Strides Build Fitness

As seen with this runner, strides allow practice of biomechanics for running faster, for instance: ELBOWS BACK, knees higher, and a stronger thrust off toes

More specifically, strides build neuromuscular fitness - getting neurons and muscles working together for moving at a quicker pace. For runners, this helps set the table for faster leg turnover and speed. (Note: while this article discusses strides and running, it should be mentioned that strides can be used in other fitness activities - biking, swimming, walking - to name a few.)

Due to the relatively short time period it takes to complete a session of strides, it is often thought of as an add-on when doing other runs. However, this does not mean that strides are less important than other training runs. A stride is sprinting for 60-80 meters at near maximal full speed. Run into the start of a stride going fast and accelerate gradually to 9 out of 10 for maximal speed (90% of max speed to stay relaxed) before decelerating slowly at the end of the 60-80 meters. Make sure to recover fully before attempting another stride. To be on the cautious side, I recommend starting with 1 stride in a session and adding one more each week until reaching 10.

Strides serve to activate fast twitch muscle fibres without going into a lot of oxygen debt. I use this training in a couple of different ways. One way is doing 3 or 4 strides to warm up fast twitch fibres before an INTERVAL WORKOUT or a High Intensity Interval Training (Tabata) workout, in which these intervals will result in oxygen debt and extra time to recover. The second way is at the end of an easy pace run in which slow twitch fibres have been used primarily; and strides are added at the end to balance off the run with fast twitch fibres being activated, yet without much oxygen debt and extra recovery time needed.

When fitting into a training plan, it is worth noting that strides can also be alternated with a similar type of running - HILL SPRINTS.

After each stride, I am experimenting with running backwards to the starting spot. I want to see how running backwards activates different muscles and whether the stride is a good opportunity to do this type of movement. When running backwards, I am working on pushing off with my toes while going at a brisk clip. I will provide an update after a few sessions.
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Experiment of One Coaching covers topics ranging from running, strength training, health & wellness, sports nutrition to travel. I usually post once or twice a month.