Mix up your run with sprinting drills
Autumn is a great time to get outdoors and run. Here In the Mountain-West region of the United States we enjoy four seasons. The cooler/breezy days of Fall just calls for us to strap on those running shoes and hit the leaf ridden streets. If one of the thousands of fun-runs happening this time of year all over the country doesn’t inspire you to pick up your game, then at least try it out for some good old fashioned cardiovascular exercise.
While running at a steady pace for miles on end definitely has its place in a good running regimen, this fun-run season try pushing yourself to improve on a part of your run that you may be neglecting… Your sprint!
You may think, “why would I want to improve my sprint if I’m just going to run at a steady state during my runs?” Aside from providing some beneficial cross training and boosting moral during your regular daily run, here are a few reasons running coaches believe sprinting drills will improve your long and short run.
Train Fast = Run Fast - Running requires muscular and cardiovascular endurance, sure. But ultimately running faster (whether it’s long distance or short) is about simultaneously increasing the frequency and length (gate) of your stride. Check out the transition exercise “Plyometric Jumps into a Sprint” in the video below.
Improve Foot Strike - Sprinting drills emphasize hip flexion and hamstring extension, which are crucial in maintaining a neutral shin for a mid foot strike rather than striking at the heel. Check out the exercise “Eccentric Hamstring on Swiss Ball.”
Narrow in on the Knees - Working in a ladder will force you to create frequency in your step while maintaining a close distance between your knees — optimal for a more aerodynamic and linear movement pattern. Check out the exercise “Agility ladder 1-in to Stair Sprint.”
Spring-load Your Legs - The fastest runners are not letting the ground hit them, they are attacking the ground. Check out the exercise “Kneeling Squat Jump” in the video Below.