Whether you’re a newbie or advanced marathoner, you’ve probably learned that injuries come with the territory. Scientists have blamed everything from running too much to being overweight to having bad form.
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On that last point—bad form—the thinking has been: Land on the balls of your feet first, rather than your heels. But a new study says you can be a heel striker and still avoid injuries.
The key is how hard you strike the ground. The runners who never got hurt during this two-year study were the ones who landed the lightest.
To soften your step, think about landing softly, increase the number of steps you take, or try landing closer to your mid-foot (if you have a history of running injuries), says Dr. Irene Davis, the study’s lead author.