How To Run With Your Hands

Supinator? Pronator? Do you run with your toes clenched? Or do you find that sometimes you are just not running symmetrically? Perhaps a stiff calf or a little discomfort in your hamstring is messing with your form. I know this will sound completely crazy, but in most of these instances, your hands could solve these form issues.

Many runners are already aware that running involves not only the legs, but the arms as well. Arm swing can make or break a decent run. If your arms are flying about, or crossing your body, or at your sides, it will interfere with your gait and your pace. Keeping your arms as close to your body as you can, and swinging them back to front, rather than side to side, and doing so rather deliberately, will change the way your legs move. It can keep them running the straight and narrow. Your legs inevitably follow along with your arms. For instance, the faster you pump those arms, the faster your pace will become. To prevent from face planting, your brain sends those legs a message, “Geez! Guess you better keep up!”

It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to you that it is the same with your hands and feet. The position in which you hold your hands translates right on down to the ground.

But, don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself! It is a great experiment for every runner.

Determine first if you are a supinator or a pronator. Most runners know this already, but if you don’t, a good way to tell is by inspecting the soles of a well worn pair of running shoes. The image below can help you to determine your foot fall.

solewear

Did you learn something new? Most lower leg injuries can be linked directly to the way those feet hit the ground. This is why there are different styles of sneakers for different styles of running. A neutral sneaker is best for normal runners and supinators. Stability sneakers work best for pronators.

But, if you become aware of your foot fall, there are ways to correct it, especially during times of fatigue. This is when your form fails more often than not. Train your brain to recognize and correct these small intricacies before they turn into major injury disasters.

supination

Are you a supinator? Meaning, do you tend to land on the outside of your feet more often than not? Hold your hands palms down. Position your hands tilted slightly inward as your run, meaning, thumbs closer to the ground than your pinkies. You feet will inherently mimic your hand position. Test this out for a few strides. Anytime you become aware of your foot fall, repeat these simple instructions until you feel the change.

pronation

Do you pronate? Meaning, do you tend to land on the inside of your feet more often than not? Hold your hands palms down. Position your hands tilted slightly outward as you run, meaning, pinkies closer to the ground than your thumbs. Test this out for a few strides. Anytime you become aware of your foot fall, repeat these simple instructions until you feel the change.

How about those toes? Do you find yourself scrunching them up in your sneakers? Take a look at your hands. Are they in tight fists? More than likely, they are. Just relax those hands, and spread those fingers apart just a bit. Notice that your toes follow suit.

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Finally, do you feel an imbalance? Or are you having trouble holding your head up due to fatigue? Then try this. Touch your thumbs to the pads of the ring fingers. This will help you to even out any imbalance side to side, and force your head to look out rather than down.

Again, try this yourself. As farfetched as it sounds, it works. Try all the hand positions during your next run and see how your feet respond. For most of you, you’ll notice the change. Maybe they’ll help you get through your next race.

2 Responses to How To Run With Your Hands

  1. petitepacer says:

    I’ve been using this technique when I feel sluggish, or my right leg doesn’t do what I want it to do because of my radiculopathy. Another movement that helps me get more motion at my ankle is to flick my wrist, thumbs pointed up and slightly out. Gets me back on track every time!

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