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New running technique could help soldiers pass fitness test

LANDSTUHL Germany — Army Sgt. Mia Lawrence detests running.

“I hate it, yeah,” she said during the classroom portion of a running clinic held here last month.

Lawrence, 25, was trying to tweak her running form with hopes of improving her time on the 2-mile run. She dreads this endurance component of the Army’s annual physical fitness test, which is required of all soldiers.

Lawrence and about a dozen other soldiers had just spent an hour on the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center track, trying to run in a way that felt awkward at first: shortening body strides, landing under the body on the balls of the feet, with feet under the torso, leaning forward and letting gravity do some of the work.

They were attempting the Pose Method, a running technique that its practitioners say can reduce injury and improve performance.

Such claims are appealing to the military, where injuries from running and fitness test failures from slow run times are costly and contribute to decreased readiness.

Some fitness experts in the Army, like Maj. Charles Blake, swear by it, which partly explains why the technique is gaining a foothold in military circles.

Blake, 45, a physical therapist and certified Pose running instructor who’s practiced Pose for about 10 years, led the running workshop at LRMC for about 45 Army and Air Force physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and technicians, and fitness trainers from around Europe.

“What I noticed when I started to train with this method, my heart rate didn’t get as high,” Blake said, referring to a time when he would run a few hours at a time and check his heart rate the next morning to monitor recovery.

“Mechanical efficiency leads to aerobic efficiency, which leads then to an overall (better) efficiency because I could recover faster and I could train more.”

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