Workout Wednesday: Improving Running

This week’s Workout Wednesday I am looking into ways to improve running. Jenny Hadfield is a co-author of Running for Mortals and Marathoning for Mortals book series and has written for numerous magazine. She shares with Runner’s World on ways to improve running efficiency.

Silhouette of a couple running at sunset

#1: Get Strong

It is common that runners may acquire muscle imbalances that will create more work for the body. Here is a list of exercises that can help balance the body strength and better stablise to run more efficiently.

  • Planks
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Clams
  • Push Ups
  • Row with resistance tube or weight

#2: Get Your Power On

Adding plyometrics into your regular routine will boost strength and speed by improving the elasticity of the muscle via the stretch-shortening cycle. Plyometrics are quick and powerful move that start with an eccentric (muscle lengthening) action and are immediately followed by a concentric (muscle shortening) action. Some suggested exercises are:

  • Power skips
  • Leg bounding
  • Jump squats

#3: Improve Your Stride Rate

Your stride rate is simply the number of steps you take in a minute. To find it, count the number of strides on one foot for one minute and double it. The goal is to have a stride rate of around 180, or 90 per foot. If it’s much less (170) than that, it likely means you’re creating more vertical energy (oscillation), projecting more upward motion than forward, and you guessed it, wasting energy. It also means you’re employing braking forces with every stride rather than rolling quickly over the ground. The key is to practice patience while increasing your stride rate and decreasing the time you spend on the ground.


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