Monday, August 18, 2014

Helping Hands



We've all hear the saying "When your legs get tired, run with your heart" ( or something like that).  As inspirational as this sounds, I found running with another "H" word to be more helpful. 


The position of your Hands really does make a difference in your running performance.
Here are just a few tips.

1. Run with your arms/hands CLOSE to your body.

2. Make sure your arms are swinging with your body and not against it. What we mean by this is when you are moving your arms to run, your hands/arms should never cross your body. You pick up more momentum when you are moving your arms from front to back.
 (Random Story: when I was in High school there was a girl in my class that would move her arms from side to side when she would run.  She almost looked like a wind up robot. Of course our PE teacher never told us about good running form back then, but I always thought "That can't be right".)

3. How you hold your hands can make a difference too.  When most people are starting out running they will normally run with their hands in a fist.  Don't do that. This can cause your shoulders to tense up.

 Instead, slightly cup your hands almost as if you were holding an egg in each one.

4. Keep moving your arms. I notice that when my legs start to slow down, I move my arms faster and faster and that helps me to stay on pace.



5. Sometimes holding a hand held water bottle can help train your hands to stay in that position as you run.


6. Make sure to keep this form if you are doing run/walk intervals too. Often times we will see people who's arms/hands look like rag dolls when they are on their walk intervals. Don't let your arms just hang down because you are walking. Better arm and hand movement will speed your walk breaks as well.

So next time you go out on a run, notice how you position your arms and make them an integral part of your run.

Do you have any arm/hand tips when it comes to running?

26 comments:

  1. Which is why upper body weight work is important. A strong upper body can help keep good form too once the legs go.

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    1. Exactly! I know I need to incorporate more upper body workouts into my routine!

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  2. I can tell when I get tired during a run...my hands/arms drag down. Good point about not making a fist - that will make you tense all the way to your neck (personal experience...).

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    1. Yes, it does. Thankfully I learned this tips early on.

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  3. I've been working consciously on good upper body form but I haven't been thinking about it during the walk intervals! That's a good point to keep it up when walking as well.

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    1. Yes, you will see that your walks will become faster too!

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  4. Great post! I always make sure I don't tense up my arms/hands. If I ever see someone with bad arm/hand form like that it is always the first thing I notice lol!

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    1. I notice that too when I am watching people run and walk around the park.

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  5. All terrific points Meranda. Why is it so easy to see form mistakes on others, but not in ourselves??! I know I revert to bad habits once I get tired; I'm a 2 fisted runner! ;) Great post.

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    1. That is SO true. In my head I have good form but to watch me I probably don't!

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  6. Great post, I haven't thought about this in years, but you are very right on hands being important, as are the arms. I remember when I first started running marathons, and my dad was trying to get me out of track and cross country (sprinter) mentality, where your arms are a little different. But once a person learns to relax it makes a huge difference, and in my opinion uses up much less energy than tight or swinging too much:)

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    1. Yes, I find that when I have less energy in my legs, I tend to make up for it in my arms!

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  7. I have something weird to share, this is not a tip for people in any way, but I am so used to holding my little mp3 player in my left hand while I run. I would never hold it in my right hand, and I would prefer to hold something than NOT hold something because I am so used to it!

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    1. I've never held anything except my water bottle. I thought for sure it would feel weird and take a while to get use to, but it didn't!

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  8. I know I move my upper body around too much when I run. Good tips!

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    1. Hopefully having your arms and hands in a good position will help that!

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  9. I love running with water bottles just to keep my hands from swelling. I need to grip something or the blood makes them HUGE!!!!! I have ran with stress balls before too :)

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  10. I never thought of having hands swell up on a run. I guess feet swell so why not hands too? Hmmm, something to think about.

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  11. These are really great tips! Never think about my hands much, thanks for sharing!

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  12. Another tip I've heard is pretend your holding a potato chip between your thumb and middle finger and you don't want to break it. You just very lightly touch those two fingers together and it prevents you from tensing up into a fist! Not going to lie though... I sometimes forget and find my hands in tight fists halfway through my run!

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  13. I tend to clench my hands tightly when I run to the point where my hand/wrist gets stiff. When I first started running a clinic leader told me that I should be able to go for a run holding two pringles chips in each hand and they should not be crumpled when I return...lol. I still think of that five years later when I notice the clenching!

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  14. My track coach would always get on to me for clenching my hands when I ran. He told me to pretend I was holding a potato chip between my thumb and index finger.

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  15. I've been carrying a water bottle all the time lately and I have noticed a difference!

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  16. I usually have to remind myself to relax my arms and shoulders when I am running. I tend to tense up and I'll know later when my shoulders/upper back is sore. I don't think I make fists but maybe I do...I'll have to pay attention next time!

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  17. I have a tendency to run with my hands in a fist too. I am trying to really be conscious of that and NOT do that because I definitely notice it in my shoulders!

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  18. Great tips! I notice when peoples' hands droop down and I think that can't possibly be comfortable when running. When my husband runs, his hands inadvertently sort of form a thumbs up and a lot of other runners actually give him a thumbs up as they pass. It's pretty funny. :)

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.