Arm Swing While Running
What a difference a couple of weeks makes. The photo shown at the top of this blog post was taken on August 20, 2011. I was participating in a short run after the season kickoff for the Team in Training winter marathon team. The members of the team that live in south Palm Beach county do their weekly Saturday training runs out of Red Reef Park in Boca Raton. As you can see in the photo, I used to run with my arms swinging all over the place and crossing the front of my body.
All the magazine articles and books I've read on running never mentioned a lot about what to do with your arms. Roy Wallack's book, Run for Life, offers a brief insight on how a poor arm swing can lead to poor running mechanics which can lead to aches and pains and eventually injuries. Wallack says that runners should have pendulum arms: "to direct all your momentum forward, swing arms vertically along the side of the body with elbows bent at a 90-degree angle or less. Don't swing them at an angle across the chest, which directs your momentum cross-ways and places additional compensating forces on hips, shoulders, knees, ankles and back."
Above: e3 Grips by Biogrip, Inc.
A Tool For Proper Arm Swing
I've been trying really hard to pay attention to what my arms are doing during all my runs. I seem to have less right hip flexor and lower back pain now that I'm not swinging my arms wildly about. But because I had been running for the past 3 years with improper arm swing, I am currently seeing a chiropractor for weekly adjustments, to help get my back, spine and pelvis back into proper alignment.
Wallack discovered the e3 grips, made by Biogrip, Inc., to help him keep his arms in the correct position, while learning a more efficient arm swing. I don't think I would resort to buying a pair of the grips, I can't imagine running while holding something in both hands. You can get the same effect by pretending you are holding a joystick in your hand and are trying to push the side of your index finger with the tip of your thumb. The grips have a suggested retail price of $39.95; if you are interested in learning more about the e3 grips, visit their website: http://biogrip.com/.
Bike Diva Recommended Running Books
I have loads of books covering various swim, bike, run, strength training and nutrition topics. Here are a few of my favorite running books that can help you improve your running form. All three books are proponents of having a mid foot strike, as opposed to being a heel striker, while running. I changed my running form from being a heavy heel striker, to that of a mid foot striker, over one year ago. But that is a topic best reserved for another blog post.
- Pose Method Running - Dr. Nicholas Romanov
- Chi Running - Danny & Kathy Dreyer
- Run for Life - Roy Wallack
I am doing the Goofy Race & 1/2 Half Challenge in Orlando in January with Team in Training. Participating in both the Disney ½ marathon and Disney marathon is called the Goofy Race and ½ Challenge. I will be participating in this event with my local Team in Training chapter, while helping to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Disney will be my first running event with Team in Training. I have completed 5 century bike rides and 2 triathlons with TNT since 2006, while helping to raise over $30,000 for cancer research. My fund-raising page is located at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/pb/wdw12/lsmythe.
Lynn Smythe AKA the Bike Diva