I was thinking about my arms while I was running yesterday. After having watched, "Indulgence", a film about ultrarunning featuring Anton Kupricka, I couldn't help noticing that he runs with very relaxed arms, almost hanging down by his sides.
I tried running like this for a while but it felt so unnatural. In fact it reminded me of how I hold my glass when I am in a disco, something that my wife relentlessly takes the piss out of me for. I hold my glass up against my chest, I suppose because (a) it is less likely to get knocked (although if it does spill, I'm going to get soaked) and (b) there is less distance to travel to my mouth. My wife thinks it is due to my Englishness; Spanish people, on the other hand, hold their glasses at full arm extension, down by their hips.
A compact arm swing should be more efficient because, like a pendulum, it requires less force to swing the shorter the radius. On the other hand, when standing still it is definitely more relaxing to hold your arms as the Spanish hold their drinks. I wonder whether it is better to run like Krupicka does for the sort of ulltralong distances that he covers, or whether this is just his idiosyncratic style.
A few months ago, after putting up this photo of me running in Asturias
a friend of mine compared my running style to that of the President of Spain, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, here seen jogging with the British Prime Minister, David Cameron
I have to admit, it does look weird but once you realize that the arms have to pass each other at the same height at some point however you run, you see that it is just a question of timing...