The main emphasis when it comes to running tends to be on what our legs are doing. I spend a lot of my time teaching clients, students and runners how to put emphasis on what your mind is doing. Today though, I am writing about what your arms are doing too.
Over the years, I have found what is right for me to do with my arms, and I have had a lot of advice and heard from a lot of experts, books, videos of successful runners etc. Generally, the advice I have followed is to move the arms at the shoulders, not at the elbow. To hold the hands softly together at thumb and fingertip. To make sure I pump my arms back and forwards and not across my body or sideways as that causes me to bend and exert unnecessary stresses on my body. And of course, to know that you can use your arms to speed up your running pace. if I pump them faster, my legs join in. When I am looking to pick up my cadence, I tend to use my arms to orchestrate that.
But what am I doing talking about something that is not my main sphere of professional competence? There are far better people to consult with about running posture and how you physically use your arms when running. I recommend you investigate, experiment and explore to find out what is best for you and your own body’s mechanics to get you using your arms effectively when running. Whether you do that or not, I think we can talk about and I’ll offer up today, a psychological process to make the most of what your arms are doing too, eh?
This is one of those processes that is simple. If you practice it in a self-hypnosis session repeatedly, you can then take the psychological process out on your run with you and use it to derive the maximum benefit from your arm movements when running. Follow these simple steps….
Step One: Induce hypnosis.
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my ‘Science of self-hypnosis’ book, use the free audio at my main hypnosis website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
Step Two: Imagine being out on a typical training run. See the sights, hear the sounds, feel as if you are really out there, breathe the fresh air and tune in to your body moving as you run.
Watch and observe how you move when you run. Be really mindful of your body in motion. Be mindful of how you are moving your arms in particular. Watch your arms, enjoy watching them, moving in that way.
When you feel really tuned in and aware of your body and your arms moving as you run, move on to the next step.
Step Three: Each time that your arms raise, imagine them bouncing up, lighter and lighter. Imagine that they bounce upwards each time with very little effort. Imagine they are almost pulled upwards towards your shoulders by an imaginary force of some kind.
Then, each time that your arms lower, imagine that you have a ski pole, or a punt stick, or even a rocket force of some kind (use whatever suits your imagination best) that propels you along. Imagine each arm movement downward actually pushes you onwards with greater force.
So in harmony, the arm movements are light on the way up and push you onwards (helping you travel forward with more ease) as they move downwards. Engage your imagination in that, get it absolutely right in your mind, then move on to the next step.
Step Four: With each arm movement add a progressive and positive cognition or affirmation such as:
“Push, push, easier and easier…”
“Lighter, faster, easier…”
“Onwards, forwards, pushing on faster….”
Use whatever words you find useful, encouraging and relevant to the arms being light on the way up and pushing you forward on the way down.
Just say the words in time with the arm movements. Imagine the words make the feelings of lightness and the feelings of being pushed onwards more pronounced and profound. Believe in the words, believe in the sensations being cause by the words and the imagined actions. When you feel that you have developed a good sense of belief in it, move on to the next step.
Step Five: Spend some time imagining doing this on your run; remind yourself of how easy this is to do when you are out running and how effective it is going to be for you. Imagine each step you run takes you deeper into hypnosis and really embed the idea and your belief in the way that your arms are aiding your running performance in this advanced fashion. Then bring the session to an end with the next step.
Step Six: Exit hypnosis. If you have read my books, count from one through to five and bring yourself out of hypnosis that way. Otherwise, wiggle your fingers and toes, take some deeper breaths and open your eyes and reorient yourself with your environment.
Once you have practiced this several times in a focused hypnosis session, then start using it when you are out running. Let your arms start to propel you onwards and forwards. It makes sense to use everything we possibly can to (quite literally) leverage the effectiveness of our running performance.
Happy running, I’ll be back soon….