Secrets to Sprinting Faster
The 100- and 200-meter sprints are two of the most highly anticipated events at any track meet. This includes the Olympics, where the winner of the 100-meter dash also is unofficially crowned "the world's fastest human." Sprinters spend many hours on conditioning and technique to reach their personal best times.
The start is one of the most important parts of the race. Top-level sprinters know that a great start does not guarantee a victory, but a poor start usually ensures that the runner won't win. Push hard off your bent leg when you hear the starter's pistol. Stay low through the first three strides. If you stand up too quickly, you won't reach top speed efficiently.
Increase Your Breathing Speed
Sprinters might feel fatigued during practice sessions or running race heats during a track meet. It's not muscle fatigue: It's because they are not taking in enough oxygen. Increase your breathing speed. Do this for 30 seconds at a time, breathing in and out as quickly as possible. Do this at the starting line as well, so you can trick your body into thinking you already are in motion.
Pump your arms with a forceful downward movement. When your left foot hits the ground, pump hard with your right arm. When your right foot hits the ground, pump hard with your left arm. This will help you to get a more explosive push off when your foot hits the ground.
Claw The Ground
Many runners are using their heels to provide the bulk of their running power or pushing back as they run. You must run on the balls of your feet and claw the ground with the spikes of your shoes with each stride. This will keep your feet moving quickly through the air and they will spend less time on the ground. This will help you move faster.
Build strength in your legs by doing weight-training exercises. The leg press, leg curls and lunges will help you build more strength. As you build more strength in your core muscles, hips, glutes and legs, you will have a more powerful stride. That will make you a faster runner who will be able to sustain his speed over a longer period.
Push yourself in every training session. Whether you are working on your start, acceleration, arm motion or finishing ability, don't go through the motions. Find faster runners to train against so you have a chance to improve and sprint against the best competition.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.