A staple of any advanced training plan and a must do on any scholastic track or cross country team, strides are a wonderful tool. Running strides has many benefits and missing out on them might leave speed on the table. The good news is that running strides is both fun and good for you. Here’s a guide on how to get the most from the strides you run.
What are strides?
Strides are a short pick-up designed to focus on form. Each one lasts for 15 to 30 seconds with about 1:40 recovery and reaches close to mile pace on flat ground. Note that a stride is not a sprint!
Why run strides?
Running strides will improve your form. It should be exaggerated and focused on during each pick-up with good posture and a relaxed body being paramount. Strides also help develop muscle memory and encourage higher cadence which can mean increased speeds over the long haul. These fast bursts at the end of a workout remind your legs that they have the ability to go fast when they’re a little tired. That not only builds confidence but can help your become more fit. Spending little bits of time at faster paces adds up to make a once seemingly way too fast race pace closer every time you hit it.
When should I run strides?
Running strides can mix up the middle of a longer run or close out an easy one. Tossing some in the middle of a session is a great way to build fitness while having fun. Try not to leave them for the very end of a workout or you might end up skipping them. Additional times for strides include warming up for a race or before a tough workout. Since they prepare your body to run fast and work hard using them is a must.
Meant to improve form, have some fun running fast and build fitness running strides is an invaluable and simple tool for everyone. If you’re not comfortable adding strides to your next easy run, reach out to a qualified coach for help.
Running shoes. There are more styles, colors and types than most people know what to do with. That doesn’t mean, however, they aren’t important. The things you put on your feet when you head out the door for a run is ta crucial factor. Shoes can make you faster, slow you down, protect your foot from debris and help stabilize an unsteady gait. Making you feel pretty or more fun is usually an added bonus. Here are a few kinds of footwear you might find while browsing and what each can do for you.
Training shoes. This is a comfortable everyday shoe with a reasonable drop and amount of cushioning. Covering 20 miles in these old friends should be no sweat. You’ll spend the most time with these trusty companions so learn to love them. There are tons of choices in this type of shoe so get fitted by a professional and make sure your feet are happy.
Racing Shoes. New or returning athletes won’t initially need a pair of race specific running shoes. This special pair of kicks is designed to help you go a bit faster on race day. With lighter materials and less cushion they’re daintier than your training shoes. The oftentimes lower drop in light shoes will make your entire leg stretch a little bit more with each step and the firmer build will make each muscle absorb a little more impact. Those factors put additional stress on your body making them less than ideal for lots of training miles.
Tempo Shoes. The above paragraph not withstanding, training in the shoe you’ll wear on race day is very important. You risk a serious injury if you only train in cushioned shoes then go out to race a marathon in a racing shoe. This lighter weight trainer is somewhere between your race shoe and training shoe, leaning towards the former.
A recovery shoe. This cushy, comfy shoe is for the easy days. Recovery running shoes are fluffy and have lots of padding. They have a big drop to give your muscles a break from all the stretching and contracting of a lower drop pair. While the shoe won’t provide any extra benefit like a massage or compression it will give your legs a breather.
A trail shoe (or something else). A special model designed for the roughness of unpaved, gravel and dirt surfaces not everyone needs a trail shoe. Typically heavier with a thicker sole running shoes dedicated to trails are a good tool if you’re heading off road. Additional options include spikes for cross country or track running, racing flats and any other special occasion footwear you can find.