Tag Archives: stride length

Strength Training Can Help You Run Faster

25 Jul

STFThere are several factors implicated in running speed.  Form and technique are certainly part of the equation (although I train some very fast athletes who don’t have textbook running form).  Stride length and stride frequency are critical success factors for any runner/sprinter.  And research continues to show that lower-extremity strength and power — and the development thereof — can help any athlete improve his or her speed and running efficiency.

Strength training (weight lifting) enhances muscle strength, so your muscle fibers don’t fatigue as quickly.  This leads to better running speed, efficiency, and overall performance.  Exercises that target hip drive (flexion and extension), leg strength, and explosive power can all be incorporated into your workout to increase the amount of force you are able to generate against the ground, resulting in improved speed and running efficiency.

Perform strength exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, deadliftsRomanian deadlifts, and lunges.  Add explosive exercises like squat jumps and box jumps.  Choose two of the strength exercises and one of the explosive exercises, and perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each, two or three days per week, with a day of rest between training days.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Kick it Up a Notch with Resisted Running

22 Jun

running_stairs[1]Resisted running/sprinting is a great way to develop speed and agility.  Methods of resistance may include gravity (running up hills or stairs) or overloading (parachute or weighted sled).  When running with resistance, it is important that the athlete maintains proper running mechanics, in order to improve speed-strength and stride length.

Generally, a 10% increase in external resistance is adequate, since loads of greater than 10% may have a detrimental effect on overall technique (dependent on the athlete).  You don’t want the athlete to slow down and “muscle through” each stride.  Ideally, you want the athlete to maintain explosive arm and knee punching action, andexplosive leg drive off the ground.

Gravity Resistance

Running up hills or stadium stairs will definitely increase the intensity level of your workout.  It will also benefit your speed, strength, agility, and cardiovascular fitness.  And you don’t necessarily need to find a hill.  An area with a grade of as little as 5-10% will do.  For stadium stairs, check out your local high school football facility.

Overload Resistance

If you have access to a parachute or weighted sled,  I would encourage you to try them (run against the wind with a parachute).  You won’t need to run long distances.  40-50 yard sprints are adequate for parachute running, and 15-20 yard bursts are sufficient for the weighted sled.

As with other modes of high-intensity training, allow adequate rest intervals between sets.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Shorten Your Running Stride to Reduce Injury Risk

27 Apr

Steve Prefontaine of Oregon set a U.S. record in the 3,000-meter race on Saturday, June 26, 1972 in the Rose Festival Track Meet at Gresham, Oregon. His time was 7 minutes, 45.8 seconds. Profontaine will run 5,000 meters in the U.S. Olympic Trials which get underway on Thursday in Eugene. (AP Photo/Clark)

If you’re a runner — or if running is part of your training — shortening your stride can reduce your injury risk, according to research from Iowa State University.

Here’s the rationale: Reducing your stride length by as little as 5-10% places less strain on commonly injured areas, such as IT (Iliotibial) bands and knees.  The Iliotibial band is the connective tissue (ligament) extending from the pelvic bone to the shinbone. IT band syndrome occurs when this ligament becomes so tight that it rubs against the thighbone. Distance runners are especially susceptible to it.

Because shorter strides are less jarring, they help to reduce and ease the impact on these vulnerable areas.

Shorter strides are also more efficient, helping to improve your overall running economy.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strength Training Can Help You Run Faster

5 Jun

STFThere are several factors implicated in running speed.  Form and technique are certainly part of the equation (although I train some very fast athletes who don’t have textbook running form).  Stride length and stride frequency are critical success factors for any runner/sprinter.  And research continues to show that lower-extremity strength and power — and the development thereof — can help any athlete improve his or her speed and running efficiency.

Strength training (weight lifting) enhances muscle strength, so your muscle fibers don’t fatigue as quickly.  This leads to better running speed, efficiency, and overall performance.  Exercises that target hip drive (flexion and extension), leg strength, and explosive power can all be incorporated into your workout to increase the amount of force you are able to generate against the ground, resulting in improved speed and running efficiency.

Perform strength exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and lunges.  Add explosive exercises like squat jumps and box jumps.  Choose two of the strength exercises and one of the explosive exercises, and perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each, two or three days per week, with a day of rest between training days.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Kick it Up a Notch with Resisted Running

10 May

running_stairs[1]Resisted running/sprinting is a great way to develop speed and agility.  Methods of resistance may include gravity (running up hills or stairs) or overloading (parachute or weighted sled).  When running with resistance, it is important that the athlete maintains proper running mechanics, in order to improve speed-strength and stride length.

Generally, a 10% increase in external resistance is adequate, since loads of greater than 10% may have a detrimental effect on overall technique (dependent on the athlete).  You don’t want the athlete to slow down and “muscle through” each stride.  Ideally, you want the athlete to maintain explosive arm and knee punching action, and explosive leg drive off the ground.

Gravity Resistance

Running up hills or stadium stairs will definitely increase the intensity level of your workout.  It will also benefit your speed, strength, agility, and cardiovascular fitness.  And you don’t necessarily need to find a hill.  An area with a grade of as little as 5-10% will do.  For stadium stairs, check out your local high school football facility.

Overload Resistance

If you have access to a parachute or weighted sled,  I would encourage you to try them (run against the wind with a parachute).  You won’t need to run long distances.  40-50 yard sprints are adequate for parachute running, and 15-20 yard bursts are sufficient for the weighted sled.

As with other modes of high-intensity training, allow adequate rest intervals between sets.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Speed Training and Development (get faster!)

18 Aug

Let’s face it… speed can be a “difference maker.”  Speed can mean the difference between playing and sitting; winning and losing.  Not everyone has the potential to be fast, but everyone has the potential to be faster.  I don’t think anyone would argue that speed is an important component of athletic success.  There are a few principles to follow to make your speed training more effective.

Running Form/Mechanics

  • Swing your arms with your elbows, not with your shoulders or hands; Keep your elbows bent at right angles, and keep your arm swing linear (don’t swing your arms across your body).
  • Keep your eyes in front of you; don’t look down at your feet.
  • Land on the balls of your feet and keep your heels off the ground; this should help you to maintain a slightly forward lean (shoulders in front of hips).
  • Pick your foot off the ground, and swing your leg forward so that your upper leg is parallel to the ground.
  • Drive against the ground with every stride, but try to minimize ground time; the longer your foot stays in contact with the ground, the slower you will run.

Running Speed = Stride Length X Stride Frequency.  The longer your stride, combined with the frequency at which you replace each stride, will determine your speed.

Run Fast

You have to train yourself to run fast.  That means developing speed “muscle memory.”  You should perform every sprint at (or close to) maximum speed.  You can’t train by performing sprints at only a percentage of your maximum speed, and expect to “teach” your body to run at full speed.

Allow for Adequate Rest Intervals

Sprinting at maximum speed requires proper technique, so you must avoid excessive fatigue.  Sprinting when you’re tired results in poor running mechanics and slower speeds.

  • Recover fully between sprints; rest 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the distance.
  • Don’t overdo it; 3-10 sprints, with full recovery, are more than adequate; sprints should be done towards the beginning of your workout (after warm-up) when your energy level is highest.

Strength Training

You have to be strong.  Running speed doesn’t really exist outside the context of lower-extremity strength and power (sprinting is exerting force against the ground).    Strength training is – and should be – an important component of speed training and development.  Squats (and squat-type exercises), Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, and Plyometrics should be performed as part of your Strength and Conditioning regimen.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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