November 30, 2023

This simple form fix will make you faster and more efficient

I’ve received personal arm-carriage instruction from Golden Harper and Tom Miller, both of whom are referenced in the below article. Both are true running experts and record-holders of different stripes, and both made me a believer in their systems. 

And the best thing about this: There’s nothing to buy. You don’t have to pay a cent. (Although I’ll link to one $12 item.) You just have to practice on your own.

Basically, the system could be called: “Run with your elbows.” Or: “Pull your elbows back.” The article claims that driving your arms backward shifts your balance more upright and forward. In that position, your feet can land closer beneath your body, and push backward more efficiently. 

In fact, coach Andrew Kastor says the one thing he typically yells in a race, where a runner can only hear and implement one simple thing, is: “Elbows Back!”

That’s what I see whenever I watch a video of Eliud Kipchoge heading toward another marathon finish tape. Look at the side view of Kipchoge 20 seconds into this video.

You’ll also enjoy this webpage that promotes a $12 elastic band you can buy to practice Kipchoge elbow running. Click down the page once or twice for an adorable, short video with a young girl runner who’s about 10 years old. (You can fashion a similar device on your own by grabbing a length of elastic resistance band, tying the ends together, and sliding the loop over your shoulders like a coat. Once it’s on, simply tuck your thumbs or whole hands into the front of the loop, and start running. More at Outside Online.

NCAA champ Parker Valby proves the value of cross-training

Many runners cross-train to avoid injury and prolong their healthy running, but few bigtime race winners credit their success to cross-training. Parker Valby from the Univ. of Florida is the rare exception. She was second in last year’s NCAA Cross Country Championships, and first this fall. 

We still don’t have a lot of specific information about Valby’s training, but she apparently covers only 25 to 30 miles a week with on-the-ground running. That’s less than half what many top collegiate runners do. When not running, she’ll log an hour or more per day of cross-training on an elliptical machine named the Arc Trainer (a favorite of many runners) and/or an indoor bike or other equipment.

Here her coach of a year ago describes how fiercely Valby attacks workouts when cross training. And here members of the LetsRun message board debate their views on cross-training for runners.

The linked article below summarizes several studies of cross-training for runners--how it can help you maintain fitness, and maybe even improve. Cross training can be particularly helpful for masters runners, and for young runners battling injury. 

A key issue: When you do hit the roads, trails, or track, you’ve got to devote some hard workouts to race pace preparation. I think it’s a good idea to also include some modest downhill running, because it’s hard to simulate eccentric muscle contractions of the legs on most cross-training machines. More at Trail Runner.

Run for your life with endurance and gratitude

This newsletter, “Run Long, Run Healthy,” exists because I believe the running you did yesterday is wonderful, but the running and other movement you do tomorrow is more important. Yes, you’ll probably be slower tomorrow (next year; next decade), but your personal fitness contributes more to your overall health and well being with increasing age.

To serve this end, I have now run Connecticut’s big annual Turkey Trot, the Manchester Road Race (4.748 miles) 61 years in a row--an unofficial world record for road race streaks. I know this streak won’t continue infinitely, but I can’t see any reason to stop now. 

I won Manchester 9 times in my 20s. That was fun. But the race is more meaningful to me now than it was then. Even though it takes me twice as long to complete the course as it did in the 1970s.

Two women are not far behind me. This year Janet Romayko and Beth Shluger finished Manchester for the 51st year in a row. That appears to be a world-record road race streak for women.

Romayko says: “I will continue running Manchester as long as I can. My aunt walked the course on Thanksgiving at age 93. I’d like to beat her record.” That’s the attitude we need.

Shluger: For 50 years I have had the gift of knowing exactly what I’ll be doing on Thanksgiving morning, and it's a gift of love, family, community and the Manchester Road Race. In this sometimes-crazy world, that is a mighty precious gift.” That’s the gratitude we need to express. More at

SHORT STUFF you don’t want to miss

>>> Stride right: The Stryd foot pod is effective to “delineate exercise intensity domains, guide training intensity, and assess aerobic fitness.”

HERE’S WHAT ELSE you would have received this week if you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text “Run Long, Run Healthy.”

# Do “rocker” shoes help you run faster and farther?

# Unexpected result: High heat makes you slower, but isn’t a big health risk

# Should you try a Heinz ketchup packet instead of an energy gel?

# The training tool that provides the BIGGEST bang for the buck ($0.00)

# Nutrition strategies that tame stomach distress

# Feet first--Footstrike pattern is more important than footwear type for injury prevention

# Success! A new surgery alternative that works great for IT Band Syndrome

# An inspirational quote sure to improve your winter training

Click here for info about subscribing to the full-text RLRH for just $4/month. 

And remember: “I spend HOURS searching the Internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles, so you can review them in MINUTES.”

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading. See you again next week. Amby