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How to Run Faster

Training techniques for adding speed and distance to your sprint

By Robert Rousseau, Bodyomics.com
What do baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track, and lacrosse players have in common beyond the fact that they're involved in sports?

All of them are involved sports that involve some aspect of high speed running or sprinting. Thus, it would stand to reason that if competitors in these sports improve their speed they would also improve their ability to play their respective games. Hence, the dilemma.

Increasing strength is a heckuva lot easier than increasing speed. Still, there are ways to try and accomplish this. One way to stay faster and jump higher than your competition is plyometrics training at least 1 - 2 times a week. Here are some additional workout considerations:

How much time to put in trying to improve speed: No more than five days per week running. Any more than that and you're overtraining. Some professionals even consider three days per week sufficient. That said, four days per week is probably optimal.

The exercises: How much you do of each of these is part personal preference and part health related. As is always the case, make sure that before deciding on any workout regimen you consult a physician and professional in the field of fitness. That said, keep reading for some excellent drills/ exercises designed to increase speed.

Tempo runs: There are different variations on this exercise. Generally, tempo runs require a practitioner to warm up with a jog at about 50% effort for 10 minutes, followed by a 20 minute run at about 80% effort, before ending off at 50% for 10 minutes.

Running downhill: Herschel Walker, one of the greatest college football running backs of all-time, at one point did this to increase speed. He was also an outstanding sprinter at the University of Georgia.

The long and the short of it is that downhill running forces practitioners to lean forward (a good thing for speed) and improves stride frequency.

Running uphill: Running uphill is designed to build strength and explosion, both of which are needed to become a faster person. Further, it will improve your stride length. In fact, running both uphill and downhill is highly recommended when trying to increase speed.

Start- Stops: This drill is called many different things by many different fellows. Basically, it refers to sprinting for short bursts (10-40 yards) and then jogging the same distance. This improves explosion out of the gate.

Further, this kind of an activity can be broadened to longer distances (such as a quarter mile track). Though such an occurrence would require someone to be in excellent shape, some choose to sprint an entire quarter mile and then jog the next.

Again, remember to consult that physician.

Weightlifting for the legs: Squats, leg curls, leg extensions, and more are designed to strengthen the leg muscles. Thus, they can help increase speed.

Plyometrics: Side to side ankle hops over a rope can help, and that's just one example. Well, actually there's another more obvious one coming next.

Sprints: Well, here's the duh factor one. Still, it had to be said. Sprints of varying distances can help to increase speed.

Upper body weightlifting: Many people underestimate the value of upper body strength when it comes to speed. The upper body, particularly the pumping arms, help to compel the body forward with speed. Thus, strengthening it can serve to increase speed.

Running with high knees: High knee drills can help to increase leg speed.

Some technical things that can increase speed:

1. Stretch out before and after your workout. This is important both to prevent injury and help muscles to perform better.

2. Fully pump your arms in a straight and forward direction.

3. Jump on your toes before sprinting to warm up.

4. Lean forward slightly.

5. Keep your hands relaxed.

6. Keep your chin down.

7. Keep your neck relaxed.

8. There are different thoughts on how often to breathe. That said, do breathe!

In the end, everyone that competes in athletic endeavors would love to be faster. It can be accomplished! But it takes work.

Doesn't everything?

References

How to Run Faster

Hill Training

Plyometrics for increasing speed

Sprinting

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