Updated: May 11, 2020
Strides increase speed, form, and efficiency in your form.
Start by running easy and gradually increase pace to 95% of maximum
Incorporate strides 2-3 x week
Do 4 to 8 reps of 50 to 150 meters
Strides are a key ingredient to training, no matter what type of runner you are (track, trail, ultra, etc.). Here’s the lowdown on strides.
What is a stride?
A stride is a gradual progression of speed. Start the stride by running easy, focusing on a short, quick stride, and then gradually increase your speed by lengthening your stride. Keep your torso tall and relaxed. It should feel like a controlled fast pace rather than a sprint. When you reach three quarters into the runway distance, gradually decelerate by shortening your stride until you come to a walk. After, walk back to where you started before performing another.
What does a stride look like?
Why are strides important?
Strides help increase speed, form, and efficiency in your biomechanics. They also help engage and balance different muscle groups. In the end, they keep you sharp!
As a coach, I’m an advocate of performing strides barefoot (on soft, clean surfaces ONLY)! This improves form, strengthens the small intrinsic muscles in the feet, ankles and lower legs, and improves proprioception. Although I believe in using barefoot running as a tool, I don’t recommend it daily!
How many strides should you do?
Perform 4-8 reps of 50 to 150 meters. Incorporate them into your training at least two days a week after an easy run. During the intensity phase, you will do more. For example, both days before your hard efforts, and after drills and dynamic stretching before each workout. Strides help get your body ready for the hard work ahead by preparing and firing up the body neurologically to run efficiently and by elevating your HR. That way the fast pace isn’t a shock to the central nervous system!