Sixteen Screaming Eagle Soldiers hit the books and the gym June 3 and 4 to study the biomechanics of running during the Running Technique Specialist Training Certification Course at Shaw Physical Fitness Center.

During the course, Soldiers trained with Lt. Col. Angie Diebal-Lee, director of the Department of Rehabilitation Services, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital; Nicholas S. Romanov, Pose Method Running founder; and his son, Severin Romanov. The Soldiers analyzed and improved their running mechanics by practicing drills and exercises to teach them the key elements of a running stride.

Pose Method Running

The Pose Method Running is now an official part of the Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness Doctrine, also known as FM 7-22, Chapter 7. Diebal-Lee said this accomplishment was no easy feat.

“It was 10-plus years in the making to get it to that point,” she said. “A lot of people were involved. It’s monumental.”

The Pose Method is a solid, scientific approach to running. It was developed by Nicholas S. Romanov in the late 1970s when he was teaching track and field in Russia. It doesn’t focus on footstrike of landing patterns. Instead, it teaches runners common elements in running mechanics and how to optimize them in such a way as to reduce overstriding, the most common cause of shin, knee and low back injuries in running, Diebal-Lee said.

The Pose Method, which is used by Olympic athletes, derives its name from the concept that every sport has an identifiable position, or pose, which the athlete should operate within with minimal deviations in order to achieve optimal performance and to avoid injury.

In running, the Pose Method strives to reduce the occurrence of overstriding in athletes by maintaining that the ideal point of contact between the foot and the ground is beneath the center of gravity, or right under the bellybutton.

Diebal-Lee is one of three Pose Running Method Master Coaches in the U.S. military.

Teaching others

Soldiers who pass the exam and earn their certificate will be able to use their training to help other Soldiers in their units.

Staff Sergeant Brian Persina, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), completed the training and is ready to share what he learned with others.

“I think it would benefit a lot of people, especially those that I know personally that struggle with their runs. I feel like I can take this back and help them improve,” Persina said.

He has experienced less ankle pain after adopting the Pose Method Running technique.

Reducing injuries

Romanov first brought the course to the U.S. Army during a visit to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, about 14 years ago. Diebal-Lee was present during the visit and was so impressed with the rate of injury reduction because of Pose Method running that she decided to continue researching it.

Running injuries are an Army-wide problem. In April 2020, Maj. Gen. Lonnie G. Hibbard, commanding general of the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training, U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command said $557 million are spent annually to help Soldiers recover from running-related lower extremity overuse injuries.

After the initial training course, Diebal-Lee returned to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where she served as company commander of the fitness training unit. She saw a significant number of Soldiers with running-related injuries in the Warrior Training Rehabilitation Platoon, or WTRP.

“We had individuals who were plagued with lower extremity overuse injuries and when they were returning to training, they were getting broken within one to two weeks after returning and would come right back to us,” Diebal-Lee said. “I knew there had to be a better way.”

After being introduced to Pose Method at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, she decided to implement Pose Method running at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, specifically in the WTRP prior to the Soldier returning to basic training, and the results were outstanding. Once the Soldier was cleared by physical therapy to start a return program they underwent six weeks of Pose Method Running instruction. After the Soldier completed the running training and passed their two-mile run for the Army Physical Fitness Test the Soldier was inserted back into training.

“Ninety-six percent of the reinserted WTRP Soldiers stayed in training and went on to graduate after implementing this method, whereas before 68% of the WTRP Soldiers were coming back injured after one to two weeks,” Diebal-Lee said.

Prior to the existence of Pose Method, running was viewed as something that was a matter of willpower rather than mechanics, she said. This line of thinking didn’t benefit runners.

“We give people time to heal from their injuries, but if we don’t change the mechanics that injured them to begin with, we’re not setting them up for success and that’s why these injuries likely haunt them again in the future,” Diebal-Lee said.

Using the Pose Method has not only improved run times and prevented injuries but has helped the U.S. Army save money on rehabilitative services, she said.

Diebal-Lee hosts seminars at Shaw PFC to support the readiness goals of Fort Campbell. For a schedule and signup details, visit www.militaryrunning.com. The course also can be taken online. To sign up, visit www.ArmyIgnited.com.

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