I’ve said this a million times here before…but strides are so important, especially in the summer when you are building your base for Cross Country! Most people who follow my website are in the high school or college cross country and track world and so right now is the time of year where your athletes are BUILDING THEIR BASE!
The #1 goal of the summer should be to get fit AEROBICALLY. The goal is to build your miles; to build the foundation for the upcoming season (and year?) and you do this with LOTS of easy miles. At some point you’ll start running some higher intensity runs (progression runs, tempo runs, threshold repeats, etc.)…but there is a lot of easy running, at least when it is compared to race pace running, right?
So, in order to run fast you have to practice running fast, right? YES.
The best and safest way to do that in the summer is by implementing strides throughout the week. I’m a big fan of doing strides twice per week in the summer…and at some point, for me and my teams, one set of those strides becomes 200 meter reps. I view these sessions as an opportunity to release and to practice running fast with good form and good efficiency. The best practice you can do for running fast is during these brief reps of 15-20 seconds where you are fully focused on good form, good mechanics, and running fast.
Like mileage in the summer sets the foundation of aerobic fitness for the season…strides in the summer sets the foundation for faster paced running for the season.
You want to run faster? You want to stay healthier? You want to keep the summer running fun?
Do not neglect the strides!