Running Form – Arm Swing

Anna Boom

Moving Your Body
Swing those Arms!

As a running coach, I often get questions on running form. I am always hesitant to try and change another runner’s form. Why is this? Because every single runner has developed her own style, her own running form and it is as unique as you are. It comes from the many different physical factors, such as height, weight, length of your legs and arms, skeletal build, etc. And it also started to develop from the moment you started running? Do you remember when that was? Me neither but it was long before I researched minimal shoes,¬†which¬†running skirt is best, or why to wear compression socks.
But there are a few pointers I wanted to share on how to be more efficient. Over the next weeks, I will write up some that you can take with you on your next run.
First, let’s talk arms. Notice the picture I started with of Paula Radcliffe. Her elbows are bent about 90 degrees. Her hands are relaxed and lightly cupped ( I liken it to holding an egg, if you grip too hard, it’s gonna break!). Her hands are high, near the bottom of her rib cage. As she begins running and her arms begin to swing, her hands should graze the bottom of her rib cage. As you run, to help propel your body forward, swing your arms. This momentum will help drive you forward. Your hands will lightly graze the bottom of your rib cage.
Notice this the next time you walk somewhere. As you walk, your opposite arm will swing forward (as long as you’re not carrying anything). Use this natural body movement in your running too.
Keep from swinging across your body. You want to be moving forward, not to side to side.
On your next easy run day, try to think of this as you’re running. It may feel awkward at first, as all changes do. This one small movement with help shift other parts of your running form too.
Let me know how you did!

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