Running strides is a simple and effective way to improve your training that doesn’t take much time. There are many benefits to running strides, and many ways they can be used. I have found them to be beneficial in almost every phase of training. If you aren’t familiar with how to do strides, it’s time to learn more! If you have fallen out of the habit of doing them (like I tend to do) I will also share some reminders about how they can be beneficial.
Running Strides: Why And How To Include Them In Your Training
Back in 2019 I ran my first postpartum 5k. I was in fairly good shape after running a 12 mile race about a month earlier, and by that point I had been back to running for over 6 months. On that day I wasn’t going for a PR, but I wanted to run a strong race. I remember feeling good for most of the race but really struggling at the finish. The final 1/2 mile was around a flat lake so I figured I could pick up the pace. However, during that last stretch of the race I had nothing left. Looking back, I think if I had been doing strides prior to that race I would have been able to find a kick at the end.
What Are Strides?
Strides are short accelerations where you gradually get faster over the course of about 20-30 seconds. They cover short distances (50-100 meters) and you should build up to about 80-90% of your maximum speed while also focusing on maintaining good running form.
Why Is It Beneficial To Run Strides?
When strides are done properly they have many benefits. These should not be done as a sprint. The gradual increase to almost your top speed helps you to learn to switch from using slow switch to fast twitch muscle fibers. They also allow your body to feel what it’s like to work anaerobically without overdoing it or having a high risk of injury. When done with good form they can also reinforce proper running mechanics, help with leg turnover, and get you used to running at high speeds.
You may also like: How to do Running Strides and Why
When And Where To Do Strides
Strides can be done after an easy run or before a hard workout or race. If they are being done after an easy run you will want to complete your entire run and then rest for a minute or two before starting your strides. Before a race or hard workout you can do them as the last part of your warm-up to transition into faster running.
Strides are usually done on a flat stretch of road or track, but can also be done on a treadmill. There are also hill strides, which are done on about a 4-8% grade hill.
How To Do Running Strides
If you are doing strides after an easy run, complete your run, rest, and do some dynamic stretches for a few minutes. To start doing strides, ease into a fast pace for the first 5-10 seconds until you reach your goal speed. Try to stay relaxed and focus on good form. Slow down over the last 5 seconds before stopping to take a full recovery. Wait about 90 seconds to 2 minutes before starting your next one. During this time you can walk, do an easy jog, or do some more dynamic stretches if you feel like you need them.
If you are doing strides as a warm up before a workout or race start with 10-15 minutes of easy running. Next, do some dynamic stretches, and then do your strides. After you complete your strides you should feel ready to run fast.
As you are getting started with strides you can do 4 sets of 20 seconds. Then you can add on more sets and time, Eventually you can do up to 6 sets of 30 seconds. Most weeks you can aim for doing strides 1-3 days with 4-6 sets of 20-30 seconds.
Final Thoughts on Running Strides
Strides don’t need to be complicated! Just adding them in once or a few times a week can make a big difference in your running. Give them a try and see how it goes!
Do you include strides in your training?
Do you find it challenging to run fast?
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