Whether you have been running for a while or have just started – doing quick sprints from time to time could be the key to success. According to an American study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, short, explosive workouts not only lead to increased speed but can also contribute positively to workouts of a consistent pace during longer runs.
American elite running trainer Brad Hudson explains that it can improve your entire running performance. In other words, you are teaching your body to run faster with less effort. When you improve your top short-distance speed you will also be able to keep up a faster pace during longer stretches. This kind of speed training leads to changes in the nervous system, which results in faster muscular coordination, a higher step frequency, shorter contact time per step and a speedier build-up of forward-drive.
There are different ways of incorporating faster stretches into your running workout:
Increase your tempo, but in a relaxed manner. Run as quickly as you can, but stay calm. It may sound odd, but it works – if you smile or relax your face the short sprint will be easier for you.
Push your limits for 10 seconds. Your speed increase will be so fast that your heartbeat and breathing will not have time to react.
Recover now and then. After a sprint you can go from running to walking so your pulse goes back down again. After a short pause you can speed up again, do another sprint and then have some more recovery time. The last sprint should feel no harder than the first.