How to Run Faster

In every sport you play there is one skill that will put you a level above the rest of the competition.  Speed.  If you can run faster than your opponent can, you’re going to have a significant advantage over your opponent.  For years it was thought that speed was a genetic trait you were either born with or you weren’t, and couldn‘t be improved.  We now know that speed can be manufactured by training.  Let take a look and how speed is created and how to run faster.

 Speed is created by stride length and stride rate.  Stride length is the amount of ground you cover in a single stride.  Stride rate is how fast you can make a stride.  There is only a minimal difference in stride rate from person to person, so only minimal speed can be created there.  On the other hand, stride length differs greatly from person to person, so this is where your concentration should be focused when training.

 I stated earlier that it was once thought that speed was genetic trait.  There is some merit to that concept.  Everyone one is given a specific muscle fiber type through genetics.  Yet speed can still be improved no matter what muscle fiber type you have.

Muscle Fibers

Type I – slow twitch

These fibers are more efficient at using oxygen for continual muscle contraction.

Type IIa- intermediate fast twitch

These fibers can effectively use oxygen for continual muscle contraction and  producing shorts, powerful burst of muscle contractions without using oxygen.

Type IIb – fast twitch  

These muscle fibers excel at producing shorts, powerful burst of muscle contractions without using oxygen.

The type of muscle fiber you were given genetically will limit the amount of speed you can create but you can still improve your speed regardless.  How to run faster is still contingent on stride length and stride rate.  Here is how to improve both.

 Flexibility

Increasing extensibility in the hip flexors and hamstrings will allow for greater flexion in the hips and extension at the knees to improve stride length stride length.

 Strength Training

Increasing strength in the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps to produce more ground force through triple extension of the lower extremities increasing the distance traveled  in each step will greatly increase stride length.

Neuromuscular Training

Training the muscles fibers to contract faster and more forcefully through plyometrics and reactive training will improve stride rate as well as stride length.

 Speed is created by stride length and stride rate.  Stride length is the amount of ground you cover in a single stride.  Stride rate is how fast you can make a stride.  While the genetic makeup of your muscle fibers is set at birth to type I, type IIa or type IIb fibers.  Speed can still be improved by training the flexibility of the hips, strength in the legs and neuromuscular training through plyometrics.  If you can run faster than your opponent you’re going to have a significant advantage over your opponents.

[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Josh Morrison is the owner of Optimum Performance Training in Mt Zion, IL. He has a M.S. in Performance Enhancement, B.A. in Physical Education, certified as an NASM-PES, NASE-CSSE, NASM-CPT, NESTA-CPT, Human Kinetics-Advanced Exercise Nutrition and APEX-FitPro. [/stextbox]

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