Strides – What and Why

One of the foundations of my training plans is “Strides” or “Striders”. ¬†You’ll see these on your plan about once per week. But what exactly are they and why are you doing them?

The training plan notation for Strides will read like this:

10×20 second strides, w/ 60 second recovery

This means that you will do 10 sets of strides, each lasting 20 seconds in duration. Between each one of these repeats, you will do 60 seconds of easy jogging for recovery. These are best done on a flat, straight surface or slightly downhill. If you have a grassy area, like a soccer field, that’s even better. Make sure that you have properly warmed up. I prefer that these be done at the very end of the workout, but as part of the total mileage.

Strides should be run fast, but not out of control. You should be going about as fast as possible without your running form falling apart. Concentrate on a good arm swing, back and forth, not across the body. For distance runners, these will probably fall somewhere between 5K and Mile race pace, maybe even a little faster if you are really fresh.

There are many benefits to running strides. They help your legs get used to running fast. They also help to recruits some of those fast twitch muscle fibers so they can help out when the slow twitch fibers start to get fatigued. They help to improve your running form and to boost your overall running economy.

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