Right, it's time for this week's training sessions and we're looking at strides.

Done properly, strides are a fantastic type of interval training and help learning how to really kick in a run and crank up the pace.

Early on in my running journey I'd look up training plans and they'd loosely mention strides; i.e. they'd have an entry in a plan just labelled strides.... at the same time, from reading up about strides, I'd come across reports of people getting injured in sessions so I stayed clear.

What are strides then? As mentioned they are a form of short interval training with a focus on high cadence with a gradual increasing of stride length through the interval. Yes, I've previously said that by keeping a high cadence and shorter stride length you run less chance of injury... this is why it's really important not to make abrupt changes to pace or form.

From what I've learnt here's how I run strides:

  • don't just extend your stride length
  • a decent warm up is key, this is why they are often mid to end of a run
  • as you start each stride interval first build up cadence with a short stride length and gradually extend your stride during the interval.

So right to it, this week intervals are strides: 8 x 100 m with 100m recovery.

  • Warm up for at least 10 minutes. This isn't just jogging for the time, start easy then vary the pace speeding up and slowing down without any abrupt changes of pace.
  • For the intervals first of all start by raising your cadence (Neil Catley talked about pumping your arms furiously (I think it was related to running); your arm movements lead your legs so that will pick up your cadence). With a high cadence start to extend your stride length but keeping the same cadence. At the end of the interval ease off; don't stop abruptly.
  • For recovery try to keep cadence high and light on your feet with a slightly exaggerated bounce; it really doesn't matter if you are moving really slowly.
  • Cool down is something you need to ease into; finish the intervals with a repeat of the recovery interval and then bring the pace up to a gentle run to get you home.
  • Throughout keep your focus on your form.

Share your feedback; how did it go, do you already do strides and what tips have you got?

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