Dr. Nicolas Romanov has worked with seven Olympic teams and published over a dozen books on one thing we all wish we were a little better at: running. He’s kept a watchful eye on the running boom in Shanghai and for the second year his organization Pose Method will be running the official training camp for the Shanghai Marathon November 11. More details on the camp and the "pose method" of running after the jump.
Dr. Romanov is the creator of the Pose Method of Running which teaches running as a technique in three major steps -- pose, fall, and pull -- maximizing the role of gravity in technique. It caught on, and now there’s a Pose Method empire to accompany the writing, including coaches around the world, instructional videos, custom shoes — and now a training camp for the Shanghai Marathon.
While on a visit to Shanghai, SmSh caught up with Dr. Romanov and his son/business partner/hype man Severin, to get the skinny on their training methods.
SmSh: In recent years, there has been a fitness boom in Shanghai and China in general. Have you seen a running boom?
Dr. Romanov: The first time I came was 2007 and it was quiet, then when our book was published here in 2011 and we came back, it was very different. When the statistics came up it was overwhelming: a 300% increase in running capacity in China; [Ed's Note: the 300% is year over year growth for the last 3-4 years] races, number of runners, and no country — except maybe Russia — has grown at this rate. And it’s not only in running, though running is the biggest fitness field, it’s also about gyms like CrossFit coming here, and booming.
Severin: We’ve sold hundreds of thousands of books in China alone, and we have almost 300 certified coaches in mainland China, in almost every major city. Last year, we had almost 100 students in our Shanghai Marathon training camp. The average for someone training for a marathon is less than 5% of runners end up having a personal best. In our training group we had 93% of people set their personal best at the marathon. Our training camp is four months long, and we’re doing it again this year, starting in July.
"I do not give tips, I teach and teaching is about comprehension" -Dr. Romanov
SmSh: What does the average training day look like? Is it all-consuming?
Severin: So, you meet once a week with one of our certified coaches and the ratio we keep is 1-10, so if we have 100 people we have 10 people involved who work with groups of 10. And you get to train with one of our coaches once a week for four months, and you’d see Dr. Romonav at least twice in that period... It’s a very elaborate camp and we're not just attaching ourselves to the name, we literally partnered with the organizers of the marathon — and they were floored by the results. So based on that success we’re going to do it again this year, and we’re also possibly doing a Guangzhou marathon, Beijing for sure, and we may also do a Hangzhou marathon.
SmSh: Why should people learn the Pose Method?
Dr. Romanov: Research from the Pose Method has shown that it reduces eccentric knee load by 50% when compared to a heel, or midfoot strike. For anyone suffering from injuries, this is obviously a no-brainer. Case studies done in the US Army have even pointed to potentially reversing certain types of injuries in as little as two weeks by performing Pose Method running drills daily before starting to run again.
SmSh: I feel in Shanghai there are a lot of obstacles to running… like air quality… dampness… are treadmills ok?
Dr. Romanov: No, people are always looking for excuses — like "why aren’t you married?" "Oh well there’re no good people around." Air quality, too much noise, everyone speaks Chinese — people will find whatever excuse. Treadmills, it’s not really running, just jumping in one place. But if you’re going to run on a treadmill make sure it’s inclined up.
SmSh: The proccess can be intimidating. Tips on getting started?
Severin: We have an instructional video series available in English and Chinese, and will soon be avaialable on WeChat (here's an example video). We have different training programs: a four week 5k plan, 8 week 10k plan and 12 week marathon plan. So you can do that without a coach if you are brave enough and obviously you can always follow up. We have a training app, called uberfit runner, but it's only relevant when training for something, you can track your run and training schedule.
Dr. Romonav: Exercise is basically like money, you have to use it the right way. People are always looking for a fast solutions, for tips. It drives me nuts. When I am teaching, I do not give tips, I teach and teaching is about comprehension. But if it’s shallow, benefits will be the same... it’s not about being American or Chinese, it’s everywhere, it’s superficial culture. I don’t have 3 tips to get you in shape, if I did I would be in a penthouse in New York, it’s a concept you have to understand.
The Shanghai International Marathon is an annual marathon held in Shanghai, China during late Fall. Having the highest price pool and the highest completion rate, the Shanghai International Marathon is one of the top-tier athletic events held in China. Over 35,223 individuals participated in the various events last year with over 300,000 spectators live. More details right here. [Note: the date was moved from Nov 11 to Nov 18]
There you have it folks, if you're going to train for a marathon, it's going to take work. If you're interested in learning more about Dr. Romanov's training camp (starts July) for the Shanghai Marathon in November their contact info is 138 1025 8415 // email@example.com. The camp costs 6,000rmb for 4 months. More info at their page here.