Increase Your Running Speed
Looking to run faster? Wanna cover more distance with each stride? Then its time to take your running to a new level. With practice comes success but there are a lot of things which can act as catalysts to your progress and make you achieve results faster. Grab your running shoes and hit the track. Avoid automatic treadmills ( the ones operated by motors) they break down your natural rhythm.
How fast a person can run depends on the reaction time of the muscles in the body of that person. The speed, strength and power delivered by these muscles defines how fast a runner can run. Is running everyday enough? Lets find out....
There are many factors which may be affecting your running speed. Lets discuss them one by one.
1. Feeling the Necessity
To accomplish any task and achieve great results you must find the necessity to do it in first place. Human brain tends to respond and react much faster when it feels the need to do a task. You can easily measure this factor yourself. Here is a short story which will help you understand this quality.
'Once upon a time, in a small village lived a wise sage. People would come to him with their problems and ask for his advice. In the same village lived a young man who wanted to meet God. He worshipped God everyday. Weeks passed, months passed and years passed but God did not show up. Frustrated with the results, he decided its time to visit the great wise sage. It was still early morning when he found the sage near the river bank. After exchanging pleasantries, the young man expressed his worries. After hearing to his problem, the sage requested him to take a dip in the river with him. Once they were inside the river, the sage held the man's head under water . The young man began to struggle to come up but the sage kept him down. He struggled to get some air. After few minutes, the young man was not able to struggle and was ready to accept death. It was at this time, the sage pulled him out and the young man breathed the fresh air. The sage explained to him that to fulfil his goal he need to feel the same amount of necessity he felt to get some air. He young man thanked him for his advice.'
Find the necessity to improve your speed. It acts as the main motivational factor when all others fail. It could be anything but the feeling should be the same. So, first step first, find why do you need to improve your running speed?
2. Training Your Mind
Mind is the least trained muscle in human body. Majority of population of the world don't train their mind. There is a common myth in the sports world that your mental strength grows when you push yourself physically.
So, the next important step is to train your mind. There are a lot exercises to train your mind which will have a positive effect on your self confidence.
Visualizing powerful and inspiring pictures, making positive self statements, focussing on the present task and eliminating distractions are some of the mental training exercises suggested by top sports psychologists. Imagine yourself running faster, feel your body, live in the present moment and you are destined to achieve great results.
Breathing exercises is considered to be one of the best way to increase your mental toughness. Check out the 100 second breathing workout below.
With good technique you will be able to improve your speed. Even the best sprinters keep working on their technique. They keep trying to master it and find new and improved techniques. There are many techniques that you should focus on. Stance time, loading rate and stretch flex are some of the techniques that athletes work on.
These techniques are focussed on each and every step of your running action. Professional athletes spend hours and hours just to improve a part of them. Simplified images are shown below which are derivatives of these techniques. These images will let you understand these techniques in layman language.
Please note, if you feel any pain or a break in your natural rhythm ...STOP following them and continue with your present technique.
4. Drills/Exercises To Increase Speed
Now, moving on to the most important part of the article 'THE EXERCISES'. Running each and everyday will improve your technique but to spice up your running and achieve results you need to perform different drills and exercises meant to activate and strengthen different muscles which will help you to run faster.
1. Strengthening Exercises :-
To run faster you need not only a strong lower body but also a very strong core and upper body. Lets check these exercises one by one. Here is a list of basic exercises you can start off with but add variations as you progress.
One of the best exercise ever made to strengthen your legs. These can be done by using some additional weights or in most cases bodyweight is sufficient.
- Single Leg Squats
It is the best variation of the basic squat available for runners. This exercise adds more pressure on each leg.
Having a strong core is mandatory if you want to increase your speed. One of the best exercise available to increase your core strength is plank. Refer the video for proper technique. Start by holding the plank position for 1 min per set and slowly increase this time.
This exercise focusses on your thigh muscles, hamstrings and lower back.
2. Plyometrics Training
Strengthening exercises will make your muscles stronger. But to add speed and acceleration Plyometric exercises should be done as they increase your strength to rapidly contract your muscles when they are partially stretched. These exercises train your muscles to contract much faster and explosively, thus providing you with great speed and explosiveness.
- Box Jumps
Increases your coordination and explosiveness. Other than running this exercise is recommended for sports which require jumping. All you need is a box or a high surface to which you can jump to.
- Skater Jumps
The next exercise is the skater jumps. It targets one leg at time. With each lateral skater jump you will be focussing on the quads. Increase the distance of the jump once you get a hang of it.
Running in slow motion and lifting your knees as high as you can be beneficial for your overall growth. This is exactly what this exercise is all about.
Everyone loves a pair of Nike or Adidas or Puma. These companies spend millions of dollars on the research of the shoes. The level of comfort provided by these is very different from local made shoes. Another advantage of them is the shock absorbing power of these shoes. Running shoes are recommended because they can prevent a lot of injuries.
You just cannot ignore the benefits of these shoes. Different shoes are available for different type of runners. Depending upon the height, weight, experience of running, foot arch and how your feet strikes the ground different shoes are made to provide you with injury free running. Plus, different shoes for different surfaces are also available , for example whether you run on road or on a track or on grass.
Check out this link to find the best shoes for you.
You will definitely see results in your performance with these steps. Regular running will accelerate the progress too.
No running article is complete without the fastest man on the earth ....The BOLT ....Usian Bolt ...so leaving you with his famous world record 100m race :)
Train Hard ... Live Smart ;)
© 2015 Akshay Sood