April Day 5: Killer Arms & A Strong Core

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Naturally, strong leg muscles are crucial for running fast, but many runners underestimate the importance of upper body strength for good running performance. Our core and back muscles play an important role in stabilizing our upper body. A weak core leads to compensatory movements, thus decreasing your forward propulsion and throwing our hips out of wack, which we know can cause problems all the way down our legs. Strong arms are essential for guaranteeing an efficient transfer of energy from your body to your legs. Without this, the proper arm technique cannot provide optimal support to your legs. An efficient running form helps you to run faster and expend less energy.

A strong upper body (arms and upper back and shoulders) is essential for guaranteeing an efficient transfer of energy from your body to your legs. Without this, the proper arm technique cannot provide optimal support to your legs. An efficient running form helps you to run faster and expend less energy.

While arm strength is important, and of course we want those nice looking toned arms, thick arms are actually a disadvantage. We don’t want to overdo our arm work and bulk up. What matters most is strong, toned arms and the right technique. Our arm swing influences every movement from our hips down. If we swing our arms faster, this automatically increases our step frequency. Slow and long swings produce the opposite effect. Crossing your arms in front of your body expends essential energy.

Below are some few tips on the right way to hold your arms when running:

  1. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle or less
  2. Let your arms swing loosely in the direction in which you are running (your arms should not cross the centerline)
  3. Keep your hands relaxed with your palms facing inward. Your thumb and index finger should be touching lightly
  4. Focus on pushing your elbows back rather than pulling them forward

Remember me talking about how our triceps provide us more power as compared to our biceps? This is because pushing your elbows backwards (#4) rather then pulling them forward is the most efficient way to pump our arms. Think about this when you are getting tired and push backwards with your arms to propel yourself forward. This small movement can keep you moving instead of slowing to a snail’s pace during your walk breaks and can make all the difference in your overall pace.

This is especially true when we are using a run/walk. If you drop your arms by your side when you are walking, you lose that extra momentum. Keep your arms up and pumping even when you are walking and you will notice your walk pace increases!

We know that our arms and our core is important. Good thing we are working them both today!

Day 5 exercises:

  • Superman Hold – :60
  • Russian Twists (with or without weight) – 3 x 20
  • Killer Arms Workout – see chart below
  • High Plank – :60
  • Wall Sit – :60

Don’t forget your last plank and wall sit to finish your day!

Killer Arms Workout:

Killer Arms Workout


If you haven’t done speed work yet this week, what are you waiting for? This week’s workout is short and sweet.

Speed Work: 30 Minute Interval Run – This is a great speed workout to start the month. It’s quick yet will get you moving faster each interval so it gives you a chance to work your way into the faster segments. I prefer that you do more than a 1/2 mile warm up period before you start your speed work so if you have time, stretch that warm up out to 1-2 full miles. This workout is different than we did last week because there is no stopping rest break. Instead we will do an easy .25 mile jog between each faster .25 mile interval. It’s important that you start at your 5K pace and work your way faster. If you start too quickly you will not be able to get faster so be smart about the beginning of your workout.

Each interval you’re going to move :10 faster. Start at 5K pace then bring it down by :10 for each next set. Not sure what your 5K pace is? Reach out to me and let’s chat!

Don’t let this workout scare you…when you look info it, it’s only 1.5 miles of speed work with 1.25 miles of recovery in between. Just under 3 miles before warm up and cool down. You can do this! Want more? Add a few more rounds to make it 2 or even 3 miles of speed work and hold that faster pace!

  • Warm up: 800 meters (0.5 miles) at easy run pace
  • Interval #1: 400 meters (0.25 miles) at 5k pace
  • Recovery: 400m @ easy run pace
  • Interval #2: 400m @ 5k pace – 10 seconds
  • Recovery: 400m @ easy run pace
  • Interval #3: 400m @ 5k pace – 20 seconds
  • Recovery: 400m @ easy run pace
  • Interval #4: 400m @ 5k pace – 30 seconds
  • Recovery: 400m @ easy run pace
  • Interval #5: 400m @ 5k pace – 40 seconds
  • Recovery: 400m @ easy run pace
  • Interval #6: 400m @ 5k pace – 50 seconds
  • Cool Down: 800m (0.5 mile) recovery at easy run pace

We’ve all been working hard this week and the weekend is coming. Don’t slack off now. Prove to yourself that you are willing to put in the work to get the results you want!

Willing to work for it IMG_9318

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