Strides are a running drill used to increase speed and stamina.
They are short sprints typically performed before speed workouts or races in order to prepare the body for fast-paced running, but they can also be incorporated into your training routine after easy, moderate-paced workouts to help loosen up tight muscles, improve range of motion and develop your form.
Follow this step-by-step guide to help properly incorporate strides into your routine.
1.) Strides are extremely short. They should last for about 60 to 100 meters but the distance you choose to perform depends on several factors. The distance of your strides should correlate with what you aim to accomplish. For example, shorter, faster strides would be more ideal when warming up for a 5K and longer strides at a slower pace might be incorporated into a training plan designed for an endurance event.
2.) One stride should take about 20 to 30 seconds. The first third of that time should be spent gradually accelerating to about 95% of your maximum speed, the second third should be spent maintaining that speed and the final portion should be dedicated to decelerating to a slow stop. (An easy way to make sure you’re pacing your strides evenly is to divide your total number of footstrikes by three.)
3.) When performing strides for the first time, it’s recommended that you use a track so you can accurately measure the distance and get a feel for what 60 to 100 meters feels like. (While you practice on the track try counting each of your footstrikes for the distance you cover so that if you want to perform strides outside of the track in the future you can use that number to gauge the proper distance.)
4.) Grass or a smooth dirt trail are the most ideal surfaces for performing strides but any flat surface that leaves enough space for you to cover 60 to 100 meters in a straight line will work, too.
5.) Remember to control your form and remain relaxed while running strides. They are not an aerobic workout, so you should not feel strained or like you are racing.
6.) Leave at least 60 to 90 seconds of recovery time between each stride. While recovering you can walk slowly or stand still.
7.) Beginners should start with just three or four strides and can increase that number to five or six after three to four weeks of regularly incorporating them into their training routine.