Written by Pat Sherald. Pat is head of strength and conditioning for the ABPA. He spent time as a coach at Lamar University (TX) and West Virginia University.
Speed has a simple equation:
Stride Length + Stride Frequency = Speed
Stride Frequency is the dominant factor to our speed equation. Stride frequency is simply how many times do we cycle our legs thru and how fast we do it.
Stride Length consists of how long our stride is.
Three ways to improve speed
- Improve Running Mechanics: This just doesn’t mean our legs. It also includes proper posture from start to finish, the pumping action of our arms and cycling our legs thru the running motion. Poor running form can cost you as much as .5 seconds on your 60-yard dash.
- Strength program: If you watch the sprinters during the Olympics, it’s easy to recognize their physicality. World-class sprinters are physically strong. If you want to improve your speed, you MUST improve your overall body strength.
- Speed program: A well designed and executed speed program can increase your fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment, improve running mechanics and strength. A poorly designed program can hurt your performance. A properly developed speed program will have the right amount of sprint work, plyometrics, and rest.
There is NO reason you can’t get faster. Not everyone has the ability to be a world-class sprinter, but EVERYONE has the ability to get faster and make speed an average tool.
Don’t let speed hold you back from a college scholarship!