Running Strides: Unleash Your Speed.

running strides

Are you ready to take your running to the next level and unlock your inner speed demon? Well, look no further than the fantastic world of running strides! But wait, what exactly are running strides, and how can they help you become a faster, more efficient runner? Stick with me as we dive into this exciting topic, sprinkle in some humor, and provide you with all the juicy details.

What in the World Are Running Strides?


Imagine you’re a gazelle, gracefully gliding across the savannah. Okay, maybe you’re not quite there yet, but you can get pretty darn close with running strides. Running strides, also known as striders or accelerations, are short bursts of near-maximum effort running that help improve your form, speed, and overall running prowess. Think of them as those extra turbo boosts in video games – they’re the secret weapon to leveling up your running game.

Why Should You Care About Running Strides?

Now, you might be thinking, “I’m not an Olympic sprinter, why should I bother with these fancy strides?” Well, my friend, that’s a great question! Running strides offer a plethora of benefits, regardless of your skill level or running goals.

  1. Improved Form: Strides force you to focus on running with proper form. During these short bursts, you’ll naturally pay more attention to your posture, arm swing, and footstrike, which can translate to better overall running mechanics.
  2. Speed Development: Whether you’re aiming for a new personal best in your 5K or simply want to finish your daily run a bit faster, strides are your go-to tool for increasing speed. They teach your body to move more efficiently at higher speeds.
  3. Muscle Activation: Strides activate those fast-twitch muscle fibers that may not get much action during your easy-paced runs. This activation can improve your power and explosiveness when you need it most.Kenyan leg muscles
  4. Injury Prevention: By practicing good form and gradually increasing your speed, strides can help reduce the risk of injuries. They can also be a valuable part of your warm-up routine.
  5. Mental Boost: Knowing you can run faster when you want to can give you a mental edge in races. Strides build confidence and that all-important killer instinct.

How Do You Do Running Strides?

Alright, enough with the teasing. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how to perform these magical strides. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Find a Flat Surface: To get the most out of your strides, find a relatively flat and smooth stretch of terrain, like a track or a straight section of a road.
  2. Warm Up: It’s crucial to warm up before diving into strides. Start with 10-15 minutes of easy running to get your heart rate up and your muscles warm. I usually do mine after an easy run.
  3. Set a Distance: Decide how long your strides will be. Typically, they’re about 80-100 meters long, but you can adjust the distance based on your fitness level. Or pick a time –> 20-30 secs max.
  4. Gradual Build-Up: Begin with a relaxed jog and gradually build up to about 95% of your maximum effort during the stride. This should feel fast but controlled.                                                                                                             Men's Running Products
  5. Focus on Form: As you pick up speed, pay close attention to your form. Keep your upper body relaxed, your arms pumping, and your stride smooth.
  6. Stride It Out: Hit your top speed around the midpoint of the stride distance, then gradually slow down as you reach the end. It’s like revving up a sports car and then gently easing off the gas.
  7. Recover: After each stride, jog or walk back to your starting point to recover fully. This recovery period is essential to maintain quality during your strides.
  8. Repeat: Depending on your fitness level, aim for 4-8 strides in a single session. You can gradually increase the number as you become more comfortable with them.
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         Anabolic Running

Now that you know how to perform individual strides, let’s put together a typical stride session. Remember, the specifics can vary based on your goals and fitness level, but here’s a sample session to give you an idea:

  • Warm-up: 10-15 minutes of easy jogging.
  • Drills (Optional): Some runners like to include dynamic drills like high knees or butt kicks to further prepare their muscles.
  • Strides: Perform 6 x 100-metre or 30 second strides with full recovery (walking or slow jogging) between each.
  • Cool Down: Finish with a 10-15 minute easy jog to help your body recover.

This session is a great starting point for many runners. You can adjust the number of strides and the distance based on your fitness level and goals. The key is to maintain good form and focus on quality rather than quantity.

When Should You Do Running Strides?

Timing is everything, and that applies to running strides too. Here are a few scenarios when incorporating strides into your training can be particularly beneficial:

  1. Before a Race: Doing a few strides before a race can wake up your muscles and sharpen your mind. They’ll remind your body what it feels like to run at race pace.
  2. As Part of a Workout: Strides can be integrated into your regular training routine. For instance, you can include them at the end of an easy run or as part of a more structured workout.
  3. During a Recovery Week: On lighter training weeks, strides can add a bit of intensity without overloading your body.
  4. As a Form Tune-Up: If you’ve been struggling with your running form, strides can serve as a form-focused session. Use them as an opportunity to work on your mechanics.
  5. Anytime You Need a Boost: Feeling sluggish during a run? Throw in a stride or two to wake up your legs and inject some energy into your workout.


What Does a Typical Stride Session Look Like?

Stride Form

When you’re doing strides, always make sure your form is on point.

Telling someone to “run with good form” is cool, but what does that even mean? Well, it depends on your body type and how you move. If you’ve got some technical weak spots, strides are a golden chance to fix those. But, here are a few things that can help almost every runner:

First off, stand tall. Good posture fixes a bunch of problems – easier breathing, relaxed shoulders and neck, and less stress on your hip flexors. It also opens up your hips, making your leg swing and cadence top-notch.

Stay loose. When you’re sprinting, it’s normal to tighten up, making it tricky to do all those fancy running moves. Focus on relaxing different areas, like your shoulders, neck, jaw, and hands. If relaxing is a challenge, throw in some arm swings between strides. Also remember your natural stride is best for you – do not try to extend it – see this report from U.S. Track and Field consultant Iain Hunter and U.S. Olympian Jared Ward. That will only lead to injury.

Now, about your arms. Swing those elbows backward when you’re hauling it. It helps steady your trunk and gets those hip flexors working. Keep your arms bent at about 90 degrees and focus on moving them backward, not forward.

Foot placement matters. When you’re speeding up, aim for a mid- to fore-foot strike. Hit the ground with the ball of your foot first.

Flex those toes. Pull them towards your shin – it helps your Achilles tendon kick in more force during toe-off. Get this right, and you’ll be running faster without breaking a sweat.

Extend that rear leg. Push your hip, knee, and ankle out before toe-off for max force and a smoother forward push.

Play with your cadence. Forget about locking into a specific number of steps per minute. Experiment with speeding up and slowing down during strides. You’ll figure out what feels right for you.

Just remember, a higher cadence means less time in the air between steps. That means less force when you land and less stress on those legs. Easy peasy, right?

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The Bottom Line: Why You Should Embrace Strides?

In the world of running, strides are like the secret ingredient that takes your performance to the next level. They’re simple to incorporate, versatile, and incredibly effective at improving your speed, form, and overall running prowess. So, whether you’re training for a marathon, aiming to set a new personal record, or simply want to enjoy your daily jog a bit more, give running strides a try.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your running prowess. Be patient, stay consistent, and watch as those gazelle-like strides become a regular part of your running arsenal. So lace up those running shoes, hit the pavement, and let the world of running strides unlock your inner speed demon. Happy striding! 🏃💨

 

 

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