Strides might be a new term for some people, but they are the very basic foundation precursor to more advanced speed work. Strides are simply short, quick surges of fast running followed by a full recovery between.
Benefits of strides:
-acceleration build up leading to increased leg turnover. Have you ever heard of cadence? This is the amount of steps you take while running per min. Most people need to increase their cadence to be running at a more efficient level. Strides can help increase you cadence
-wake up the legs after an easy run for more advanced speed workouts to come later in the week. Sometimes strides can be used before a hard workout or a race. This will allow your legs to be ready to dive into a faster pace in the workout
-help improve running form- by running at top speeds, your body is forced to run with it’s most efficient form. You will teach your body how to run on your toes/forefoot
-Preparing your body to learn how to ‘change gears’. Strides are a great precursor to more advanced speed workouts. Incorporating strides early on in your running career can teach your body the different ‘gears’ you have.
When to do them:
- During the very end of an easy run the day before a workout
- After a warm up leading into a workout or race
How to do them:
During the end of an easy run or end of a warm up doing 3-6x 20 seconds @ 5k pace. Try to not worry as much about the pace but the effort. It should feel like a solid hard, effort. It should be short enough where you are not super fatigued. These are not meant to be a hard workout but rather a wake up call for your legs with fully recovery between fast bursts