By Darren Croft

The majority of your running training will be at a reasonably comfortable pace. Implement too much speed at an early stage, and risk injury. Your muscles need time to recover and slow, easy runs are a great way to put miles in the bank and build strength and endurance, without putting too much pressure on yourself.


A couple of times per week, however, you should try incorporating some strides. 

Strides are a great way to help you to increase speed, no matter what distance you’re training for. They don’t take up too much of your time and they’re fun too.




Strides are short bursts of acceleration and should represent a gradual increase in speed. Start out with a jog and build up to a speed approximately 80-90% of your full effort. They should be run over a distance of between 80 and 100 meters and should last no longer than 30 seconds. You can run anything up to ten strides (three or four is a good starting point), after a relatively easy workout and are a nice finisher to supplement your normal regimen. Some runners choose to run a couple of strides before a race as a warm-up to prepare their legs for acceleration.


The recovery period in-between each set of strides should simply until be when you feel ready to go again, as ​​the goal isn’t aerobic development. It’s all about turnover and building comfort at high speeds. They’re not to be run at a pace that will knock the wind out of your sails. They should be fast, comfortable and not hard. Always ensure that you’re fully recovered before taking on the next stride otherwise you won’t reap the benefit of the exercise.


Strides can be performed anywhere, though try to run on a level surface rather than a hill and avoid crowded places. 


Try incorporating them into your weekly training schedule and it won’t be long before you start to notice a tangible improvement to your running fitness.



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