Getting faster comes down 3 main points that we will discuss here:
- PAL (posture, arms, legs)
- Stride length
- Ground contact time
Different race lengths and the amount of time you have to train will determine the emphasis placed on each category. For our purposes, lets say you have 8 weeks to train. Peerless Athletics suggests between 2 and 4 days per week working on your running technique with these drills.
When strength and conditioning coaches talk about getting faster, most are actually referring to acceleration. Just like a Ferrari, the best athletes are those who can go from 0 to 100mph the fastest, in multiple planes and directions.
Lets get into it:
When you start your speed session, here would be an ideal progression after you complete your activation/correction series and dynamic warm up on your Peerless Athletics workout card:
1.) PAL (posture, arms, legs)
One of the best drills for developing good sprinting posture is the wall drill progression. Check it out here: Posture is THE limiting factor in acceleration. Think about a jet, it gradually lifts its nose as it builds speed. This concept is the same for sprinting. A great way to think about acceleration posture is to look like a lightning bolt.
2. Stride length
Stride length plays a crucial role in acceleration. Many athletes look as though they are moving fast but when they are actually racing against a stopwatch, many are just “spinning their wheels”. Focusing on “pushing” the ground away is key to developing this skill.
On the field: 542. Kneeling Sprint
In the weight room: 292. DB RFE Split Squat
3.) Ground contact time
The last piece of the puzzle is ground contact time. Once you have developed the power to lengthen your stride and practiced the technique, now its time to work on how reactive you can be on each step. While ground contact time needs to be slower in the acceleration phase, it plays a critical role in transitioning to top end speed. Can you put a lot of force into the ground and can you do it quickly? That is what we are practicing with these drills.
There are many ways to skin a cat. There is no “one-size fits all” program because every person has different strengths and weaknesses. Factors such as mobility and flexibility, coordination, strength level, and repetition all factor into what drills an athlete may need to concentrate on when the goal is getting faster. That’s the benefit of having an experienced coach to help identify those things.