In my previous post Ancillary Components in your run training, I discussed little things you can add to your run training program that make a big difference. One of those things I feel all healthy runners can include in their training program is strides.
What are strides?
Simply put, strides are controlled burst of speed that an athlete runs for about 10-30 seconds. Sometimes measured by distances between 50 meters -150 meters Strides are meant to be fast, but run under a controlled effort. They are not all out sprints. While completing strides, a runner should focus on proper running mechanics. This is not meant to be a difficult addition to the workout and shouldn’t really add additional fatigue.
Why should you include strides?
Strides are simple and take a relatively short amount of time to see the benefits. The primary benefit to strides is an improvement in running economy. They can be used to develop good running form and build strength that allows you to run faster with less effort. This is especially true when paired with a training plan that pairs strides with form drills and strength training. (Check out my previous post on Ancillary Components in your run training )
How to run strides?
While completing strides the runner should be focused on good running mechanics. This includes good posture and running with a slight 1-2 degree lean forward. Strides should feel controlled, avoid tensing up. Utilize your arms to drive your leg action, pumping your arms hard to increase the speed. Move your arms in a front to back motion, avoid crossing the mid-line and any unnecessary rotation of you trunk. Typically, a flat surface is ideal location for strides. Parking lots and grass fields are great choices. My high school athletes love kicking off their shoes and getting in some barefoot strides after a run.
If you have a quality training session (speed work) try getting in a few strides as part of the warm up process. It’s a great transition from the easy warm up jog to the faster work ahead. Another option is to add in strides after easy runs, strides are a great way to change up the leg turn over with out building fatigue and continuing your active recovery.
I am a VDot Certified coach with over 11 years of coaching experience! I have worked with young beginners in the middle school level, high school athletes who have gone on to compete at national Division I championships, and adult runners of all abilities. For more information click here