Improve your sprinting mechanics and you'll run faster. Sounds simple, right? But in order to achieve and maintain top speed, runners need to learn how to relax through a sprint's acceleration and transition phases and all the way to the finish line. You're only able to maintain top speed for up to three seconds before you start to slow down, so to outperform opponents who are tightening up to run as fast as they can, its crucial to learn how to relax and maintain your speed.
The perfect speed training drill to learn this technique is called In and Outs. I recommend young athletes start with 20-yard intervals; once you improve, you can increase the distance to 40 yards. Add this drill to your speed training program on the days you're working on max velocity or top speed.
In and Outs
Sets/Reps: 3x5 of 20-In, 20-Out, 20-In, 20-Out, 20-In. Rest for three to five minutes for full recovery, and repeat
- Place a cone every 20 yards so you know which phase you're in
- Get into starting position
- Sprint as fast as you can for 20 yards; this is the in-phase
- When you hit the 20-yard mark, don't try to run faster; just relax and maintain your speed; this is the out-phase
- Repeat this cycle for 100 yards
- Always end with the in-phase, which means running full speed
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