Most people don’t think about their arms while they run. I know didn’t until I tried to run with a jogging stroller after my first baby. That first run, I felt like a fish out of water! It felt so awkward running without swing my arms. I tried pushing the jogger with one hand then switching arms which did help, however, I was never able to find a good running rhythm. Eventually, I was able to get the hang of running with my jogging stroller but there still is a noticeable difference in my running stride and speed when I do.
This experience opened my eyes how important your whole body is for running...Running is not just about your legs.
I know that sounds very different from what people typically think about running. The popular online running program lay out a running progression that starts with short internals of running then over time they progress to longer running periods until you reach your distance goals (5K, 10K, ½ marathon or full marathon). These programs do suggest stretching and strengthen on “off “ days but they don’t go into detail, so the suggestion is simply overlooked. Since the training program emphasize running, people tend to believe that if you’re not running then you’re not training to run.
When I first started running I remember the very real anxious feeling I would get at the thought of not running for a day. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to run 3 mile again EVER, if I took off one day let alone a week.
This mindset is simply not true; I learned how not true when I got injured running (go figure ;))
All that running without proper rest days irritated my ITB (Iliotibial band) and knees until it hurt walking. I simply had to stop. I took several months off running to working on my whole body, reversing some of the imbalances I had caused. Then a friend talked me into running a Father’s Day 5K. I assumed I would walk most of the race since I had not run since my injury. Let me tell you my shock when I finished. Not only did I run the whole 5K BUT I ran full 1 minute/ mile faster than my previous best pace.
This brings me back to my original point. Arm swing is important…as is your whole body when you run.
How do you improve your running ability and prevent injuries?
For our running assessment: We look at your shoes wear, running mechanics, complete a fully body movement assessment, talk to you about any prior injuries, and then we find out about your lifestyle to help create a personalized plan that will help you run across that finish line!
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WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald