A Lost Art: Accelerations

We accelerate our cars by pushing down on the accelerator (gas pedal), but we often forget to accelerate our running.

I recently switched training programs and now after every easy run I’m supposed to do accelerations. I remember how important these are because we use to do them a lot at Taylor, but since then I haven’t done them much but did do their close cousin: strides.

Accelerations are different than strides but have many of the same benefits. Often part of a broader plyometric set (or speed form training), accelerations are simple and can be done anywhere you run. All you need is about 100 yards of smooth surface.

The purpose of speed-form training is to improve your leg turnover (or stride frequency, as some call it), power, running economy, and relaxation while running. Runner’s World

Accelerations should be done after your body is already warmed-up, you should run for at least 10 minutes before doing these. It is best to already have a decent level of conditioning and some speed work history. If you haven’t done any speedwork you should focus on strides first.

  1. Pick a starting and ending point,
  2. Begin slowly. I usually walk the first step or two
  3. gradually accelerate (pick up speed).
  4. The last 10 meters or so should be at 100% but should feel smooth, as if you are gliding.
  5. Recover for about 100 meters or 2 minutes and repeat.

Build up to doing between 4 or 5 accelerations.

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