Archive for September, 2007

Increase Running Speed

In this article, we’ll address what I consider to be the critical training components that are a part of every successful speed development program to increase running speed of your athletes.

After all, the fastest athletes on any team and in any sport are almost always the quickest and fastest on the field or the court. and every coach and athlete wants to know the most effective methods to increase running speed.

So the question becomes: what are the training elements that must be addressed in order accomplish this goal?

To start, no athlete can be expect to succeed with their speed training if they aren’t properly warmed up. Many programs still use that old school warm up philosophy of jogging around the field a couple times, getting in a circle and holding static stretches as the whole team counts to 10. Now, I don’t know any sports that require holding a stretch for an extended period of time in order to get prepared to compete or practice. That being the case, such an outdated warm up philosophy is not going to increase running speed.

Instead, athletes must do a dynamic warm up that progresses from slow, simple movements like jogging and skipping to the high intensity speed drills that actually prepare them for an intense practice.

Another critical element to speed development is that of improving coordination. Moving the limbs at the speeds required to get faster requires very high levels of coordination. Even the best athletes overestimate their ability to properly do speed drills or go through a series on an agility ladder. That’s why I often do these types of drills at the beginning of the season to give them a first hand experience that shows them just how much room for improvement they have.

One overlooked training element that is proven to increase running speed is that of regular focus on improving flexibility. We often hear about the role of stride length in speed development. And it makes sense that, all other things being equal, if Athlete A has a longer stride length than Athlete B, than Athlete A will always beat Athlete B. Thus a more flexible athlete will clearly cover more distance with each step, but without exerting any extra effort. The benefits to this are clear. If athletes cover more ground with each step, not only will they get to where they want to go quicker, but it will also take less steps to get there.

The three elements that I have discussed so far are all important supplements to any speed training program. However, at the end of the day, improving any athlete’s ability to run as fast as they can is dependent on one thing: training fast. The only way to run faster is to practice running at full speed.

As obvious as this seems, many programs confuse what real speed development actually is. Sprints with short rest periods (less than 2 minutes, minimum), interval training at medium intensities (less than 95-100% intensity) and runs lasting longer than approximately 8 seconds are all common training components that will not improve any athlete’s top speed. As long as your intent is to increase running speed, you must make these training elements an active part of your program, especially the final point regarding how I defined true speed training.

Train hard, work smart, get fast!

Patrick is the owner of Athletes’ Acceleration Inc., your final resource for developing the fastest athletes. To learn more about speed training and to access Patrick’s free Speed Training Report – Secrets to Developing Dominant Speed – go to

This post was brought to you by:

Increase Your Running Speed – an effective program to help you improve your times through a focus on pure running speed.

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 29, 2007 at 8:02 am

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What Do You Listen to When You Run?

Here is a little experiment for your next run when you are running in an area that is frequented by many runners. Do a little count of how many people have headphones in their ears and are listening to an iPod or other music device. I did this last Monday and approximately 75% of runners and walkers had one on. That is amazing – what did people used to do before mp3 players – or the old Sony Walkman tape players for that matter?

I run with my iPod every time I head out. I enjoy it because of the escape I get from it. It also lets me pass the time as we all know that sometimes it can get lonely out there. I am not always an active listener to what I am hearing because I may be thinking about how to go about something I have been trying to figure out for some time.

I often wonder what it is runners are listening to. I thought I should ask my readers to tell me. Please use the comment to tell me what you most often listen to – I personally hope to get some listening ideas from you.

What do I listen to you might be asking? It varies a bit, but here is an overview:

1. Podcast: This Week in Tech
2. Podcast:: Macbreak Weekly
3. Anything Metallica
4. Bright Eyes – the number 4 spot can change a lot, depending on my mood (anything from Slayer to John Denver)

That is mine – now show me yours in the comments.

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 26, 2007 at 8:27 pm

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My Wife is Now (Almost) a Runner

Guest post: A while ago you may remember me writing about my wife not being a runner. Well it turns out I spoke too soon and she has successfully completed 2 runs in the past two weeks. Good for her I say. I have asked her to write a guest post on my blog – this is her account of the experience…

First things first. I AM NOT a runner. I decided this the minute I fulfilled my physical education requirement in high school. I was done with track & field, done with volleyball, done with basketball and floor hockey. I know what you’re thinking…but I am not and was not a large girl. I just didn’t enjoy the traditional gym class sports. My body favored a more delicate sport. Figure skating, dancing, yoga, pilates and the like. So I told myself. And to this day, those beliefs stuck.

Until, two weeks ago when my good friend decided to jump start her post baby weight loss with running. Can you help me, she said. Can you run with me?

My first run effectively defeated me. It was a warm day. My lululemon pants and I made it through a grueling 20 minutes of 3 minutes running, 1 minute walking. And after it was done I couldn’t decide if my shins & inner thighs or my chest hurt more…my chest won out (way too obvious joke) and I spent the day wanting to vomit. Runners are crazy I thought. How do people do this?

But, as the days past, I found I had the urge to pound the pavement again. Such a strange feeling. Fight it, I told myself. Don’t do it, it’s not your thing. But the run day came and out I went. And as I ran faster, and as I ran longer, my resolve was dwindling. Maybe I could be a runner. Maybe a decade old fear of P.E. could finally be kicked to the curb. Running, it seems, isn’t just for the tough girls. Running could be, in fact, for me!

Just don’t get me started on floor hockey. I am not a floor hockey player.

To be continued…..

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 22, 2007 at 3:12 pm

Categories: Fitness, My Wife, Training   Tags:

The Ultimate Distance for Getting and Staying Fit

After my lunch hour run on Monday there was a discussion happening amongst a couple of guys about one individual who is running the next Boston Marathon. The discussion was of course about the training program for such a race and the time and toll it takes to train
properly. This one individual made an interesting comment about running in general and the “perfect” distance to train for.

He said that the perfect distance to train for is the half marathon. The reason for this was two-fold:

1. It is easier on the body than a marathon is and the training is less “severe”.

2. The fitness level provided by being truly ready for a half marathon is perfect, and if you train for one half per year you will be in pretty good shape. It is a great trade off – the training program is not too intrusive and the fitness benefits are huge.

Thinking back on my own experience, I would have to agree. I have found a half-marathon training program pretty easy to integrate into my super busy life, and I have been in the best shape when training for one. More so than for the marathon – it was so demanding on my body I did not feel as “in shape”. Interesting outcome. However, I can still say I have run a marathon and I would not trade that for the world.

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 19, 2007 at 7:22 pm

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What a Crap Week – No Runs Were Completed

I had a bad running week and there were two reasons for it. First, was the bit of a hip problem that seemed to have reared its ugly hip. I had this slow throbbing pain in my hip joint that would not go away. When I tried to run, it was worse.

The second reason was work was getting in the way of a lot of what I wanted to do this week, especially running. Given, I would not have been able to run anyway, but looking back it would not have happened anyway – I guess I picked a good week to be injured. This was one of those weeks where I was back-to-back meetings, every time I got to my desk I had another 10 voice mails and 20-30 emails. Everyone wanted something from me. I take comfort in the fact that I suspect I do my job well and people feel comfortable come to me for help.

Next week I am going to start fresh and begin a 5-k training program. The run I was going to do in September is not going to happen as I need to be somewhere else that weekend (wow – it seems I am making a lot of excuses in this post). I have not trained for a 5-K in a long time so it should be a nice change of pace, pardon the pun.

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 15, 2007 at 12:38 pm

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