Do not underestimate your arms!

Christian Belz

Christian Belz

Increased runs, barefoot running, weight exercises, running technique, stretching – the ‘running to-do list’ gets longer and longer. Before you talk to your boss about a reduction in your workload, or you start having problems with your life partner, I want to provide clarity. running.COACH’s tips will; motivate you to give your running workout a a change of pace now and again, highlight the important points of running, and ultimately bring more joy to your running.

So here’s today’s tip:

Top runners seem to fly over the asphalt. Their ease makes you, frankly, quite jealous. The winners of most races are often the ones that appear to be the most relaxed. However, if you take a close look at the majority of runners, you’ll find most have relatively big long strides and very low frequency. A closer look shows that the arms are not carried properly. We know that arm work controls the leg work, so it should become clear that we need to focus on our arms as they are our clocks!

Arms Checklist:

  • The movement should be done from the shoulder joint and not from the elbow.
  • The angle between the upper and lower arm should be less than 90 degrees.
  • The hands should be relaxed and gently closed with the thumbs pointing up and directly in front of the body.

Your running form is something that you most likely have not thought too much about, and breaking old habits is not easy. It will require much practice, yet if you recognize the flaws in your technique and are diligent about changing it, your running will improve. I’d advise to you the following exercises:

  • Concentrate on your arm work during your ‘technical’ runs (hill sprints, coordination runs, tempo runs), and practice after each running.COACH workout.
  • During every workout, build in short sequences (30-60 seconds) where you completely focus on your arm movements. For example, after 5, 15, 25, 35 minutes, and then on a track for back and forth 100 meter ‘striders’.
  • Trot weekly for 6 x 30 seconds in place in front of a mirror and observe your arm work and movement. Go through the above checklist step by step.

Technique is not everything. But without technique everything is nothing.

By Valentin Belz

This post is also available in DE.

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