Someone turned up the heat in Erie, Pennsylvania!
You won’t see me complain because it is substantially better than the 6 months of constant snow, wind and cold we seem to get. My body however has not quite gotten used to running in the heat. It takes some time to re-adjust.
Yesterday after I got off work I headed out the door to start running before my body could realize how warm it was. Surprisingly even though my legs were tired they moved along pretty easily.
5 easy miles with strides thrown in at the end. Aside from the heat I’d say it went pretty great.
You may have noticed my training plan has at least one day a week where it calls for strides at the end of an easy run.
What are strides?
Strides are usually done before races or runs but can also be fit in near the end as well. They are usually quick pick ups that help to get your legs turning over more quickly.
You will see them done often in track practices and by elite runners, but many runners never do them even though they have really great benefits to your run and performance.
Usually a stride lasts anywhere from 50 to 200 meters and are done very quickly. You don’t want to go all out on a stride but instead they would be done at a “comfortable quick” pace. That is the best way I can think to describe it. You want to finish tired but not completely burn out.
Why are they important?
Strides are most commonly used after:
- An easy run – to help increase your leg turnover and keep your legs used to moving quickly while also helping to work on your form.
- Before a race or hard workout – to help prepare your legs and body to get ready to race. They allow your legs to get warmed up.
Strides have also been shown to:
- Improve leg turnover
- Improve form and flexibility
- Increase your speed
- A great transition to faster workouts
- Warm up your leg muscles
Strides are something that can be incorporated into your runs several times a week and are over very quickly. Right now I am only doing them on one easy day a week, but they keep my legs used to going quicker in between my hard workout days.
How do you do strides?
You can do strides virtually anywhere. You can do them on the road, treadmill or even on a grassy field. If I can I try and find a field or non-paved surface to do mine on when outside. This just cuts down on some of the pounding.
I don’t map out a certain distance I just go out and run hard from point A to point B. After I do that I jog around until recovered and then go again. I usually do anywhere from 4-6 strides at the end of my easy run.
This is the field behind our house where I like to do my strides.
You can also do strides as a workout. They are best for those just getting into speed work or coming back from injury because they are quick and simple.
On a side note, I got Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald in the mail yesterday. I am so excited to dive into it!
I love finding new books and learning new information. The fact that this comes from an athlete’s perspective also really intrigues me. I will be back with a full review once I am finished!
Have you ever done strides?
Tell me about your workouts so far this week.