This running drill improves your form and mechanics.
A stride (a.k.a. a pick-up) is an easy to perform running drill to improve your form and mechanics. They are quite flexible and can be plugged into your regimen after easy runs to work on form, used to warm up before speed workouts or races, or they can be used as a speed workout for newbie runners.
The ultimate goal is to increase your stride length while maintaining a quick foot turnover. Although it may sound tricky or complicated it truly isn’t. In mortal-speak, it is going from running easy to increasing your speed by lengthening your stride for about 15 seconds and then slowing your speed down and walking back to recover and catch your breath.
Here’s the long version of how to run strides with ease:
- Find a predictably flat surface (runway) that is long enough to run 30 seconds at speed (about 75-90 metres for most).
- If you’re running strides before a speed workout or race, make sure to warm up first with three to five minutes of walking and five to 10 minutes of easy-paced running. For races, time the strides so you complete them a few minutes prior to the start of the race.
- If you’re running them after an easy run, walk it out for a few minutes to bring your heart rate and breathing down before you start.
- If strides are new in your running regimen, start with a total of four and slowly build to six to eight over time.
- 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. If you’re running by time, the total stride should be around 30 seconds (i.e. run easy 10 seconds, increase stride length 15 seconds, decelerate 5 seconds).
- Walk back to the starting point to recover and catch your breath and repeat the stride again.
- Strides can also be woven into the middle of an easy run, which is a great strategy for newbie runners with a base of mileage for learning mechanics and learning how to run faster.