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How to Move Your Legs Faster While Running

Athletes are consistently trying to improve their running speed by making their legs move faster. Running speed is achieved via the stride rate and stride length. Improving these two through various drills and exercises can make your legs move faster while running.

  1. Practice efficient arm swings by holding the arms at a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Move the arm at the shoulder so the hand moves from the hip to the top of the shoulder. Move the arms back and forth as fast as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for ten seconds, and then repeat for eight rounds. Focus on moving the arms straight, and avoid side-to-side movement that reduces efficiency.

  2. Practice running sprints at maximal speed. Focus on stride rate, or the speed at which you take a stride with each leg, by taking each stride as quickly as possible. Repeat sprints of 50 to 100 meters for eight intervals, with a two-minute rest between each interval.

  3. Improve flexibility by performing dynamic range of motion exercises after every running workout. Stretch the major muscles in the leg, including the hamstring, quadriceps and hip flexors. Debbie Pitchford, a physical therapist, says, "Stretching is important, not only because it will make you a better runner, less likely to get injured, but it can also help you to maintain flexibility to do all the other activities in your life." Increased flexibility allows the muscles to move with less tension, which results in the ability to move the legs faster while running.

  4. Increase strength levels by strength training two to three times per week. Focus on compound lower body exercises such as the dead lift and squat. Increased strength can also increase power output while running, which results in the ability to move the legs through a greater range of motion in a shorter time frame.

    Tip

    Practice the technique drills and strength train for six weeks to see improvements in stride rate.

    Wear lightweight shoes that allow the least amount of drag while running.

    Warning

    Avoid overtraining by taking ample rest between workouts.

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About the Author

Based in Nebraska, Jeremy Hoefs began writing fitness, nutrition, outdoor and hunting articles in 2006. His articles have been published in "Star City Sports," "Hunting Fitness Magazine" and RutWear field journals, as well as on the Western Whitetail website. Hoefs graduated with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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