Earlier as my husband was running on the treadmill I was watching his form.  One thing about him he is has impeccable form. I am jealous of it and often find myself wishing I could make running look as easy as he does.

 

He has often told me that I am a “stiff” runner and I haven’t yet learned how to relax during my run.  You notice this most in my shoulders and arms when I am running.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2012   PRODUCT CATEGORIES

(source)

I’ve been so focused on how I land (which is more important for avoiding injury) that I hadn’t even really paid attention to how I hold my arms while running.

 

The past couple runs I have paid more attention to my form as a whole.

 

Here are some tips for how you should be holding your arms while running:

 

1. You Want Your Arms at a 90 Degree Angle.

This goes along with #4 in a lot of ways, but the basic idea is you don’t want your hands coming too far up or dropping too far down. If you think about keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle it helps to avoid this.

 

2. Don’t Overthink It

This is my problem. As soon as someone tells me I need to work on something I non-stop think about it.  The best thing you can do when focusing on your arm swing is to let it happen naturally, don’t overthink it.

 

3. Relax your Fingertips

You don’t want to have your hands balled up in fists or straight. The key to your hands is to relax your fingertips almost like you are holding an egg.  This will allow your hands to relax.

 

4. Your Arms Should Never Cross your Midline

As I mentioned in #1 you never want your arms to cross your midline.  If your arms are crossing your midline you are swinging them too much.  The more you swing your arms the more energy you use, therefor you are not being as efficient of a runner.

 

5. Focus on Pushing Your Elbows Back

If you put your focus on pushing your elbows back then your arms will swing forward more naturally. This will allow you to avoid over-swinging your arms.

 

6. Relax

Let your body relax. We are often so tense (at least I am) when I run that I don’t allow my shoulders and upper body to relax. I’ve been told many times if you watch me run I look stressed or tense, and that is the exact opposite of how I feel. Let your body do it’s natural swing, and you’ll be surprised how much it helps your running.

 

The key with arm swing is that the more efficient you are with it the less energy it takes out of you.  If you are doing a 3-4 mile run this may not matter much, but when it comes to a marathon or race day you want to conserve as much energy as you possibly can.

Arm movement also helps you when you are tired or trying to go faster.  Instead of trying to alter your stride when you are trying to go faster or are tired – try increasing the speed of your arms. This will actually help you in going quicker.

Here is a great video to watch about arm movement:

 

 

Do you ever pay attention to your arm swing?

Have you ever had anyone observe your form? This has actually really helped me because so often we don’t see the mistakes we are making.

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