Improve Running Speed & Prevent Injuries
Good running technique
In the green diagram the body’s center of gravity is able to easily pass over the striking leg and because there is no breaking force you maintain the momentum gained from the back swing causing continuous forward movement producing a more efficient stride.
Running is a combination of bio mechanics (movement) and physiology (fitness) The bio-mechanics side looks at footwear & ground reaction force. The physiology side looks at how you can improve your heart and lungs ability to provide oxygen to the working muscles. In order to improve as a runner, you must look at both bio mechanics and physiology.
Improve running technique (biomechanics)
Running technique is made up of stride length, cadence, running posture, arm propulsion, foot placement, muscle recruitment and there may be a number of these components that can improve your running.
Bad running technique
There is an optimal stride length for your legs but once this is exceeded (red diagram), it will slow you down. Over striding causes the heel to strike with the toe pointing upwards. Due to the fact that the leg is so far out in front of the body it places a breaking force on the body.
Strength training (biomechanics)
Once you increase your maximum strength than your average force production will increase as well. On average it takes 1400 steps to complete a mile, so a 5% increase in force production with every stride you take over 5 miles will knock minutes off your time. This can be achieved without increasing bulk.
Perform anaerobic work (physiology)
Sprint training is a great way to improve long distance running. Flat out sprints lasting between 10-30 seconds followed by a rest period. This type of training is known as interval work, which combines both anaerobic and aerobic work.
Try this interval work out once a week
60 meter run (flat out) x4 with a 1:4 work rest ratio. As you get fitter increase your repetitions and use for 6 weeks. By the end of 6 weeks you should be doing 8 reps. If it is too easy, decrease the exercise to rest ratio to 1:3 or if you’re an experienced runner start with a minimum of 8 reps.
A rest ratio of 1:4 is a more accurate way to determine rest periods. It means that if takes you 10 seconds to perform your first sprint than your rest period is 40 seconds, if it takes 15 seconds to complete your sprint than 60 seconds is your rest period.