Running a Marathon For Dummies
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Having a good form is critical if you run marathons, or you risk injury. Whether you run marathons or just run for fun or fitness, these tips can improve your running form.

  • Land with your feet directly under your hips.

  • Don’t overstride by landing sharply with your heel and your leg out in front of your body. This causes you to decelerate.

  • Make a conscious effort to run as lightly as possible, springing off the ground with each step.

  • Place your foot on the ground directly underneath your hips so that you “roll” into the next stride. Your foot should already be moving backward relative to the ground as it lands so that you have a smooth transition into the next step.

  • Run tall, with your hips directly over your legs.

  • Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees or slightly less. When your arms flare open, you lengthen your levers, which makes swinging your arms more difficult.

  • Don’t allow your arms to cross over the midline of your chest. Direct all your effort into moving your body forward; when your arms cross your chest, your torso starts twisting and you add undesirable sideways movement.

  • Keep the palms of your hands facing your body and cup your hands like you’re gently holding a potato chip. Relax your hands and arms so you don’t create tension in your upper body.

  • Swing your arms with quick, compact movements. Your legs do what your arms do, so quick arms means quick legs.

  • To run faster, increase the cadence of your arms, but keep the movements controlled and compact.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Jason R. Karp, PhD, is a nationally recognized running and fitness coach, freelance writer and author, and exercise physiologist. He is the owner of, a running coaching and personal training company, and the 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year.

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