Phase VI – You’ve Got 2 Arms. Use ‘Em!

The Bird Run Drill is best performed consistently throughout a run. Be sure to relax your shoulders and slightly bend your elbows. You shouldn’t draw your shoulders up towards your ears. Think of holding a penny or pencil between your bicep and forearm. Stay relaxed, don’t squeeze or tense.
The debate regarding arm position is two-sided— In one camp, the belief resides in the idea that your elbows should remain at 90 degrees. The second, and what I believe to be the right side of the equation, finds a higher arm position more suitable for anything greater than a 5K. I’m not intending that a low arm position is never ideal, but it should be placed on reserve until you need it.
With lower arm positions approaching 90 degrees, you can generate large amounts of torque. The swing of an arm can help pull you passively into trunk rotation, essentially winding your core further and better engaging the spring mechanism of muscles. With lower arms comes more torque, but at the expense of generating more force, the result is fatigue. I recommend saving a lower arm position for a final kick to the finish or if you’re trying to drop someone. This is typically why we find track athletes with lower arm positions. A shorter race allows you to sustain the higher energy expenditure of a lower arm position without the risk of bonking.