Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner, an amateur sprinter, or a recreational runner, the quest for speed is a universal pursuit in the realm of running. Speed not only enhances your performance but also adds an exhilarating thrill to your runs. But how do you shift your gears and run faster? This comprehensive guide will introduce you to the best exercises for running faster, designed to boost your speed and take your running game to the next level.
- Understanding the Importance of Speed Training
- Types of Speed Training for Runners
- Sprinting Workouts to Improve Speed
- Strength Training Exercises for Speed
- Exercises for Explosive Power
- Best Running Workouts for Endurance
Understanding the Importance of Speed Training
Before diving into the exercises, let’s first understand the significance of speed training. Speed training refers to a variety of exercises designed to enhance your maximum speed potential. Some of these exercises focus on increasing explosive strength, while others aim at improving speed endurance, enabling you to maintain high speeds for longer durations.
Speed training offers a multitude of benefits, including:
- Enhanced running economy and efficiency: It helps you run faster with less effort.
- Reduced risk of injuries: Strength training exercises involved in speed training strengthen your muscles, connective tissues, bones, and joints, helping you handle heavier loads and reduce injury risks.
- Increased bone density: This can protect against stress fractures.
- Improved overall health: Speed training plays a role in lowering blood pressure, decreasing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and improving blood sugar control.
Types of Speed Training for Runners
Speed training can be classified into three types: regular, assisted, and resisted.
1. Regular Speed Training
Regular speed training involves no external force or resistance. Sprinting is a classic example of regular speed training.
2. Assisted Speed Training
Also known as overspeed training, assisted speed training employs external forces to help enhance your sprinting speed. For instance, sprinting with the wind at your back can help you increase stride frequency.
3. Resisted Speed Training
Resisted speed training involves some form of resistance during the sprint to increase leg muscle strength and endurance. Sprinting against an elastic band or pulling a tire while sprinting are examples of resisted speed training.
Sprinting Workouts to Improve Speed
Sprinting is the most fundamental exercise for improving speed. Here’s how you can add sprinting workouts to your routine:
Fartleks, a Swedish term meaning “speed play,” involve alternating between fast and relaxed running during your workout. This can be done during one of your regular base runs.
2. Tempo Runs
Tempo runs, or running at a pace that’s around your race pace, can push your body and mind to adjust to faster running speeds, improving your running economy.
3. Tabata Running
Tabata running workouts are short, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that can help you transition to speed running.
Interval runs involve working at high intensity for a short period, followed by a recovery phase. If you have access to a track, you can adjust a basic interval workout for each client and their current fitness level.
5. Long, Slow Runs
Long, slow runs help build aerobic capacity, which can help improve speed during shorter events. Aim for just one long run per week, with the length depending on the individual.
Strength Training Exercises for Speed
Strength training exercises are crucial for improving speed. When we sprint, we must overcome the forces of gravity and air resistance. Here are some effective strength training exercises for speed:
Squats are great for building leg strength. You can experiment with various squatting variations like back squats, front squats, box squats, split squats, and Hatfield squats.
Step-ups are excellent for working on one side at a time and improving your balance and stability.
Deadlifts develop propulsive force in the glutes and hip extensors, helping you with push-offs too.
4. Heavy Sled Pulls
Heavy sled pulls can increase strength in a movement that is more specific to acceleration.
5. Leg Press
For athletes who have back injuries or cannot squat and deadlift, the leg press is a great alternative to help strengthen the legs.
6. Single-Leg Calf Extensions
Single leg calf exercises are crucial for lower leg strength in sprinting, especially in acceleration.
Exercises for Explosive Power
Being strong is great, but there are many strong people who are not very fast. To take our strength and make it more applicable to running fast, we can use explosive power and rate of force development training to enhance our sprinting performance.
1. Jump Squats
Jump squats are great for improving eccentric rate of force development and power.
2. Bodyweight Jumps
Bodyweight jumps such as vertical jumps, broad jumps, box jumps, or lateral speed jumps are all great exercises for expressing power and learning to be more explosive.
3. Hex Bar Deadlift Jumps
Hex bar deadlift jumps are a perfect exercise for working on explosive strength as it relates to your sprint start.
4. Medicine Ball Throws
Medicine ball throws are a great exercise that can be used by both beginner and advanced athletes.
Best Running Workouts for Endurance
While developing acceleration, top speed, strength, and power are the most important abilities for running faster, there are some things to consider on the topic of endurance training.
1. Speed Endurance Training
Speed endurance training is less important for team or field sport athletes but can still be beneficial for any athlete who wants to sprint faster.
2. Tempo Endurance Training
Tempo endurance training involves performing your exercises at a steady, moderate pace for a longer duration. This can help improve your aerobic fitness and endurance.
Incorporating these exercises and workouts into your routine will undoubtedly help you run faster. Remember to listen to your body, rest when needed, and gradually increase your intensity level to prevent overtraining or injury. Happy running!