I'm a 2:42 marathoner. At about 6:10/mile for the marathon, I'm not a professional, but I'm in the top 1-2% of finishers in a given marathon.
At my peak marathon training, I run 70+ miles per week, including two-a-days and weight lifting.
I've learned a lot about running in a short amount of time, and am sharing here the key principles that have helped me along the way.
The three key concepts to better running are:
In the sections below I cover specific techniques that ladder up to the above concepts.
One of the simplest improvements you can make to your running form is increasing your cadence (ie number of times your foot hits the ground per minute). Sub-optimal cadence is very common in beginner and intermediate runners — 80% of runners I see have this issue.
Even if you're running at the same speed, increasing your cadence will make your running smoother, easier, and less injury-prone. You'll heel-strike less (a big no-no) and with some practice the same speed will start to feel easier.
Sitting in chairs all day interferes with our body's ability to run optimally.
Since our torso and quads are at a ~90deg angle when we're sitting all day, this causes tight hips and underactivated glutes. This is the opposite of what we want when we run: