If You Want to Run Faster: improving our marks is one of the main goals of most runners. I am a strong advocate of a run for fun. Still, it is true that once you have entered the dynamic of running regularly and participating in races, there comes a time when what you want is to improve yourself: improve your time at different distances is one of the ways to do it.
If You Want to Run Faster?
As we have said on previous occasions, running series workouts and pace changes are among the most efficient ways to improve our speed. But we cannot forget another of the essential elements when it comes to becoming faster runners: jumping exercises and plyometric exercises.
Plyometric exercises help us improve our muscles’ power: they are fast and powerful exercises preceded by a muscle stretch. It is a reactive training that causes adaptation in the myotatic extension reflex in a shortening-stretching cycle; in other words, we try to shorten the concentric phase of the movement to generate more elastic energy in the eccentric.
Plyometrics improve the tendons’ ability to store this elastic energy. During the race, the body can accumulate energy: this energy is generated thanks to our feet’ impact against the ground with each stride, stored in the tendons and connective tissue. It is released in the form of movement (kinetic energy) that we help propel us forward.
Also, plyometric exercises help us improve our maximum oxygen consumption or VO2 max, be more efficient during the race, and avoid possible injuries in the future.
How Do I Integrate Plyometrics Into My Training?
Within a career training plan, we can include plyometrics to maximize our results. These must be preceded in time by strength training (not necessarily in the same session, but there must be prior strength training to avoid injuries and maximize profits) and, for a famous runner, just one or two days a week.
Some of the plyometric and jumping exercises that we can practice to improve as runners are:
- Alternate lunges with jumping: we stand in the traditional lunge position, with the knees of both the front and rear legs bent to approximately 90 degrees, and the back straight. Instead of taking a step forward or backward, we jump from the lowest position when changing legs.
- Jump squats: we open our legs to the width of the hips and lower until we reach a squat with a depth with which we do not feel comfortable ( depending on our mobility, among others, of hips and ankles ). From the lowest position, we push ourselves up and land on our feet’ balls, making sure to bend our knees to absorb the impact safely.
- Jumps to the box: we will need a step or a box that we must secure on the ground (that it does not move to avoid accidents). We stand in front of him, bend our knees to create that elastic energy, and push ourselves from below to jump with both legs simultaneously and climb into the box. We can start with low heights if we are afraid of falling and increasing height while improving and gaining confidence.