When I think back to my time in elementary & middle school, the day we had to run a mile in P.E. was, quite possibly, the worst day of the year for me.
I dreaded it the way some kids dread the new school year starting, eating nothing but vegetables for dinner, or being sent to bed early as a punishment (ironically, these are all now things I thoroughly look forward to as an adult). Running was the activity that made me feel awful (physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.), and I felt personally attacked by running as a hobby.
As I got older and found my stride (no pun intended) entering the world of fitness, running was something I was never “good” at. I dabbled in recreational running a bit before I found CrossFit, and although I never got to the point where I really enjoyed it, I will say I eventually quit hating it and learned to enjoy bit and pieces of it. Throughout my time in CrossFit, running has been something that I don’t mind doing IN a workout, but I am still never thrilled when I see that running IS the workout.
But, like many things in life, we tend to enjoy things that we naturally excel at and have a slightly less enthusiastic attitude towards things that we find difficult. So, what do we do? We show up for the things we’re good at (LOOK HOW GREAT I AM!) and practice them in our free time. We avoid the things that are harder for us (DON’T LOOK AT HOW NOT GREAT I AM!) and rarely practice them. This is a pretty natural response, because fitness is already challenging enough, and for most of us, we do it to feel better about ourselves, not worse!
Throughout my time in CrossFit, I’ve recognized a pretty common theme: most people don’t like running. When there is running written on the whiteboard, this usually conjures up some choice words, a pinch of moaning and groaning, and a slightly smaller turnout to classes. Does this sound like you? If it does, that’s ok! But, I’m guessing that’s because you see yourself as not being a “good runner” (whatever that means to you), and since we’re often told that running is a natural movement, we fall into the belief that we’re either “naturally” good at running, or we’re not. Au contraire, my friends! Like all things in CrossFit, running is a skill that can be learned and improved on – provided that you’re willing to work on it!
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take part in the CrossFit Pose Running course. I will admit, taking a course on running may not have been my first choice of certifications to attend (because, c’mon, there are so many other sexy certs out there – gymnastics, weightlifting, powerlifting, and kettlebells, to name a few), but I knew that it would be worthwhile not only to help others learn, but also to improve my own running.
What exactly is Pose running? In short, the Pose running method puts our bodies in the safest and most efficient way to run, by going through three elements within our stride: the pose, the fall, and the pull. Our instructor for the day, Valerie Hunt of RunRx and Pose running method expert, took us through a packed schedule of lectures, drills, gait analysis and demonstrations on how the Pose running method can really improve one’s efficiency and speed when running any kind of distance. She admitted that it can be tough to get people excited about running, but by giving people the tools to run properly, it can be truly game-changing because, again, running – much like a snatch, clean & jerk, pull-up, or toes to bar – is a skill, and all skills can be improved upon.
I’m going to be honest: I struggled pretty hard with some of the drills.
I don’t think of myself as someone who overthinks things a lot, but being as I’d never really thought much about running (other than “just get it done and don’t be last”), to suddenly have to start thinking about hip placement, landing differently, knee movement, pulling my foot up fast enough, and not doing this, that or the other…it was hard! But, after trying close to a dozen different drills to help with technique, I really started to feel the difference in the Pose method – I felt faster, lighter, and like I could run for days. At one point I even said out loud, “oh my gosh, I feel so fast!” It turns out that most of us are doing WAY too much while running in an attempt to be faster and more efficient; with the drills she gave us, we were all able to feel a difference in how body positioning, footwork, and stride adjustment actually DOES make running less painful, less tiring, and helps us be more powerful. SCORE! By the end of the day, I was actually pretty jazzed about getting to try out all my new skills in a running workout.
So, now that you, fellow CrossFitter, know that running is something that is a skill that can be tweaked, adapted, changed, and improved upon – how do you feel about that? I hope it helps you come into our next running workout with a refreshed perspective, and a mindset that is open to learning, because we are ready to help you run with less pain, be more efficient, increase your power, and be fast like lightning!