For beginners, it’s not always important to run at a steady pace or maintain a particular speed. In fact, just the act of running will naturally improve this in amateurs and those who have just started.
But to reach the next level and to really make an impact on your speed, it’s crucial to train in the right way and develop speed. For one, stronger muscles will be able to respond to the exertion better, and with increased flexibility and agility, your running form will naturally result in higher speed. Building your muscle and core strengthen is hard work, but if you aim to compete in races, it’s the bridge that must be crossed.
Running is a form of plyometrics. Simply, put it is a jumping exercise, and doing plyometrics specifically develops the jumping element in running. Try doing a round of plyometric exercises such as squat jumps or sumo squat jumps. In addition you could try jumping jacks, box jumps, burpees, knee-tuck jumps and skipping, which are improving your response time for certain movements, such as the lift-off from the ground or your landing. You won’t even realise how much it will improve your running times.
While squats chiefly work on the glutes, depending upon the variation you choose, it can also be an effective workout for your quadriceps, hip muscles, and calves, which will play a vital role in giving you that pace and speed. A particular variation that provides a great stretch to the inner thighs while working your hips, thighs and butt is the lateral squat. Essentially a combination of a squat and a lateral lunge, this stationary routine is excellent for toning the legs and improving overall balance.
A strong core helps you ward off injuries, by maintaining the crucial balance between your upper and lower body and aiding coordination. Core workouts such as planks, crunches, Spiderman pushups and hip rotations will enable your body to get stronger. Do the planks after your run to cool down and add more strength to those crucial abdominal muscles. You don’t even need to step out of the home to do these.
Lunges help you get better balance and improve your foot placement in situations where you are stretching. With feet hip-width apart, step forward with a long stride. Lower your upper body straight down, and shift your weight backward, while extending your forward leg. You should feel the tension in your hamstring and knee muscles. Return to a standing position and repeat with the other leg. Do about 10 reps with each leg. The lunge mimics the airborne position of running or sprinting and helps you stretch those crucial hip flexors, which are vital to gaining speed.
Step aerobics is more than seeing how fast you can run up and down off a certain height. With a well-rounded program you can manage your weight, tone muscles and even burn up to 10 calories a minute. Regular sessions on the step will provide both cardiovascular and muscular endurance, which translates to faster times over a longer period! The only hurdle in step exercises is getting the actual accessory i.e the step. If you have a gym membership, you will have easy access to one.