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The Running Coach: Short and Sweet, Tips for Running Faster

Posted Jun 20 2012 8:12am

Want a quick and easy way to increase your leg turnover? Of course you do!

The bad news is—there really aren’t any shortcuts to getting faster. If you want to race fast, you need to spend time training fast. However, the good news is that there’s a way to boost your speed on each and every run, without any muscle breakdown.

I’m talking about strides. These are short (think 100 meters or so) bursts of speed run with quick leg turnover. You can easily sprinkle them into any run and before you know it, you’ll see some payback.

The way I recommend completing strides is to incorporate them into the end of any easy run you’re doing. In the last mile, just find a nice stretch of road and throw in about five or six of these. Don’t worry about pace, don’t worry about exact distance, just do them.

You can (and should) also use strides at the beginning of track workouts. It’s the perfect way to prep your legs for the harder work that is to come. Warm up for a couple of miles and then when you get to the track, run a couple of laps that include 100-meter bursts of speed (use the straight-aways for this).

Strides should never be run all out, but at a good clip. Concentrate on your form while doing them. Aim for the ideal cadence of 180 and think about leaning from your ankles, swinging your arms directly forward and backward (not across your body).

Add these into your routine and I can promise, in short order you’re going to start seeing some difference. Good luck!

Have you done strides before? What other speed workouts have you incorporated into your training? Share your ideas for workouts in the comments.

- Amanda

(Amanda Loudin is a runner, coach, and freelance writer with 15 years experience in endurance events. As a runner, she’s in perpetual training mode, usually with a slate of about eight races per year on her plate. As a coach, she has helped runners achieve their goals in every distance from 5k to the marathon. She shares her passion for the sport on her blog, MissZippy1 , and daily on Twitter at @ misszippy1 .)

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