All too frequently, when focusing on running technique the main areas addressed are the biomechanics of the legs and feet, but what about the movements and use of the upper body and arms?
In my coaching experience, there are huge gains to be made for an athlete when they learn to integrate correct arm and upper body mechanics into their technique.
In distance runners, I tend to coach individuals to strike a balance between:
- Using the arms actively to maintain rhythm and to set a steady leg cadence
- Generating power, balance and stability
- Staying relaxed and smooth
- Cutting out any excessive rotation through the torso by maintaining control of the arm swing
- Being efficient in their movements for the given pace
For distance runners the active swing and rhythm of arms can provide a great trigger to “keep the legs turning over” when fatigue kicks in during the latter parts of a race.
This, amongst other key points is also pointed out in the great video below by our friend and fellow coach Brian Martin (@BrianRunCoach).