If you have embarked on training for a run, or been involved in your school or college’s running team, you will have heard the phrase ‘strides’ in reference to increasing your strength whilst running, and making you speedier.
But, what actually is a stride? And how effective are they?
This article will investigate both of these questions and more – so read on to find out exactly what strides are in running!
First Things First – What Are Strides?
Strides (also sometimes referred to as accelerations, striders, or stride outs) are also known as stride-outs, accelerations, or striders.
A stride is a 100 m acceleration where you start at a run, build up to about 95% of maximum speed, and then gradually decrease to a walk/stand.
Each step takes approximately 20 to 30 seconds, and you can do 4 to 6 strides back to back.
Walking or standing in between each set will help you to recover. Don’t rush the strides, and especially do not rush the rest period!
You’ll get no extra benefits by shortening the rest periods. This isn’t supposed to be an aerobic workout, so you won’t reap any benefits pushing yourself to rest for a shorter period.
Really, it is beneficial to consider strides to be a speed development workout, as strides are basically sprints.
You should use them to get your body used to running fast – rather than prolonging you with an aerobic workout or increasing your endurance. Don’t do this if you aren’t ready yet.
Don’t overdo it when running! Relax when you are performing stride training – you shouldn’t ever feel like you are straining or struggling.
Where Should I Do Stride Training?
You can do them in any kind of terrain as long as you’re sure the ground is safe – quiet parking lots, the sidewalk, fields, or even your yard if it has enough length.
You just need a clear, relatively flat and straight 100 m space.
Furthermore, you can combine two of our favorite types of running training for maximum results – strides training and barefoot running.
A great way to incorporate this into a training program is by doing barefoot strides once or twice a week.
Barefoot running is an excellent form of exercise, as it will help you to improve your balance, your stance, and help you feel more connected and grounded.
This is best done on a synthetic turf track for safety – the surface is very predictable, plush, and free from dangerous debris such as rocks or thorns.
When Should I Do Stride Training?
There are a few different situations where we think incorporating strides to your training regime or run would be a good idea. The top two are:
After completing a base or easy run = Strides can become a kind of dynamic stretch. They can help to increase your range of motion, work on your turnover, and/or improve your form.
After running miles and miles at the same pace, doing a few sets of strides can help you to shake out some of the tightness you feel, hence getting you ready for your next run, and keeping everything ticking over in working order.
Before a big workout or a race = Strides should be used before a workout or race to warm up your muscles and get ready to go faster.
Doing a few strides before starting a race will help your body get into fast running mode.
Strides should be done at the same distance and pace in a set, no matter which situation you are in. Keep things uniform within the same set.
That being said, you can change the speed and distance of your strides (keeping it uniform with the rest of the set) depending on your needs.
Different lengths and speeds will work depending on what kind of race you’re doing.
If you are preparing for a short and fast kind of race, such as an 800 m or a mile on the track, then you should do strides that are shorter in length and faster in speed.
This is because these will do a good job of opening up your range of motion, as well as telling your metabolic system to prepare for running really fast.
Conversely, if you are running a much longer race, such as a marathon, then you should do a few longer and slower strides, so you can warm up all the right muscles.
Why Should I Be Running Strides?
Running strides are a great way to improve your running form.
They help you loosen up, increase your running economy (i.e., they just make you a lot more of an efficient runner), strengthen your feet and lower legs, and minimize the risks of injury.
As we mentioned, strides are short bursts of speed. They help you get ready for a long-distance run by preparing your body for the extra effort.
Running strides are a great way to improve your endurance and stamina – i.e., you’ll be able to go longer distances without getting tired.
Try this exercise for four weeks to see if you notice any improvement!
Most of the runners I coach say they’ve learned to love running strides because it makes them feel better when doing steady running.
Strides are pretty easy to integrate or embed in your preexisting running training, and since they’re short, they don’t require too much exertion, and are pretty easy for most people!
Can I Use A Treadmill To Run Strides?
Strides are a really versatile exercise, so they can easily be run using a treadmill. You will have to change the method slightly though, using these specifications:
- First, remember that you must run the entire distance of the workout before you begin the recovery period.
- Second, make sure that you increase the speed gradually, as if you were running on the road.
- Third, peak at a controlled sprint for 2-3 secs, and then slowly lower the pace.
- Fourth, slow down to the point where you’re recovering at 10-30% faster than your normal pace.
Run easy for about 1-3 minutes before increasing the pace for the next stride in your set.
You should run this four or more times, to get all of your stride training in.
In conclusion, strides are a great way of improving your running form, and making you a stronger and more efficient runner.
If you want to learn how to run faster, then try out some strides. It’s a simple yet effective technique that will definitely give you a boost.