Sprints Training for Speed
Having good mobility and range of movement in your muscles allows your body to be able to perform all the training needed of a sprinter.
As mentioned on the main page for this section, sprinting speed is about two things: moving your legs fast, and getting a good stride length on each stride. To maximise these things we will split this page into 3 parts.
- Technique Development
Much of these are covered within other parts of the website, which are referred to below. Here we will concentrate on what you should try to do, and use the other sections to help with the "how to do it" parts.
Good running technique is vital in sprinting for 3 reasons:
- it enables you to move as fast as you possibly can (the most obvious, but probably least important reason).
- it allows speed maintenance over the period of a race - it is relatively easy to get a good top speed, but maintaining it is much harder.
- it significantly reduces the risk of injury.
Development of a good running technique is discussed in the Running Technique section.
Moving your legs fast is, to an extent, a genetic predisposition. However, improvements can normally be made. Here it is a case of 'practice makes perfect'; the more you move your body fast, the more your body gets used to it, and the faster you can move.
So, the most important thing to do is practice moving fast.
This can be done by just running fast! It sounds stupid, but repeating the sprinting action at pace will get the body used to working quickly.
Also, you can cut your stride length and do drills with quick movements, such as high knees. The Event Specific Drills performed quickly are good for this - particularly the heel flick, high knees drill.
Over-speed running can be practised as well. This can be done by the use of a mechanical device to aid you, e.g. a high strength piece of elastic, or by running on a slight downhill decline (no greater than about 5 degrees).
Much of sprinting fast is related to the amount of force or power that you can produce. Other than the effects of running fast in training improving the amount of power produced, much of this work is done in the gym and is looked at under strength.
However, plyometrics are also important here, as these are good at producing elastic power as opposed to just strength, which some gym exercises that involve slow movements tend to only work on.