Wednesday, April 2, 2014


A few weeks ago, I said that I would talk about ways to improve leg speed. Sorry, there has been so much going on in my life that I am just now getting back to this topic.

If you are like me, you finish your runs, and you have just enough time to clean up before rushing off to do something else. Oh, the priorities of life. There is always more to do than is possible in any single day.

“Point well taken”

Most runners usually follow a training plan of one up-tempo workout and one long run per week. These two workouts are surrounded by easy recovery days.

When you think about it, you are really only getting one day per week where you are doing any real hard running. I totally understand why. Most people can only stand so many hard efforts before the stress from it starts to breakdown the body.

But this means, we spend a lot time just putting in mileage that is well below what we might be our race pace. Is there any wonder why the legs have trouble running fast? They spend most of their time doing something other than running hard.

This is where some strides should be introduced into your training plan. Personally, I wish that I ran strides more often than I do.

Usually, I do a set of strides once per week.

Strides only take a few minutes to do.

Early in the season, I will run 3 or 4 of them – running somewhere between 30 and 50 meters. Later in the season, I will work up to 8 to 10 and make them about 100 meters. Make them too short and you will not get much out of them. Make it too long, and it becomes a much bigger workout.

From a speed perspective, I want to feel like I am running hard but controlled. They should not be a sprint, and you should not be out of breath. In my opinion the idea behind strides is to continually remind the legs and the nervous system of what it is like to run fast.
I will run my strides on any surface safe enough for running, but if I have can, I will find a nice grassy soccer field. Grassy surfaces are easier on the body and in my opinion feel like they are faster.

If you decide to add strides to your weekly workout, choose a day where you are running easy and short. Just after you finish your run go directly into doing your strides. This way the legs still have “get up” in them plus they are warmed up. This reduces the changes of injury.  

This way you feel like you have accomplished something but it isn’t enough to interfere with your recovery for your next big workout.

Start with one day and try to get up to two days per week.

Usually after three or four weeks, I really start to feel a difference in my running and especially in my intervals.

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner





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