Factors that affect your performance while running: Part 1
Do you notice your arms moving side to side when you’re running? Do you want a longer stride or to increase your PR? Do you have one knee or ankle that won’t stop bothering you?
No matter what your running goal is, these tips are important to keep your body healthy and maintain a functional stride with fewer injuries. The worst setback while training is an injury. Let’s discuss tips on how to recognize an injury before it happens.
Part 1: Arm motion
The purpose of arm motion while running is to help propel the body forward and maintain the cross-crawl pattern. The ideal pattern for the arms is a slight bend in the elbow while moving forward and back, in opposition to the legs to maintain balance. By keeping this forward motion there is no loss of energy throughout the stride, and the forward momentum is increased. Often runners lose the momentum in their forward stride due to their arms. A rotation in posture can cause a side-to-side motion of the arms instead of forward and back. See Figure 1 and 2 below. When this side-to-side motion occurs, the momentum in the upper body counteracts the momentum in the lower body. The lower body reacts by increasing the stress or weight carried by one side to even out the rotation. Over time the knee tracking pattern and the ankle strike pattern become uneven resulting in injury. Arm motion is one cause of an uneven gait cycle, that creates a loss of energy, a decreased stride length, decreased PR, and an increased risk of injury.
“I think I have a rotation in my posture, what should I do?”
A rotation in your posture can be caused by many things. If you suspect that you have a rotation in your posture it’s important to get checked out by your Chiropractic BioPhysics® Licensed Chiropractor. The chiropractor will analyze your posture in segments from your head to your feet and then look at your posture as a whole.
Ways to retrain your running pattern:
Once you have determined the cause of your rotation it is important to retrain your stride and upper-body motion before you begin training aggressively. Start with a brisk walk. Keeping a slight bend in the arms, and your hands relaxed with the thumbs up, practice swinging from your shoulders. Once you are able to maintain your forward-and-back motion, slowly increase your speed. As you increase speed make sure to match the speed of your arm swing to the speed of your stride.