Running is not just running: many times, especially when we start running, we spend all our running time looking at our rhythm, our breathing, our footfall … And what about the upper part of our body? The arms and their movement form an indivisible part of the career technique, and it is therefore necessary that we give it the importance they deserve.
The stroke in the runner is another tool to set the pace of the race, to push us forward and to maintain the balance in our posture. What should be the arm and what are the things to avoid?
Things to avoid: the “T-Rex arms”
One of the most frequent mistakes when starting to run, even if we do not have a lot of technique, we can sin from what I call “T-Rex arms” : we stick elbows on both sides of the trunk, flexed to something more than 90 degrees And we left our hands hanging like dead from the wrist. Who else and who has done the least, especially in long runs when all that matters is to arrive and the technique shines by its absence.
The problem with the “T-rex arms” is that they generate unnecessary tension in the upper back area, forcing us to have a stooped posture, with our back tilted forward. After many miles that usually translates into a more than likely back or neck pain, early onset of fatigue, loss of the racing technique that causes us to make a greater effort to travel less kilometers and also prevents us from breathing well because we lean On the rib cage.
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How should the broker behave?
As we have said, some of the functions of the runner’s stroke are to set the pace (and also length) of the stride, propel us forward and maintain an optimal runner position while maintaining the balance of the body.
Now, how should this brace be effective and efficient?
- The arms should move naturally: Do not force your arms in a position that is uncomfortable, because you will get the opposite effect you are looking for. Start walking and notice how as you accelerate your arms move almost involuntarily to pace your legs. That’s what you have to get in career too.
- Elbows bent at 90 degrees: But not glued to the trunk, as in the case of the T-Rex, but next to it allowing them to move freely. The movement of the arms must always start from the forearms and should be directed from back to front: it avoids excessive crossing of the arms in front of the body. The musculature of arms and hands should be kept activated but without tension: do not squeeze your fists as if you were to hit someone because you will spend energy that you will surely need.
- Relaxed, tension-free shoulders: Remember from time to time that the shoulders should be kept away from the ears, not as if we were wearing them on slopes. By shrugging the shoulders, even involuntarily, we generate tension that leads to subsequent back pain or even cramping in the running. Personally, this is what costs me the most, and I try to remind myself often.
Doing well to help us run better and more effectively is a matter of practice and patience : once we have internalized these good habits and learned to apply them during our training, you will see how it practically comes out alone.