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I hope your Ciry2Surf preparation is going well. If you’ve been following along with my training plan, you should be feeling a lot fitter by now.

The last two weeks we have been working on improving your speed by concentrating on lifting the knees when doing fartlek work and improving your breathing technique.

The third key to improving performance is in the arms.

When we think of running, most of us tend to think of our legs and feet, yet it is the arms that can be used to completely alter your rhythm and set your pace.

When I was in my early teens I remember going to an athletic club training night and someone came up to me and said ‘concentrate on your arms’. And I’ve never forgotten that.

Your arms play a very important part in your running style, yet most people tend to forget about them. When we jog, the arms tend to swing along aimlessly as they counter balancing the body, yet when we run quickly, we naturally put more power into swinging our arms.

‘Occasional runners’ often don’t use the power they have in their arms at all. Yet your arms can be used to adjust your rhythm or to set your pace.

Because your arms counterbalance your body, when you swing your arms faster, your legs have to follow. Try running along swinging your arms at twice the speed of your legs’? you can’t do it. By swinging your arms faster, your legs will naturally speed up too. This is one of the reasons runners do upper body exercise in the gym.

I’ve found that when my legs are tired and I get to that point where I feel that I haven’t got anything left in the tank, if I concentrate on swinging my arms and I think about nothing else, it can induce a ‘second wind’, that extra boost of power and energy I didn’t know I had.

So now it is time to put it all together.

The task for this week is to focus on getting a good rhythm in your breathing, then shift your attention to your arms, followed by shifting your attention to your stride and leg technique.

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Update April 2013

My City2Surf Training Program is now an eBook

‘How to Break Your Fitness Slump and Comfortably Finish a Fun Run’

My full City2Surf training program is now available as an eBook from all leading online bookstores and contains a link to download the training schedule as an iCal file, so you can import it into your calendar.

Also, feel free to join my free Facebook training group the City2Surf 100 day Challenge.