Understand this fact: fast legs are sexy legs. Truer words have never been spoken. Just look at any sprinter, they always, consistently have incredible legs (and butts and abs). So why waist your time worrying about what the number on the weight scales says? That isn’t going to get you to burn fat, melt cellulite, and it certainly won’t give you sexy legs.You should only ask: How Do I Get Fast?
Instead focus on getting faster and I guarantee you will not only see that number on the weight scale move down, but you’ll also be proud to be sporting shorts this summer.
Make no mistake, sprinting is a skill and like any skill you need to first understand how to do it before you can do it well. Going out and sprinting without any coaching and running all out will help burn some calories, but if you don’t learn good form you will never be that fast…and the faster you are the better you will look.
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Anyone can become fast if they do the right form and practice it to perfection. Focus on being the best version of yourself that only you can be. Trust me, the best version of you is capable of amazing things including running pretty darn fast. Besides, the rest of the world is just waiting to meet the best person in you, so why keep everyone waiting?
Let’s get down to some sprinting basics. There are four phases of any short distance sprint whether you are running 20 metres or 200 metres and they are:
1) The Start 2) The Drive Phase – Acceleration 3) The Stride Phase – Maximizing Speed and, 4) The Deceleration Phase – Maintaining Speed
If you are only beginning to sprint and are doing short sprint distances (20 to 40 metres) you won’t be spending a great deal of time in the stride phase and you definitely won’t be running long enough a distance to get into the deceleration phase.
So let’s focus on the first two phases. The most important overarching principle over the start and the drive phase is not to “pop up” into the tall erect position of the stride phase. Instead focus on “staying low” during the first 10 to 20 metres of your run (If you are only running 20 metres make the combined start and drive anywhere from 10 to 15 metres in total)
The Start – Typically this is your first 4 to 6 strides. You should start your sprint very low. You don’t need to be in a four-point stance with both hands on the ground, but you should be bent over enough at the start to almost touch the ground with one hand.
As you begin, feel as though you are falling forward as you drive with each stride to not only catch yourself from falling but also continue to propel yourself forward.
The Drive – As you begin to ever so slowly straighten up keep your focus on the ground 2 to 3 metres ahead of you to help keep your body bent over as you continue to accelerate during the drive phase.
The Stride – By around 15 metres you should be fully upright, looking straight ahead and continuing to accelerate. Continue to stride hard with your hands and bring your knees high with every step.
If you are only starting to sprint don’t run at 100% of your top speed. When you go all out form will suffer badly. It is only when you have practiced enough to make the above tips unconscious habits that you can really take your foot of the brake and run all out.
Instead run at 70 – 80% of your top sprint speed. Let me be clear, you are still sprinting, you are not jogging. But run as though you still had another gear if you needed to speed up. By holding back just a little you can focus on your form and perfect you technique.
That will ensure you get better and better and better over time, and the way you look in the mirror will thank you for it!