IMPROVE CADENCE AND FORM
WHY DO IT Establishes your baseline cadence for all your speeds. HOW TO DO IT On a straight stretch of ground, run at each training pace (eg 5K, marathon) for a few minutes. Count your steps for 30 seconds and then double the number to get your cadence. You should see that as your speed increases, so does your cadence. To each of your recorded numbers, add five per cent to get your goal cadence for each pace.
WHY DO IT When you speed up, your body adjusts to spring more efficiently: you push off more powerfully, with less up-anddown oscillation. With practice, these habits will become ingrained even at slower paces. HOW TO DO IT Once or twice a week after an easy run, do six 100m strides on a flat surface. Alternate between 90 per cent efforts and accelerations that start a little easier but finish a little harder. Walk back to recover.
WHY DO IT Doing strides on a slight downhill that flattens out is a great way to increase your stride rate. Gravity makes accelerating easier and allows your legs to turn over more quickly. Warm up thoroughly and run on a soft surface, such as playing fields. HOW TO Run down a grass slope for 150200m, controlling your acceleration. Take short, quick steps so you don’t overstride. Jog back to the top and repeat four times. Do once a week.
WHY DO IT This drill trains your legs for a faster turnover; helps combat overstriding (which leads to greater braking forces and excessive impact on the body) and encourages good running form. HOW TO DO IT On a flat, straight surface, and using short, quick strides, take as many steps as you can in 10m. Keep the ground contact as brief as possible. Jog for 10m, then repeat five times. Do this session once a week.
WHY DO IT By focusing on increasing cadence, this workout increases your appreciation of stride turnover. HOW TO DO IT Instead of picking up the pace, run at a quicker stride rate. Run for a minute at 180 strides per minute, then one minute at a more relaxed turnover. Use the step-count method mentioned in the Cadence Counter workout, left. Increase each fartlek section by one minute at a time until you hit five.