Being from Columbus, Ohio, I like to follow local athletes as they leave our city and monitor their athletic progress. One of those athletes is former Dublin Coffman track star, Abby Steiner, who is now a junior track athlete at the University of Kentucky.
This past weekend, she won the NCAA Indoor Championships 200M title. I believe she is also the collegiate record holder in the event. And if you didn’t guess, she holds the Ohio high school state records in the 60M, 100M, and 200M (both indoor and outdoor).
If you remember watching Steiner run back in high school, you might not recognize her running style now. It is a little different.
My understanding is that her coaches changed up her arm carriage to swing a little more across her body and a little wider. Apparently this is by design for the banked 200M indoor tracks she runs on.
If you have run on a 200M indoor track, you know that it is tough to run all the way around at a high speed AND STAY IN YOUR LANE.
This new arm swing for Steiner was adjusted by her coaches at Kentucky. She is running at a very high rate of speed. This fast arm carriage that swings a little more outside as opposed to her normal running helps to keep her body more aligned as she is generating this high force of speed on a 200M track.
She also keeps her hands in a clenched fist. Not a tight fist. My guess is it is a relaxed fist, but I’m figuring that is to shorten her arms so she can pump them faster. If the hands and fingers are opened up, that makes a longer arm to pump. Possibly slowing you down.
I will be curious to see if she keeps this running form as she goes into outdoor with a normal sized track. If you see video of the 2019 SEC 200M outdoor championships when she was a freshman, her arm carriage is like a normal arm swing.
This works for her because she is counter-balancing the high speeds her legs are generating. Plus, she takes advantage of the banked track. Someone who isn’t quite as fast, I don’t know if this arm carriage works as effectively.
With proper arm swing, you teach young runners not to have your arms cross your body. As they start fatiguing, it could possibly cause the shoulders to swing. Thus, creating more wind resistance and slowing you down.
Steiner’s arm carriage, she’s been disciplined enough to not allow the shoulders to swing when she does this modified swing. A young runner might not be able to do that. Plus, not generating as fast a speed, it might work against that runner.
She is obviously a gifted runner. For me, it has been interesting to watch how her coaches have tweaked her form to get her running as fast as she can. We will see what happens as she transitions to outdoor track.