To improve running form and efficiency, accelerations can help you greatly. When your form improves, a speed increase will occur naturally.
Benefits of Acceleration-Gliders: They warm up the legs before speed sessions, hills or races; By focusing on these gliders, you teach yourself efficient running form; They help you develop the capacity to glide or “coast” for segments of 50 to 200 meters, resting the major running muscles so that they will perform better later.
Acceleration-Gliders must be done: regularly – at least once a week, with no sprinting – no major effort used, low to the ground to minimize effort and using quick turnover of the feet and legs.
How to do Acceleration-Gliders:
- It helps to have a slight downhill to get momentum going, using the last 20 to 30 meters of the downhill as momentum to get right into gliding at an increased pace.
- Keep the legs and body relaxed throughout but particularly at the beginning. Start by jogging for about 15 steps then fast jogging for about 15 steps.
- If no downhill is available, pick up your leg rhythm by shortening stride length and gradually increasing the turnover of your feet and legs. (Turnover is simply the number of steps you take per minute.) Gradually increase over 15 steps or so.
- You’re now up to speed so just glide…keeping feet low to the ground, using very little effort.
- Let this gliding continue for 20 to 40 steps. Gradually slow down.
- Rest by jogging between accelerations. You may also take walking breaks as needed.
- Start with two to three gliders and increase by one or two each session to a maximum of eight.
- One of these sessions per week will help to mechanically reinforce form improvements, which will help you in the race itself.
- You can use these as a warm-up before hills, speed sessions or races. You may also do them during your recover/maintenance runs each week.