PERCEPTION IN POSE METHOD OF RUNNING. SUPPORT: EFFORTS AND MUSCLE TENSION
Perception of support has several characteristics or elements with which we operate, in order to produce an efficient running stride.
From the point of view of Pose Method, support represents just a pivotal point or a pivoting movement of the body when the body is falling forward with the gravitational pull and through this, gaining its horizontal acceleration. To provide for this movement, we really don't need to exert too much effort. All our muscles' efforts are basically concentrated or focused on the finishing point of support, when the balance of the body is over, and it becomes necessary to change support by removing the support foot from the ground.
The efforts for this, are taking place between two perceptions: 1) perceiving the body weight pressure on the ball of the foot, and then 2) losing perception of this pressure.
We move through these two states of awareness or perception: pressure, and absence of pressure. Because in real running this happens so very fast, our timing of pulling is usually delayed. The challenge then is how to avoid unnecessary muscle tension and instead have the right timing of efforts for pulling the foot from the ground.
Too much muscle tension is mutually exclusive with pulling the foot from the ground at the right time. This is caused by a reciprocal relationship between the muscle efforts produced on landing and the ability to remove the foot from the ground.
We only need to have enough muscle tension to hold our body weight and not more than this. Through developing better perception, we are able to gauge this just right, and be free to pull the foot from support with the right timing.
If we produce more effort than our body weight requires, it immediately extends the muscle tension in time so that the muscles that are supposed to pull (the hamstrings) are unable to overcome the tension of the front muscles, which are holding the body weight.
This is particularly true, if you enter the support phase through pushing action. When your mind and your orientation are on pushing, it creates unnecessary muscle tension, which prevents you from pulling. You can't pull while you are "holding". To avoid this we should develop a better sensitivity to the concepts: "muscle effort" and "muscle tension" and the consequences of overdoing it.
Our goal then is to learn proper muscle perception. There are several things to keep in mind while doing this. The following guidelines will help you to create the perception of an effortless and weightless running stride:
- First of all, we have to avoid any thoughts and desires about pushing action
- Second, we have to be oriented to, or focused on, pulling only
- Third, there are no efforts to move the leg forward or up - we are only pulling the foot from the ground under the hip
- Fourth, there should be no efforts to keep your body weight on the ground. Whatever happens on landing, is just a gravitational reflex or muscles' gravitational reflex to hold the body weight, and there should be not more effort than necessary expended on that
Here are several drills and exercises that will help you to develop the skill of perception during support.
Before you begin, start in standing Pose position keeping the body weight on the ball of the foot, and the hips and shoulders in alignment. Feel the pressure of your own body weight on the balls of your feet. There should be a feeling of effortlessness along with the sensation of just a little pressure on your feet. The exercises are as follows:
- Hops in place on two legs while pulling the feet from the ground
- Hops with a jump-rope on two legs while pulling the feet from the ground
- Front Lunge (see the book, drill book or video) in place and with forward movement
- Change of support - pulling the foot from the ground and catching your body weight with the other foot (in place and with forward movement)
- Running barefoot on the grass (emphasis on developing awareness of the body weight balanced on the forefoot)
- Combine all of these drills with a normal short run for 30-60m