The Case for Striders

A few weeks ago I went to the track with the intention of running 3 x 1200m at 5K pace (~5:20 per repeat).  As you can see below, I was off by a good amount on the first repeat.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 6.58.28 PM

And here is a workout from last week: 2 x 400m/800m/1200m @ 20 secs faster than 5K pace/5K pace/HM pace.  My first fast 400m was right on target:

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 3.41.32 PM

What did I do differently?  Striders:

A strider (a.k.a. a pick-up) is an easy to perform running drill to improve your form and mechanics. They are quite flexible and can be plugged into your regimen after easy runs to work on form, used to warm up before speed workouts or races, or they can be used as a speed workout for newbie runners.

The ultimate goal is to increase your stride length while maintaining a quick foot turnover. Although it may sound tricky or complicated it truly isn’t. In mortal-speak, it is going from running easy to increasing your speed by lengthening your stride for about 15 seconds and then slowing your speed down and walking back to recover and catch your breath.

Usually my track workouts start out with a short easy jog from my apartment to the track and then one or two easy laps around the track before I jump into the hard part.  Last week I added some short, fast striders to my last warm up lap.  My legs felt so much better when I then tried to start running at sub-7:00 pace.  And, as seen above, I was able to mostly nail my paces right from the beginning.

I realize striders are basically Running 101.  I mean, we did them 15+ years ago before high school track meets.  This is not a groundbreaking concept.  I always do them before a race.  But sometimes when I’m running on the track before 6 in the morning I am not very clear headed and just want to start running hard so I can get it over with and go home and eat waffles.  And then my paces are off because I haven’t properly warmed up.

So that’s my PSA for the weekend: do some striders before a track workout.

Also, the Trader’s Joe’s Pumpkin Waffles are criminally delicious.

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