Three Speed Requirements

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Still slow? You're probably not a complete speed athlete. According to top college T&F strength coaches, you need to understand, attack and be proficient in all three attributes of speed to maximize linear speed.

Distance and Speed

Long strides with quick leg turnover are key. One without the other—long strides that are slow or fast strides that are short—is useless. Find a running style that feels natural but allows for quick movement while covering the most distance.

Good Form

Are you a bobblehead when you run? The best runners maintain a still head with a loose jaw and use fullrange arm motions, which in turn control the tempo and cadence of your lower body movements [bigger arm swings allow for bigger strides] and increase speed. Improve your technique to maximize efficiency.

Development

Without developing the necessary strength and mechanics, you won't be able to optimize your movements or mechanics. One exercise that's great for both is the Wall Acceleration March, which Lance Walker, director of performance at the Michael Johnson Performance Center, prescribes for his elite athletes. Perform 2 sets of 6 reps with each leg.

• Place hands against wall; position body at 45-degree angle from wall with legs and back in straight line
• Using marching movement, lift right knee to chest; hold position for three seconds; lower knee to start position
• Perform same movement with left knee


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