Yes, the pandemic and subsequent Safer-At-Home scenarios have put a massive damper on our ability to train and race as we’d hoped. However, it provides us with a unique opportunity to take some time to focus on our “weaknesses” or as I prefer to refer to them, areas with exciting potential for growth. One of those areas for so many is speed. For a quick, easy, and effective way to work on your speed during “easy” run days, add some strides. Strides are incredibly effective and easily added to a training run. Strides are about 30 seconds of fast running – increased turnover for a smooth, notably faster running pace but not a sprint. Your stride pace should be one you could maintain for about 5 minutes. To incorporate strides into training, start with 4-6 strides a few days a week during “easy” runs. You can gradually increase this to 6-10 strides, as tolerated. Onto to how complete a stride!
1. From running your normal pace, gradually build speed – increasing turnover to a smooth, notably faster running pace but not a sprint.
2. Run at your quickened pace for about 20 seconds, keeping your stride and breathing smooth and controlled.
3. Gradually decrease your speed back to your normal running pace.
4. Rest for at least 1 minute in between and repeat.
Have fun with it! Enjoy the silky smooth quick running stride, knowing it will end long before you are panting or asking yourself, “Why the hell am I doing this?!” Strides lay the groundwork for the body to begin acclimating to running at a variety of paces. Breaking you out of your “autopilot” pace, they provide the opportunity for your mind and body to become more coordinated and efficient at running quickly, which translates to you being able to maintain a faster pace, longer. Through doing strides you are also increasing your aerobic capacity a bit, improving how efficiently and effectively your body delivers oxygen to your cells. Over time you’ll realize quicker paces come more easily and almost like magic, you’ll be consistently running faster!
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