You’re a seasoned runner but you can’t seem to break this speed plateau, I think I can help. Below are my the three components to fast running.
The higher your overall top speed, the faster you’ll be when running at that sustainable 85% of Max Hear Rate. Top speed is a function of two things Power Output and Neuromuscular Conditioning.
Power output is how much propulsion force you can generate as your foot pushes back against the ground propelling you forward. This can be developed through Box Jumps, Sprint Starts, and Olympic Deadlifts.
Neuromuscular Conditioning allows the muscles to fire more rapidly and with greater precision. N.M.C. will get your legs moving faster, increasing your cadence. This is developed with overspeed training. Running down hills at great speed or on a treadmill at max velocity for 10 second intervals.
Cardio Respiratory Conditioning
Cardio Respiratory Conditioning is how quickly you can consume oxygen. The more efficient you are at getting oxygen to the muscles the greater the output. Conditioning this system is as simple as running yourself out of breath. Tabata intervals are great for this, 20 seconds at max effort then 10 seconds at sub maximal effort for 8 intervals.
Running economy is a product of proper pacing and maximizing output in the horizontal plane. All race distances 400 meters and beyond must be paced at even or negative splits for optimal performance. This means your last segment of your run should be as fast or faster than all the other splits. Pacing takes time to master. To practice pacing you need to be on a track with a stop watch, or use a GPS enabled wrist watch. These are the two most accurate methods for measuring distance and time.
Maximizing output in the horizontal means not wasting energy in the vertical. If your head is tracking up and down as you run, that is energy wasted in the horizontal that needs to be directed vertical. Be conscious of bouncy movements and imagine running in a room with a low ceiling. Try not to hit your head. It may seem strange at first, but it won’t take long to reprogram your stride.
Founder of Solid Body Fitness
USA Track & Field Level 1 Coach
Strength & Conditioning Coach
CrossFit Level 1 Certified Personal Trainer
CrossFit Certified Indoor Rowing Instructor