Proper Running Technique

You want to start off by learning or correcting any mistakes that you have made as far as running technique is concerned.

Since running requires energy, you want to expend the least amount of energy for the most amount of force.

This will enable you to go faster much quicker and also save a lot of energy for later in the game or competition.

Don’t waste energy!

As you’ll see, the first drill in this video teaches you to let gravity do the work and to explode forward.

Have you ever seen track athletes do the 100 meter sprint?

You see they start on the ground in their stance with their legs in the block and their body forward. They are taught to not go upright until they’ve reached about a third of the way down the track.

Why is that?

Because you are driving your body to its top speed and if you start to immediately go upright then you are losing energy and your body slows down.

By keeping your body (the upper portion of your body that is) more forward as you run you can continue to go faster and faster until you reach absolute top speed.

You’ll see what I mean at the 1:30 mark of this video.

Proper Arm Movements

The next is learning to get your arm movements down correctly.

They should both be around 90 degree angles and you should keep them in positions like the picture below.

The left arm is as far back as it should be and your right doesn’t go further up than your eyes, which you will also see in the video.

Like I had said previously your legs will only go as fast as your arms allow so you want to work on having the proper arm movements so you don’t waste energy.

This means not to over-extend your arms back too far and also meaning you want to drive them forward far enough.

Proper Leg Movements

Your legs are also going to be extremely important to your success at becoming much faster. But how do you do that exactly?

Well for one you need proper form with your legs. Most people have drastically lower of a high kick than they should.

What I mean by this is they don’t lift their knee up high enough so their stride is too small.

Think of it this way as it is explained in the video.

If person-A takes one step that is 3 feet

1foot              2feet            3feet

And person-B takes the same amount of time to take one step that is 5 feet

1foot             2feet              3feet            4feet              5feet

Then who would win that race?

I hope you said person-B.

And just think about it for a second.

That is just one step. In a 40-yard dash you might have around 15 steps. So when you learn this method alone you should start seeing improvements.

But I do have to say this: Don’t overextend your steps. Remember this example is the same amount of time during steps and if you are over-stepping or your stride is too long then transferring weight from one leg to the other will slow you down.

You have to find a great balance in your stride.

But again most people have smaller strides so everyone I meet can do some good by keeping their knees up.

Aside from that you want to really understand what I mean in the video by “Moving Earth”. You want to make sure that when your foot hits the ground you are squeezing every bit of energy and thrusting forward with power.

Stay Relaxed & Breath

Most people don’t realize that oxygen has everything to do with pumping blood through the muscles so you need to continue to breath as you sprint.

The rule of thumb for sprinters is to breathe every other pump of the arm.

So say everytime your right arm goes toward your face you should breathe in.

You’ll begin to see how this works but it will also really help you to do one thing that is crucial for increasing your speed and that is…staying relaxed!

Most people tense up their face and you can see them struggling to get every ounce of strength to their legs but this is having a counteractive effect that they don’t know about.

Tense Muscles = Slower Muscles

Have you ever seen a world class sprinter run the 100m dash. I want you to notice something the next time you do.

Their cheeks actually bounce up and down.

The reason is because their face is relaxed and that is a sign that your whole body is relaxed.

During the writing of this book Usain Bolt is the fastest human being on earth and here is a picture of how relaxed his face is during his 200m sprint.

He doesn’t look at all like his face is straining one bit. But he’s relaxed and pumping his arms and driving his legs forward.

Usain Bolt 200m Run

If these athletes were extremely tensed up then their muscles will be far slower when they need to be reacting faster.

So remember:

Relaxed Muscles = Faster Muscles

Another thing to make sure when you are working on proper form with sprinting technique is to go straight forward.

Too oftentimes, someone will push their legs out instead of straight forward, which not only wastes energy but it loses lots of power that you should be building up.

So for this reason avoid doing side-to-side leg movements like the following…

Instead you really want to make sure your legs are moving straight forward. This maximizes the energy that you expend and also enables you to draw every ounce of force from that movement to propel you forward.

You can see the difference from the following picture.

But remember that most of what people are doing wrong ultimately starts with form so once we fix that you will find yourself immediately faster and then you can begin building up your muscles and fast twitch fibers.

Notice in the picture how everything is straight up and down and not side-to-side like Figure 1 and Figure 2.

This lets you get maximum force propelling you forward.

3 Phases Of Running

There are 3 phases of running you will need to get familiar with.

But before you think, “Geez, I need to know this much?”

Well not really. I want to explain to you what they are but soon they will become second nature and you will be training your body with these exercises to do them automatically without having to think about it.

However that being said, you definitely want to make sure you understand them so you can get better.

The 3 phases of running are

1. The Dig

2. The Drive

3. The Acceleration

These 3 phases will be responsible to not only starting out your sprints faster so your first steps will be lightening quick, but also how to reach top speed in a few short steps, for most people it takes them well over 15 steps.

And eventually you want to always be accelerating so your top speed gets faster and faster.

What enables Usain Bolt (the fastest human on earth) to dominate the track industry isn’t his start as he admits, and in fact it’s his worst area of sprinting. But rather it’s that his top speed is so much faster than anyone else’s.

This is why once he reaches his top speed, if he doesn’t take too long to get there, he will completely obliterate his opponents.

The Dig

The Dig is very important and most people relate that to quickness. It’s your first few steps from a complete stop to getting into a sprint.

Generally, they say your dig is about the first 15 yards.

It is when your head is down and you are low to the ground really “digging” into the ground to propel yourself forward.

The Drive

Your drive is what is the next 15 yards consist of and that is driving even more power until you begin to reach your top speed.

This is where you are getting more upright but not all the way and you begin with your dorsiflex and plantarflex (or thrusting your leg up and planting your foot on the ground quickly).

Here you start boosting your stride length and driving until you reach your top speed, which should happen as quick as possible.

The Acceleration

Lastly, you reach the acceleration where you have gone through the dig, you’ve reached the drive and powered all the way up to your top speed.

Here you will notice that your body will be more upright but you want to make sure you are also slighting leaning forward rather than back.

Again this is where proper form comes in and it will be a little awkward at first but remember to stay forward.

We’ll be doing specific exercises like tire pulls to help you out with that by giving you some resistance.

But as you can see in the picture you are more upright without leaning back.

Here you should be continuing to accelerate as much as you can. Remember always be accelerating. Even when you hit top speed you want to push you body to think it can go faster than it is.

Again, we will have specific exercises that will allow you to go faster than you have ever gone before and this is my favorite part because you will start hyper-running and that is an amazing feeling.

Another quick aspect you need to remember is called…

The Turnover

That is from when your leg is on the ground to when it lifts up and then back down again.

Essentially, it is two steps.

The faster that you can make this happen the faster you can begin to move especially when you are trying to get up to a full sprint.

Hurdlers do this incredibly well. As soon as they are over the hurdle their leg drops fast to take their next step.

Additionally, you want to make sure your hip flexors are stretched out as well.

Now that you have the mechanics down let’s set you on up with the exercises program.

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