To drill or not to drill?
An interesting question, isn’t it? On the one hand, as we all know, everyone who learns something is doing it through drills – in swimming, tennis, golf, etc. On the other hand, it is boring stuff, especially in running, where our common sense doesn’t even speak of drilling at all. In running we just run, and now we have this new fashion – Pose drills. Is it really so necessary to go through this “trouble”? And if there’s no way we can do without it, then what’s the minimum, we have to do?
The problem sounds something like that, I guess. We can make some comparisons, with ballet, for example, where drilling/rehearsal is a necessity from the first step to the last, as it was mentioned by one of the greatest Russian ballerinas, Maya Plisetzkaya. For most people, ballet is in a different category of events. It is an art! So is running, I would say, but you need some time and effort to transfer your mind to a new look at running. It is our perception that allows us to see things, which do not exist and which do exist, before we start seeing them.
What is the role of drills in general, for anything we try to learn? First of all, they simplify and dissect the learning object into parts, which we can see, feel, perceive and perform. The goal of this process is to develop our perception of things, which we couldn’t perceive in any other way. It is not about muscle strength, endurance, speed, agility, etc. It is about our perception.
What do we need to perceive in running? It is the body weight, its location and transfer (movement) from one point to another. All three elements of the Pose Method: Pose-Fall-Pull, are part of this perception. The body weight appears, when we have a support on the ground, and this is the Running Pose, where the body weight is located on a ball of the foot. The perception of the body weight at this position is extremely important because only from this position we can start falling (leaning) forward.
Doing Pose drills is developing our perception of holding (keeping) and transferring (moving) the body weight from one foot to the other. So we have to feel precisely the body weight location and changing it, as well. So when we are doing the Pony drill, our focus on these things -location of the body weight and it transfer-should be very strong and consistent. It should be developed to the level of skill, as if it were in dancing.
How many, what kind of drills and to which level do we need to go? Minimum drills are about just covering the perception of Pose-Fall-Pull before each training session and after running. Before the session, it is necessary to refresh the perception, and after it to recover it, especially after a long or intensive run. How many is a question about perception as well. Our goal is to develop a very specific perception, so the quantity of drills should be as many as it is necessary to get this perception.
One important notice, our perception is not what we can put inside us as in storage. It is a “fluid” substance, in terms of maintaining and developing it. Like anything else, we can develop and then loose it, nothing is constant and forever (only “diamonds are forever”). So considering this fact a reality, we have to understand that while we are developing our perception by doing drills, we need to use the same drills to maintain an existing level of perception, and then recover it, when we are loosing this. As you see, there is no time, when we can drop our drills and say good bye to them. Just to make this a bit simpler, please find out for yourself, what is the most difficult perception for you and focus on this part mostly, keeping the rest on a same level.
The last advice, try to change your perception of drills from something dull and obligatory to something interesting and helping you to rediscover yourself, perfecting your understanding and performance of “simple” running, then it will be a different story.