Strides are a great way to increase leg turnover and improve your running form, which in turn makes you a faster and more efficient runner. When I was first introduced to strides, it took me a while to get the hang of them and understand their purpose. I always thought they were just short sprints that you did before a race or workout to warm up your legs and that they were reserved for the shorter distance races and track runners. However, they should be incorporated into your training no matter what level or distance you're running at.
What is a stride?
Strides are short bursts of quick running where you gradually increase your running speed to 80-90% of your maximum speed over a set time or distance.
When to do strides:
- Before a workout or race
- After a workout
- In the middle of a workout
Why you should do strides:
- Increase leg turnover
- Improve running form
- Improve cadence (stride rate), allowing you to be a more efficient runner
- Loosen you up to run fast
- Loosen you up after a slower/easier run
How to do strides in your training:
Strides usually start at your conversation or easy aerobic pace. Then you increase your speed gradually over the specific distance or time you've designated for your strides, and focus on your form (chest up, knees lifted, a mid foot strike). Towards the end, you want to slow back down to a conversation pace and allow a recovery period before the next stride. Here are a few samples of how to incorporate strides into your training workouts:
Workout #1 - Before a speed session
5-10 minute warm up
6-10 x 100 meter strides with 100 meter recovery between
Follow it with a workout (tempo run, intervals, etc) and a cool down
Workout #2 - In the middle of an easy run
1-2 mile warm up
6-10 x 20 second strides with 40 second recovery
1-2 mile cool down
Workout #3 - After an easy run
4-8 mile easy/aerobic run
10 x 100 meter strides with 100 meter recovery between
I highly recommend trying to incorporate strides into your weekly routine to help you become a more efficient runner. The most ideal place and way to run strides is on grass and barefoot. This allows you to build strength in your feet muscles while allowing some give underneath you to relieve your legs from the pounding when done on pavement. However, strides can be done basically anywhere and anytime, and are so beneficial to your training.
Do you incorporate strides into your training?