pose or one of the other running techniques that are out there.
  26. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Running biomechanics before and after Pose® method gait retraining in distance runners
    Rachel X. Wei et al
    Sports Biomechanics: 31 Jul 2019

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