Strides are easy pace sprints run on a level road, track or grass field. These light accelerations are distances from 60m to 100m. Usually you run 3 to 10 repeats at a good pace to help you warm-up, improve your fitness, develop speed or enhance running technique.
When and how do you use strides.
- Warm-up for a workout or race. When you are warming up for a race or workout you want to run 1km to 3km at an easy pace which will loosen your muscles for faster paces which you are about to run. Strides take your warm-up to the next level and activate your fast twitch muscles. For a workout you should run 3 to 6 strides. For a shorter distance race such as a mile or 5km you will want to run up to 10 strides to be well warmed-up and ready to start out at your fast pace.
- Returning to speedwork or new to speedwork. If you have been on a break from speedwork and are starting up again you can use strides two or three times a week to get back into fitness for speed workouts. The same holds true if you are new to speedwork. Run at a fast clip 6 to 8 times over 80m to become used to running fast and prepare you to run interval training.
- Maintain speed while on a break from speedwork. You may be on a break for a month and going for a few easy runs per week. You can use strides after your run to maintain your speed without doing interval workouts.
- Develop speed. You can use strides to develop your speed by running 3 to 8 x 80m strides after a training run. It’s safer to do the strides after a moderate distance run of 15km or less. Strides after a long run of 15km or more could cause an injury if your legs are already tired. Strides give you the sensation of running faster which can help improve your race times as you are experiencing a faster pace. Try 10 x 100m accelerations where you start the first 20m easy and continue to accelerate for the entire 100m.
- Improve run technique. Usually when you run at a faster pace your running technique is better. Strides will help improve your technique when you focus on posture, arm swing, foot placement and cadence.
- Recovery workout. Strides are less intense than full out intervals. They can help to shake out muscle soreness from a more intense workout or race. Stretch out your legs and try 10 x 100m with a 100m jog recovery between each 100m at 10km race pace effort.
Enjoy your strides and run faster!