What are strides?
Strides are 100m accelerations where you accelerate gradually over 25m, you start at a jog pace, then increase to about 95% of your max speed and then gradually slow to a stop. One stride should take about 20-30 secs, take a 45-60 seconds’ break between each stride, either jog slowly or walk. Perform strides on a flat terrain, and to avoid injuries make sure you increase your speed gradually. You can start by doing four strides for the first 2-3 weeks then increase to six, and then eight.
Benefits of running strides
Strides help runners work on their running form and biomechanics in short manageable ways. It’s easier to focus on running form during a 100m stride than when you are running longer distances and your body is more tired. Running strides will also help train mentally, reminding your brain how you should be running when fatigue sets in, especially during a long-distance run or race.
Before a race or training run, but not a long-distance one, running a series of strides is a great way to warm up and prepare your body both physically and mentally for a faster pace. Strides will help elevate your heart rate, increase the blood circulation to your muscles. For long-distance runners who train a lot in aerobic mode, strides are a good way to add some speed work by recruiting the fast twitch muscles without the side effects of high-intensity speedwork sessions that require more recovery time, and can increase the risk of injuries.
Strides are also beneficial for recovery and releasing stiff leg muscles, especially the day after a high-intensity session or long-distance run. You can add a few strides to a recovery run.
When to run strides
Strides can be added to your run in two ways:
- After an easy run- After running a slow or base run, or long-distance run, to add four strides at the end of your run will help increase your range of motion, improve your running form, releasing some muscle tightness you might feel after running a long-distance, as you use your muscle differently. Stride can help you feel better for your next run.
- Before a training session or a race– Running strides can prepare your body to run faster, with a better form, they also help your body sustain harder running. It also warms up not only your body but your brain as well, to be ready to run in a proper pace and form. Before a long-distance race, you can do a few longer and slower strides to help warm up properly.
After adding some strides training, after 3-4 weeks, many runners are able to run faster, with less effort, which is also very beneficial for long-distance runners.