How should I train and learn the Pose Method? It sounds as two controversial things, excluding each other. Indeed, when talking of endurance training, our common sense tells us that we need to run substantial mileage in order to achieve our goals. From this point of view, any emphasis on running technique will obviously cut our mileage. This looks scary, as it seems to be bringing the loss of our training ability and aerobic capacity.
We don't think of technique as a factor of improvement of our performance because the main factor there, in our opinion, is our aerobic capacity. This understanding has long been established and ingrained in our minds as a major paradigm of running. So the first time we start thinking about technique improvement, comes only when our nagging injuries stop us from running at all. Then we start thinking of another way of doing it, maybe not so much related with injuries. Unfortunately, it's only this kind of people that I am dealing with in my clinics. Sometimes all 100% of attendees have a history of this or that injury.
The idea that technique could be the main factor of their performance improvement almost never crosses the mind of any runner. "Technique", which means the skill of doing, in translation from Greek, is never trained and still remains a limiting factor of runners' performance in long distance running and marathon, being still an alien philosophy in the running field.
But look at the finish line of any marathon with competitive and recreational runners and you'll see some kind of a battle field with people wobbling and hobbling around. Do they look like that they are having any problems with breathing or oxygen consumption capacity? Do they run out of oxygen, or out of legs? The answer is right there, in front of you. Most people couldn't handle marathon because of muscle pain and soreness, blisters and black toenails, tendon and ligament pain, etc. After the marathon some people couldn't walk even to their hotel.
It is not very encouraging picture for your next performance, but all of these problems are directly related to your skill of doing, that is your running technique. My long time experience with preparing people for marathon positively indicates that improvement in technique during marathon training is crucial for finishing marathon without substantial problems and in many cases with PR's. Some reports about this you can find on our running forum
What makes technique such a powerful factor for improving running performance? First of all, it eliminates possible injuries for all body tissues. Second, it reduces the fear of being injured, which gives the runner a freedom of training and racing, where the speed and volume of running are not so scary anymore. When these factors are eliminated, then our psychological and mental conditions are devoted to the quality of training and racing.
From this point of view, your racing performance in marathon is a mental exercise, where the focus is on the main action in running technique. In the Pose Method the main action is to pull the foot from the ground. This is the last element in the chain of events into which we could break down the whole running.
Indeed, just think about it. What could you really do, instead of this element, to continue running? Nothing. In the final account, everything will come down to the question of whether you can or can't pull your foot from the ground in order to continue running. All your aerobic capacity and everything else are just a part of the system to serve the action of pulling the foot from the ground. No matter how fast or how long you run, these parameters do not contribute to your ability to perform this action. In training for marathon technique is the crucial element to focus on, and this is what I am doing with my students and athletes, who do not run more than half marathon in training, but nevertheless complete it with their best performance.
My recommendations for runners are based on this practical and theoretical knowledge, plus knowledge from exercise physiology. In "Physiology of Sport and Exercise" by Jack H. Wilmore and David L. Costill (1994) you can find out that "research has documented that VO2 max increases with physical training only for 8 to 12 weeks, then this value plateaus, despite continued, higher intensity training. Although VO2 max doesn't continue to increase, the participants continue to improve their endurance performance".
So after that only skill improvement is the factor of performance improvement. I just want to remind you that skill is the ability to use all available sources in order to reach the goal. An aerobic capacity is just one of the tools we are using in our development, but in the hierarchical order, technique and mental condition are much higher priorities through which our aerobic and other capacities can manifest themselves.
Therefore, concentrating on technique improvement is more efficient than just accumulating the volume of running. Technique should be a factor of limiting the length and speed of running. Technique is the mental focus in our racing performance. And technique is the main priority for recovery process after the racing performance.