Below is my comment on the article by Gretchen Reynolds at the NY Times
I used to carry my hands lower when I ran, assuming holding them too high would be a waste of energy (similar to Wally Dunn’s thinking below) however I would often get sore shoulders during races ranging from the 5k to the 100 miler. Then one day I saw a video of myself during a V02 Max test and it dawned on me that holding my arms lower required more effort to move them, and since I have a high step cadence I move my arms quite rapidly.
Since seeing that video I made a conscious effort to raise my hands and keep them in a bit tighter to my body.
I’ve no longer experienced the sore shoulders during races 🙂
Also, one of my favorite quotes about arm position comes from Gordon Pirie:
“Some say it does not really matter what a runner does with their arms. My response is to ask them if it is okay if I run with one arm behind my back and the other between my legs. They look at me as if I’ve lost my marbles. Then I put both hands over my head and ask: “is this okay?” Or, I’ll put my hands on my ears and ask: “how about this?”. If none of hose methods of carrying your arms is correct, and if we eliminate all the incorrect ways of using your upper body and arms (reductio ad absurdum in mathematics), we logically should arrive at something that works very well indeed.”