Running Mistakes

imagesThis weekend I completed two half marathons and for the first time, I felt tremendous arm pain from running. It was only my right arm but the pain was so intense, I almost bought a sling to keep me from moving it. Even the slightest move caused total agony. I couldn’t figure out what it was until I started doing a little research.

Turns out, I was holding my car key in my right hand (as I am right handed) and clutching my fist for 13.1 miles made my entire arm sore. I sometimes do carry a water bottle or a key in my hand, but perhaps I’ve hit an age where little things like this won’t work anymore. Carrying anything is a mistake.

I’ve rounded up some running mistakes people make:

Running in asymmetrical fashion
If you come down harder on a certain side, you are setting yourself up for hip pain. Try looking at the bottom of your shoes first. Does one side look more worn out? This is an indication you push down more on one side. You may not even be aware of it, but it’s something you should check for to save yourself pain down the line.

How to fix: It is best to visit a running store to have them videotape you and see your running style. They can fit you with proper shoes as well based on your gait.

Not aligning your legs
Your knees should obviously stay in line with your hips, but this isn’t how most people run. If your hip muscles are weak, they won’t support the knees, which will cause your knees to bow inward–setting you up for knee problems.

How to fix: It is a good idea to go to the track and have someone videotape you to watch your body alignment. You should also start hitting the gym and doing exercises to build up the gluteus maximus. Try adding squats and lunges to your routine.

Not swinging your arms
In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers found that swinging the arms during running reduced energy by 3 percent compared with holding the hands behind the back, 9 percent compared with holding the arms across the chest, and 13 percent compared with holding the hands on top of the head. Some runners try to hold their arm swinging to conserve energy or swing to much to burn more calories–this does not work researchers found.

How to fix: Do not start any run feeling tense. Relax your body so you will run in a natural fashion. Do not carry anything in your hands to disrupt your natural swing.