Thursday, November 3, 2011

100 Up Technique

Introduction to the 100 Up Technique

The Internet is buzzing about the 100 Up technique.  The 100 Up technique was recently rediscovered by Dr. Lieberman of Harvard University. It was based o couple of drills invented in 1874 by a 16 year old named W.S. George. Apparently W.S. George was a world class runner by the standards of his day.  However, he didn't have a lot of time to train, so he developed the 100 Up technique to help with his training. For a more detailed look at the technique, here is a link to a video of Christopher McDougall demonstrating and discussing it - http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/11/02/magazine/100000001149415/the-lost-secret-of-running.html. More information can be found in this article - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/magazine/running-christopher-mcdougall.html?_r=1


I didn't want discuss this discovery based on a knee-jerk reaction, so I contacted Dr. Romanov and asked for his opinion on the 100 Up Technique. Dr. Romanov seems to agree with my initial assessments. I hope to discuss this with him in more detail shortly, and perhaps follow up with another blog post.


My Initial Reactions

I had two initial reactions to what I saw in the video. The first was that these drills are effective, and that's why Dr. Romanov has developed very similar drills for Pose Running. However, they are only a start, because they do not address everyone's issues with running technique.


My second reaction is that this technique will become the latest "short cut method" to learning good running technique.
  • The first short cut was minimalist shoes. Everyone was told if they just get minimalist shoes then they will be "forced" to learn good technique. Unfortunately buying minimalist shoes alone has helped very few runners improve their technique. 
  • The second short cut was to remove one's shoes and go barefoot. While this was more effective at helping people to adopt good technique, most barefoot runners still do not run well.
  • Now there is the 100 Up technique. I believe that this short cut will help many more runners improve their technique. For some runners it may be the only thing they need to perfect their technique, but for most, it will simply be a good starting point.
My Recommendation 

If you want to give the 100 Up technique a try, then go ahead, because you have nothing to lose. At worse you will not improve at all, and at best it will help a great deal, but don't expect miracles. The Internet buzz is probably just a lot of hype that takes advantage of the fact that most people are looking for a training method which does not require much effort. Some people will learn to run well with this latest short cut alone, but most people will not. The 100 Up technique is step in the right direction, but it is not the silver bullet everyone is looking for.

Finally

I hope to experiment with this training method, and to discuss it more in the future. However the reality is that this technique represents a small subset of the training used to teach Pose running. So I don't expect to really learn anything new.

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