I have to admit I’m not all that hot to add to this blog. The running is going fine, but I sometimes think that it may be too hard to explain certain parts of running form that I think are important and overlooked. One of those I mentioned a little while ago, and I’ll touch on it today.
I ran outdoors for the first time in a while. I think all the treadmill work has actually helped my form. When I’m on the ‘mill, I’ll sometimes drop my arms to my sides for a few seconds and let my shoulders do all of the work in my upper body. I’ll think of the shoulders as kind of driving the bus rather than the legs or some other part of the body. This helps promote the kind of counter-rotation of upper vs. lower body that I’ve mentioned before. When the left leg moves forward, the right shoulder will move forward, etc. When I then lift my arms back up to their proper position, I try to maintain the same shoulder movement.
This little exercise helps open up our stride. It also helps keep us from being too stiff. Running depends upon the whole system working together efficiently. Awareness of the shoulders helps us integrate more of our body into this activity.
I should also mention that there is a certain relaxed back and forth motion of the upper body that can accompany this. I’ve talked before about noticing this type of movement in elite Africans when you view them from the front. I know that most running coaches would disagree with my observation, and say that any side-to-side movement is wasted motion. However, I’ve looked at many videos of very good runners, and have seen this sideways component many times. I find myself doing it, but I think I would have a hard time describing to someone how to incorporate it into their running. It is a “feel” kind of thing, and perhaps naturally develops out of the shoulder thing I talked about.