Endurance running is a physically demanding activity that requires proper form and technique to prevent injury and optimise performance. One aspect of correct and efficient form that is often overlooked but incredibly important is the position of the arms while running. The arm position affects a runner’s balance, speed, and endurance, and understanding its importance can make a significant difference in achieving optimal performance.
The first thing to consider is the overall posture of the body. A runner’s posture should be upright, with the shoulders relaxed, and the head looking forward. When running, the arms should be bent at the elbows at an angle of 90 degrees or less. This position allows the runner to maintain balance and a smooth stride. If the arms are too straight, the runner will have a tendency to lean forward, which can put additional stress on the lower back and hips.
Another important consideration is the swing of the arms. The arms should swing in a straight line back and forth, not across the body. Swinging the arms across the body can throw off a runner’s balance and cause additional stress on the hips and legs. Additionally, the swing of the arms should be controlled and not too exaggerated. Exaggerated arm swings can cause fatigue and decrease running efficiency.
The position of the hands is also important. The hands should be relaxed and the fingers lightly curled, not clenched. Clenched fists can cause tension in the arms and shoulders, leading to fatigue and decreased endurance. Additionally, the hands should be held at waist level or slightly higher, not too high or too low. Holding the hands too high can cause tension in the shoulders, while holding them too low can affect the balance of the body.
The arm position also affects breathing. The arms and shoulders play a significant role in helping the lungs expand and contract during running. Proper arm position can help the lungs take in more air and deliver more oxygen to the muscles, improving endurance and overall performance. Conversely, incorrect arm position can make breathing more difficult and lead to fatigue and decreased performance.
In addition to the physical benefits of proper arm position, there are also psychological benefits. Maintaining proper arm position can help a runner feel more in control and confident, which can lead to better performance. Conversely, incorrect arm position can cause a runner to feel off balance and uneasy, leading to decreased confidence and performance.
In conclusion, the position of the arms is a critical factor in endurance running. Proper arm position can improve balance, speed, and endurance, as well as aid in breathing and provide psychological benefits. To optimise performance, runners should focus on maintaining an upright posture, a controlled arm swing, relaxed hands, and proper hand placement. By paying attention to this often-overlooked aspect of running technique, runners can achieve their best performance while minimising the risk of injury.
If you would like to improve your running technique, then come and join the Davey Black Melbourne Triathlon Club for video analysis and form correction during this pre-season.