Running

Book Review: The Running Revolution

In February I received a copy of The Running Revolution by Dr. Nicholas Romanov, creator of The Pose Method. The Pose Method is explained on the website as follows:

“The Pose Method of Running technique consists of three elements: Pose – Fall – Pull and it accepts gravity as the primary force for forward movement instead of muscular effort. To achieve the optimum running technique, the key is to make the greatest possible use of terrestrial gravity. A skilled, knowledgeable runner should be able to work with the force of gravity just as a yachtsman gains energy from the wind.”

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Before I began reading this book I hadn’t heard of The Pose Method. I am not a technical runner. I hated organized stretching in high school and I have always hated doing drills. I don’t put enough energy into these things even though I should. I just put my shoes on and run without thinking about the mechanics or the impact it has on my body. As I began reading this book I kept an open mind and I committed to trying some of the techniques.

Part 1 of the book was called Preparing for the Pose. This part of the book began in a story format narrated by Romanov and went on to explain how the body is designed to run. There were several testimonials scattered throughout this section from athletes who tried The Pose Method after being injured. Part 1 went on to discuss perception. This fascinated me because of my background in Psychology. Perception is such an interesting concept and in my opinion it helps to solidify the fact that we are all uniquely different with different thoughts, feelings, and understandings of the world. The book encourages runners to keep a running journal to track their perceptions, focus on the mind-body connection, and detail their runs. I have always kept a running journal in one format or another, but lately my entries haven’t been very expansive. In the past few years I have taken a more laid back approach to running and I’ve been enjoying it much more. No matter what kind of journal or running log you keep it is beneficial whether it is vague like mine or detailed like the one the book described. Part 1 also talked about goal setting, focus, reflection post-workout, reframing, and how to work these aspects into your running journal! I was thrilled to read about these skills because they are all sport psychology skills, even journaling! For those of you who don’t know, I am in the final year of my graduate program in sport psychology. Seeing these skills implemented into a training program excites me just as much as a freshly brewed pot of coffee!

Part 1 continued to please me because it recommends running in zero drop shoes. We all know I love my Altra running shoes, and they are a zero drop shoe! Before it got too technical I discovered 2 personal connections to the content of The Running Revolution: sport psychology techniques and zero drop shoes. Then, the book gradually got technical and began to discuss how to film your runs and analyze them. I am not a scientific person and I can honestly say I did not do this. This was something I just couldn’t commit to, but I can see how it would be beneficial to new runners, injury prone runners, and very scientific minded runners. The rest of Part 1 consisted of stretches, dynamic movements, and strengthening drills to increase mobility and stability. These stretches were explained in great detail with pictures. I am a visual person so I found the pictures to be very helpful. I did do some of these stretches. As I said earlier, I am not a fan of stretching and I tend to make up excuses not to do it. The times I did these stretches and exercises I felt much less sore. They do help, I just had to bribe myself with watching Gilmore Girls while I did them because dating back to my youth I’ve never been interested in stretching. I am glad that I committed to doing these stretches and exercises when I did them.

Part 2 focused on 10 lessons to help you run more naturally. These lessons focused on form and the different phases of The Pose Method. It discussed the anatomy of a stride and went through several drills to help a runner master The Pose Method. This information was fantastic, but as I said earlier I am not a technical runner so I couldn’t convince myself to do all of these drills. However, I would recommend them to someone who struggles with injuries because I was able to see the scientific benefit of slowly altering your running form and building strength. My favorite part of this section came at the very end when Romanov discussed the use of visualization, another sport psychology technique! I don’t use this technique enough in my own running so I appreciated this friendly reminder. The book specifically asks that you visualize yourself running with perfect form. I found much more success visualizing myself having good runs, feeling strong, running up mountains, and running fast than I did visualizing myself running with perfect form. Visualization is personal and specific to each runner and I LOVE that this book mentioned the use of visualization; it is a powerful skill.

Part 3 is more in depth, more specific, and more analytical. Basically, it provides more details about The Pose Method, transitioning into this style of running, and a 9 week schedule on how to do so. Additionally, there are more pictures of drills with detailed explanations. Part 3 also covers running on different terrains and explains how to correct a variety of injuries. Since I am not currently injured, I cannot assess whether or not these techniques would help resolve an injury.

Part 4 discussed training methods and training plans. It also included terminology, which would be helpful for new runners. I have a very specific way of training that works for me. I believe that we all do. Each runner is different and has different needs. Training has to be adapted over time and developed to meet your individual needs. The information in this section would be helpful for a new runner who is just beginning their journey and discovering what their needs are. It is good information, it just wasn’t right for me.

Overall, reading this book was a positive experience. It was informative and educational. It had great content and a lot of information for improving strength, form, and flexibility. I especially enjoyed seeing how sport psychology techniques were integrated into the material and I loved the mention of a zero drop shoe. Unfortunately, I found the book to be a bit too technical for the kind of runner that I am. I don’t place a lot of emphasis on running form, stride, drills, or stretching, but some runners do. If you are that kind of runner this book is for you!

 

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