Shave Seconds Off Your Sprint With Advice From These World-Class Coaches
When you are sprinting, every second counts. Here are some tips on how to shave seconds off and get to the running goal you have been chasing:
Stabilise Your Stride
Sprinters, triathletes and shoplifters know the merits of hardworking hamstrings. “They are fundamental to running with the correct stride length,” says elite level running, duathlon and triathlon coach Ralph Hydes.
How: Hamstring Curls
Lying on the floor, place both heels on a stability ball. Keep your shoulders on the floor and lift your body. Draw your legs towards your backside, rolling the ball towards you. Do three sets of 15 reps.
Thigh Level Investment
“In terms of running, glutes are where it’s at,” says running coach Nick Anderson. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Finnish researchers found that explosive strength training shaved 30 seconds off 5km times.
How: One-Legged Squats
“Holding a bar across your shoulders, raise one leg in front of you,” says Hydes. “Now lower down to not quite a full squat, then rise up slowly.” Do 10 reps. On the tenth, hold for 10 seconds.
Win The Arms Race
“Your arm speed is intrinsically linked to your leg speed,” says Anderson. “So use free weights to create better driving strength in your upper body and perfect your running form.”
How: Dumbbell Lifts
With a dumbbell in each hand, perform fast alternate curls. “It’s important not to cross your arms in front of you and to keep your movements as straight as you can,” says Anderson.
Hip To Be Strong
“Developing hip flexor strength is vital for a good knee lift,” says Hydes. Knee lift is crucial to increasing stride length and important for countering muscle fatigue.
How: The Lunge
Start lunging out in a clockwise direction, making each lunge five-minutes clock space from its predecessor, and returning to the centre each time. Aim for three sets of 12 reps on each leg.
Fix The Fast Twitch
“Leg lift drills help to activate crucial nerves used in running,” says Anderson. By rehearsing leg movements, your muscle memory helps maintain balance and reduces your injury risk.
Step up onto a bench so your knee is at 90 degrees. Bring the other leg up, then step down. Tap the foot that lands second, then raise this leg straight back up onto the step. Do three one-minute sets.