Little tweaks made over time can add up to big changes that improve our running economy.
This specific running form fix is something that you might actually be doing during your non-running moments, like sitting at your desk or doing other daily tasks.
This isn’t something you often hear mentioned when talking about running form. However, because it can creep into your day to day life, it’s important to work on so that you can avoid letting this bad habit impact your body.
This form adjustment isn’t complicated to put into action. In fact it’s really simple and it all starts by being aware of the issue.
Relax Your Shoulders
During one of your runs this week, notice if you tense your shoulders when it’s cold, when you are running uphill or when you start to increase your pace. If you notice tension, follow the steps below to fully relax your shoulders.
Why Relaxing Your Shoulders Matters
Generally speaking, we carry tension in our neck and shoulders. When we are stressed and even when we are trying to stay warm we tend to contract our trapezius muscles by bringing our shoulders a little bit closer to our ears. This is negative tension.
Extra tension in your traps can limit your natural arm swing. To be as efficient as possible, all your energy should be used to propel you forward, not to tighten muscles that aren’t involved with forward running.
How to Relax Your Shoulders
#1) Notice if this is happening to you while you run or at any other time of day. Being aware of your body is always the first step to correcting inefficiencies.
#2) Think about keeping your shoulders down and back. This will also help open up your chest to allow for easier breathing.
#3) Breathe in one full breath and raise your shoulders up towards your ears. Pause for a second, then exhale as you drop your shoulders away from your ears.
Once you are able to notice when you are tensing your shoulders you’ll be able to correct it. Focusing on relaxing your shoulders can help you breathe better and prevent some types of chronic shoulder pain or tightness.
*This article first appeared in a RPRC weekly email. To become a member of Race Pace Run Club sign-up here (it’s FREE!).