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Go Ahead, Treat Yourself to Running Fast

Reading favorite running blogs and discovering some new ones, there’s a slight trend of crabbiness among some runners.  Sorry, linking to them wouldn’t be right, but I bet you’ve read some or maybe are feeling the yuck.  There’s the understandable frustration with the heat,  missing some race goals, and the challenge fitting in running at the height of summer. 

I’m also wondering if some runners are trying to avoid eye contact with the calendar, because it’s time to run longer to prepare for fall races.   Training for the Chicago Marathon, I’m facing the same, so I’m actually spicing it up by reliving my grade school days, when we ran fast.

Boys_running_2 Yup.  I’m talking about Strides. Also known as striders or pickups, strides are simply accelerating for a short distance and then slowing down.  An example: accelerate for 30 yards, hold it for 40 yards, then decelerate for 30 yards. 

Run six strides followed by taking all the time you care to recover between, and you’ll actually improve your speed and feel energized.  It's all your pent-up speed molecules aching to be used.

Sure, strides are also a formal part of speed training.  The benefit is improving running form and opening up our leg turnover beyond the routine range of motion we typically use mile after mile. 

Amy wrote there is only rule in running: that it's YOUR run.  So we're in agreement with Amy: anyone can run strides—from one end of a block to the other, on an unmarked trail, from a fire hydrant to the stop sign.

So it’s the weekend, the customary time of longer running.  Who says you have to trudge at a LONG particular pace?  Not a racer?  Good for you!

Go ahead and mix up your runs.  Bust out a few stridesRun fast if only for a bitIt feels Olympian!

Boys running on Flickr by Island Life


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What a good reminder! I remember advice I received long ago that told me to pick up the pace for a little bit when I got tired during a long run. I thought the person was nuts, but after I tried it, I found that it was invigorating.


Thanks for the advice! Oddly, I've never known what a stride was. I always thought it was just another way of saying "sprint". Now it sounds like something I'd like to try :)


Hi Tom (and Amy)...,

Thanks for your kind words on my blog. Interesting site you have here, I will spend a fair while reading through the history and seeing what makes you guys tick. Running is individual, but even better when we share our experiences.


Lel & Liam: Strides are a gem for all runners. We somehow think we either must or can't do speedwork--intervals, repeats, tempo runs, or some sort of other track stuff. Strides signal to me that I'm making progress. Keep up your great running!

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