And how to increase your sprint speed, too!
If you want to be a fast runner, you have to run fast. If you want to improve your running speed for race day, incorporating spring workouts is an excellent way to accomplish just that.
According to John Honerkamp, running coach and former coach at New York Road Runners, “Any running that is faster than your current or easy conversational pace can be classified as speedwork.” This includes exercises including track repeats, striders, tempo runs, and running at goal race pace.
But sprint workouts are equally as important as they help you to improve your efficiency at all paces as well as your form. Sprints help to recruit and develop what is known as fast-twitch muscle fiber as well as increase the heart rate and calorie burn, all while building muscle. By drawing on these effects, you will see faster results over time that helps you to beat your own PR. Speed work also forces you to change your stride, effort, and breath, which causes your body to get better at supplying oxygen to your muscles more efficiently.
Strive to do one to two days a week of speed work and you will see massive benefits – especially if you are just getting started. Try one of these workouts to pick up the pace!
Start with striders or short bursts of speed. Speed work is a lot of stress and striders are little bits of it so your body doesn’t freak out. This is perfect for newbies because diving in too quickly and doing too much can increase your risk of injury.
Start out by running 30 to 45 minutes at a pace that is easy for you. It should be around a 4 or 5 of 10 on your own scale of perceived exertion. Wrap up with 4 to 6 20-second striders at max effort, mixing in 30-45-second interval jogs in between for recovery. This is best if done on a flat road or track.
This is a more intense workout with shorter recoveries. This workout amps up to faster paces toward the end.
Begin with a 1-mile warmup. Run eight 600 meters at 5k goal pace, squeezing in 200-meter recovery jogs in between. Then run four 200 meters at 1-mile pace, with 200-meter recovery jobs in between. Wrap up the workout with a 1-mile cooldown.
How to Increase Your Sprint Speed
Here are some tips to increase your sprint speed even further.
- Use proper posture. Try to keep from swinging your arms from side to side and do not slouch.
- Increase your stride length (the fewer steps you take, the faster you will be). Try to drive your legs back while running to lengthen your stride.
- Decreasing your body fat can also impact your ability to run faster. Eat right and fuel your body with healthy food.
- Strengthen your hip flexors by sprinting hills and working on weighted spread eagle sit-ups, mountain climbers with bands and leg raises with bands, for example.