During base building, except for doing lots of easy running, strength training, and stretching, it’s important to also start getting the body ready for some high-intensity work. And the best way to ease into those fast 200m repetitions is to add a few strides to the majority of easy runs.
What Are Strides?
Strides are fast and energetic pace pickups that aren’t yet all-out sprints but make your body work a little harder.
Strides should last between 10 and 15 seconds with 45 seconds or so of rest in between.
Strides not only help your body prepare for fast and demanding repetitions but also refresh those lazy legs after longer easy runs.
I love strides because they feel great. I mean, it’s a form of play, actually, where you go faster without being bound by any training constraints, i.e., pace, distance, or time. You just let those legs loose!
How to Start Running Strides?
It all depends on your level of fitness. If you’ve been running for a while (i.e., four weeks of easy running, or even better, when you’re comfortably running all your weekly distances without having to walk), you can start by adding a
How often? Run strides three times a week on easy runs.
How many? Add two to three strides per run each week. Build on the number of strides in a single run until you’re doing 8 to 10 strides per run.
When to stop? In the week before a major race event, run strides only once a week and do no more than six strides. Focus on tapering then: lots of easy runs, rest, only one quality session. It’s also the same during racing weeks (when you have a race every weekend). Otherwise, run strides all the time.
When to do less? If a training phase is full of high-intensity work, do only half of the stride work to make sure those easy runs let you recover properly before quality sessions.
What to do for a stronger stimulus? Do your strides uphill.
Strides are great during every training phase! I usually do them uphill for the added low-impact strength benefit.