Sub 3 Hour Marathon Training Guide

Running Technique

As we mentioned on other pages, if you are looking to run fast marathons you need to try to gain every advantage that you can through your training.

One of the most neglected parts of running training is work on technique, particularly amongst distance runners.

Having said that, you will rarely see a top level runner with poor technique, even those who don't look as fluent as the likes of Haile Gebresallasie or Paul Tergat, often only have minor flaws to their technique, which does little to affect their running times, such as Paula Radcliffe and her head nodding when she gets tired.

The most interesting thing about the way all top runners run is how similar much of the action is to all other runners, even sprinters. In other words, we shouldn't be developing a running technique for marathon runners and another for other distance, it is just that when you do the marathon you don't put as much effort into each stride.

There is a full description on Running Technique in other areas of the site, so please look at this, but opposite are some ideas of the problems that often afflict marathon runners technique.

Technique Tips

Heel Striking

There is still a lot of discussion as to the relative merits of forefoot / heel striking running actions, but the way we believe that all runners should aim to run with their forefoot taking the majority of their weight. The heel striking believers will tell you about some of the great marathon runners who were heel strikers, possibly the most famous being Alberto Salazar. However, the truth is that the vast majority of elite runners don't do this.

The reason is two fold

  1. most heel strikers will hit the floor well infront on their centre of gravity and this is inefficent (Salazar bend forwards a long way to counter this)
  2. when you heel strike most of the work in your action is done with your quadriceps, which doesn't allow your calves, hamstrings or gluts to work to their full potential.

Pendulum Legs

By this we mean that the athlete doesn't lift their heels up significantly towards their backsides. This makes decent knee lift very hard and results in a short stride. It also places of lot of strain on hip flexors and tend to lead to a sitting action with low hips, which again puts too much of the workload on the quadriceps.

Wasting Energy

Some athletes waste a lot of energy by lifting their bodies up and down, rather than holding their upper bodies still and moving their legs both up and down as well as forwards and backwards. Holding your body tall during the running action is important here (to avoid sinking too much) and good core stability will help with this.

Learn more / further reading

  1. Types of Training
  2. Mileage
  3. Long Runs
  4. Weekly Plan
  5. Recovery
  6. Strength / Power
  7. Lifestyle
  8. Marathon Running Gear

If you would like some more help with your training to move you on to the next level with your running, why not try our Online Coaching facility.
















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