If you’ve never heard of “striders” or aren’t sure how to use them, come on, I’ll show you.
First of all, they are fun and easy to do. Basically, all you do is: walk 100 steps, run 100 steps, then repeat. The run part is accelerating from a slow jog to 80%-90% of your max speed, holding that fast pace, and then decelerating back to a jog.
“Striders” are commonly used as a warm-up routine for sprinters, but they are also one of the best ways to improve the overall speed of long distance runners too. These striders are a little different because they are done at the END of a run. Let me explain.
The secret to running faster is…running faster. Yup, it’s that simple. And you’ll get more bang-for-the-buck with striders than any other type of speed work.
We all know that we should cool-down after a run, and most of us do walk it off a little, right? So how do you incorporate speed building into a cool-down?
Try this: As you near the end of a long run, slow down to a walk. Keep walking for 100 steps (that’s not really very far). Now for the strider: begin with a slow jog and pick up speed. By step 20 you’ll be into a regular run, then by step 30 you’ll be running a fast pace, and at step 40 you’ll be near your fastest speed (80%-90% effort). Hold that speedy pace for the next 20 steps, and then begin to slow down over the last 40 steps until you’re walking again. BOOM, all done!
Be sure to focus on good form throughout the strider. Try doing one or two at first, then build up to 6-10 times at the end of your long runs.
These should be easy to do. If it’s difficult then you’re going too hard or too long. Also, you should only do these “striders” at the end of a slow pace run. If you’ve been running fast/hard, then the speed work is already done for the day, no striders necessary.
How do striders help with speed? The purpose is to refresh the neuromuscular pathways that control the run, often referred to as “muscle memory”, instead of musculoskeletal conditioning. Basically, it reminds you how it feels to run faster. Plus, they’re fun!
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