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Learning To Stride

Strides are an excellent training tool and something we try and get all runners doing.

Strides can help with;

  • Recovery

  • Maintenance

  • Running Form

  • Warming Up

  • Evolving a workout

What are strides?

Strides are done over 100 - 150m. You run at fast speeds with plenty of recovery between each one. The pace you are aiming for will vary, but for most runners, 5k and a bit quicker is the sort of top speed you are looking for.

To run them:

Accelerate over 25 - 30 metres.

Hold that top speed for 50 - 80 metres

Gradually decelerating over the last 25 - 30 metres

You want to be light on your feet, running relaxed and moving fast!

A walk back to the start (100 - 150m) is usually an appropriate recovery, but you might want a bit more. Really go on how you feel.

Ease into the strides. It might be you only reach 10k pace for the first one. Do as many (or little) as you want. I suggest 3 to 5 sets, but there have been times I've only needed one to feel ready to go. Trust your body to let you know when you are done.

The different uses of strides.

The Recovery Strides

Strides are a great recovery tool that can help put that 'pop' into your legs. By running fast, we are 'stiffening' the muscles a bit, and the next day they should feel great. St

Done at the end of a recovery / easy run. Ideal when you have a challenging workout or race the next day.


There are times in training when you are just grinding out miles, everything is very aerobic, and it can feel like you haven't run fast in ages.

Strides are really great to pop in at the end of a workout, just to remind you of what it is like to run at speed. 4 - 5 sets is usually a good number of strides, but it could increase to 7-8 if you want.

Running Form

When working on your running form, strides gerund what you are training into practice.

Perhaps landing that front foot underneath a bent knee, in which case you are doing the strides with that as your focus.

These are best to do when fresh when you are fresh as this allows you to focus on form. You can also repeat them on tired legs and feel what your form is like when fatigued.

Having someone watch you do these or a video recording is incredibly helpful. This gives you an idea of the changes you are making, and you can see if they are working.

Warming Up

Getting warmed up before a workout is essential. It wakes up your body, energy systems and prepares the muscles for the work to come.

A series of strides, slowly increasing your speed to that of the workout and a bit faster, is an excellent way to finish the warm-up.

They can also be fantastic before a race.

The amount of strides you run here is really personal. You might be ready after 1 set of strides, but it might take 4-5 to get prepared on another day.

Evolving a workout

Take a workout to the next level by adding in some strides.

After a Strength and Conditioning workout, a few strides can really finish the workout off well.

Sometimes we will put a set of strides in after a longish run. Running fast on tired legs can prepare you for a kick in your next race. This helps with Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber recruitment.

Make sure your only semi-fatigued when doing them so that you are still running with good form.

You won't want too many here. It depends on how fatigued you are going into them.

Strides are incredibly versatile and a weapon that should be in any runners training armoury. Make sure you are doing them for a specific reason. That way, you can judge when you've done enough!

Get out there and get striding!


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