We all know speed work is the key to moving down the finish times. Doing at least one hard speed workout, even two, can help make you faster. To me, they are the hardest workouts of the week. Is there anything we can do to help give us more speed outside of running? Yes!
Here are some moves you can do to help:
Bridges: You see this more in yoga but they work for runners. Lie on the floor and put your feet flat on the ground and your hands over your head and then on the ground. Lift your body up. It’s the same as doing a backbend, without moving your legs over your head. This strengthens your glutes. Once you get more advanced, try lifting one of your legs up and holding it for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
One-legged squat jumps: Because running involves one leg on the ground all the time and basically jumping from one foot to the other, mirroring that movement can help build muscle. Stand on one leg, squat down and jump up. Do this for 20 times on each leg.
Foam rolling: After a run, lie on top of a foam roll–you can find these at any local sporting goods store. Slowly roll your leg over the foam roll and notice any pain. If you hit a hot spot –a spot where you notice extra pain–push extra hard on it for 30 seconds, no more. This helps remove the kinks that build up from running and keep your legs fresh. It’s basically like giving yourself a massage for free (although it’s a little more painful).
Side plank with leg lift. Lie on your side and then lift your body up so you are resting all your weight on your forearm. Lift one leg up, hold for five seconds, then move it back down. Repeat for 10 times and then switch sides. This strengthens your hips and posture for faster running.