Monday, October 10, 2011

Misunderstood Genius

I recently watched a video in which Lee Saxby referred to Dr. Romanov as a "misunderstood genius". I have to say that Mr. Saxby managed to succinctly describe Dr. Romanov and his relationship to the running community. What can I say? Some people just have a way with words.

I have no doubt that Dr. Romanov is a genius. He completely reconceptualized the physics of running and athletic movement. As if that weren't enough, he also invented a method to quickly and efficiently teach movement and technique. But alas, he is largely misunderstood.

I have been following the criticism of Dr. Romanov and his ideas for a while, and I find that they generally fall into one or MORE of the following categories.

The person doesn't have a firm grasp of scientific studies and what they mean 

One of the biggest clues that these people don't really understand what they are talking about in regard to the science behind Pose Running Technique is that they will quote the following study as evidence for their criticism - Effect of global alteration of running technique on kinematics and economy from the Journal of Sports Sciences, July 2005; 23(7): 7575-764. As I've discussed in my post A Critique of One Study of Pose Running Technique, this study is so flawed that anyone quoting it to criticize Pose Running Technique either didn't read it or didn't understand it. Either way, the credibility anyone quoting this study is questionable.

The person has not done his or her homework on Pose Running Technique

A lot of people who are critical of Dr. Romanov's ideas are basing their criticism on a very superficial understanding of the Pose Method and Pose Running Technique. These people usually will give away their ignorance with the arguments they make. Their arguments are usually based on really bad physics coupled with not understanding the Pose Running Technique. Often something like, "How can people fall forward, gravity is a downward force.", or "How can you keep falling forward, where does the energy come from?"

The person has unreasonable expectations

I often read or hear comments from some clueless person saying something like (and I exaggerate for affect), "I tried Pose Running once. I went for a 10 mile run making sure that I landed on my forefoot the whole way, and they next day my calves hurt so bad that I couldn't walk. So now I don't believe in this Pose stuff." Hmm, all I can say is that these people should not have children.

Plagiarism

I don't think it is really a secret that other coaches have pilfered Dr. Romanov's ideas claiming them as their own. Often these people, or more likely their surrogates, will criticize Dr. Romanov's work as way to deflect attention away from the obvious, which is that their underlying ideas are nearly identical to Dr. Romanov's and they are not giving him proper credit.

Professional jealously

In the world of exercise science and physical training, professional jealousy is almost way of life. So much of the criticism I read of Dr. Romanov's ideas is just dripping with jealously and spite. A pattern that I regularly see is that anyone who is successful in getting their ideas out to public, becomes an immediate target for those who have not been as successful. Of course I'm all for legitimate, objective and open debate, but very often the critiques I read and hear are nothing more than petty personal attacks that have nothing to do with Dr. Romanov's ideas. The most common attack people use is that since Dr. Romanov makes a living by teaching his ideas and methods, then surely that must invalidate all his claims. As if to say, how dare he try to make money from his life's work? To begin with, how he makes a living does nothing to invalidate his ideas. Besides that, I have to wonder why this claim almost always made by someone who is also making money from selling, in some form or other, their "expertise" in medicine or physical training.

Finally

My point, in all of this, is that the type of people I'm discussing above, continue to spew biased and blatantly incorrect information about Dr. Romanov and his ideas. Sometimes out of ignorance, and sometimes with motives which are less than virtuous. And this constant stream of misinformation continues to confuse others in the running community. As a result, Dr. Romanov's ideas remain misunderstood.

Video of Lee Saxby's interview


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