How to Run Faster

by Patrick Beith - Date: 2007-01-21 - Word Count: 735 Share This!

There is too much emphasis on running pretty nowadays. Coaches spend all of their time talking about body angles, and positioning, and are neglecting to actually train their athletes. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place to work on mechanics, but as a coach, you must train the entire athlete. There are too many aspects of speed training and conditioning to only be focused on exit angles, shin angles, etc.

If you truly want your athletes to have dominant speed and reach their full speed potential then you must incorporate a total training program. Let's take a brief look at some of the major components that should be in every athlete's speed training workouts.

Warming up

If you want to be ready to perform speed work or compete at full speed, you have to get warmed up properly. For example, many coaches are still using static stretching as a way to get athletes loose during the warm up. Unfortunately, this outdated method actually reduces speed and power. Studies show that certain types of stretching, prior to activity reduces power output, therefore reducing sprint speed.

Think about it: How often during a practice or competition does an athlete hold a stretch position as part of their sport? I can't think of any either. That's why, during the warm up, it is important to put athletes through exercises that are similar to the types of movements they'll be going through during practice and competitions. Otherwise, not only will athletes be slower and less powerful, but the likelihood of injury is increased greatly.

The warm up exercises should be structured from the most basic, low intensity exercises and should progress through to the more complex movements that simulate the speeds athletes will be moving during practice and competition.

You want to take advantage of the hard work you put into your practices, not start out at an immediate disadvantage because of tight, cold muscles that just won't produce. Give your athletes the tools they need to succeed starts by getting them ready to compete the right way.

Speed Work

If you are performing 100 meter runs or repeat 40 yard sprints with little rest, you are not doing real speed work!

Speed work is performed in the Anaerobic Phosphagen Energy System. This means that performing any thing longer than 7-8 seconds, you are training outside this energy system. In order to become more efficient and challenge this energy system, speed work must stay in within 2-8 seconds, which is approximately 20- 80 yards.

Please also note that one of the most important elements of speed training that many coaches still don't follow is the fact that speed work requires full recovery. Because it is so demanding on the body, if athletes don't recover fully between every repetition, they can not develop the coordination to continue to make improvements. That means athletes must rest between 2-3 minutes, minimum, between every repetition of speed work.

It also takes roughly 36-48 hours to fully recover from a speed workout since it places so much stress on your central nervous system (CNS). This basically means you can not perform speed work everyday or on back to back days!

Power Training - Plyometrics

Plyometrics are an excellent supplement to your speed, strength and power training program. They can greatly improve your power levels and help increase body control since they deal with moving your own bodyweight. I'm sure you have done bounding exercises, box jumps or medicine ball throws before. The question is, how do you know whether athletes are actually benefiting from these activities instead of putting themselves at risk for injury?

Athletes always want to do the most advanced, most technical movements that they see the professional athletes doing in their training. However, because these exercises require so much power and coordination, there needs to be progression in the structure plyometric training (like all other aspects of training). It may not be glorious and exciting, but in the short and long term, learning to evolve from basic to complex movements will always reap the greatest rewards.

Your athletes must learn how to stabilize and absorb forces appropriately. The key is to land softly and absorb the forces created with the muscles (not the joints!). If you are landing quietly then you are probably on the right path. If we jump right into single leg bounds or depth jumps, without the proper progression, then we are putting our bodies at risk for avoidable injury.

Related Tags: speed training, sports training, athlete training, running faster, how to run faster, speed work, plyos

Patrick Beith is a Performance Consultant for Athletes' Acceleration, Inc, To learn more about speed training and for free access to Coach Beith's Speed Training Report - Secrets to Developing Dominant Speed visit:

Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: