Running question


I can’t do it. Jogging I can do, but I hate it, hate it, hate it.

However, I play softball, and I’m required to run 60 ft at a time when I play, minimum. And I can’t run fast! Some of the ladies I’ve seen around our softball league are very fast on their feet, and I’m always in awe.

So I have a question for you fellow dopers. (Mods, I thought about posting this in GD, but thought it might not have a straight answer.) How can I learn to run faster? It’s obvious to me that some people have a natural ability to run more quickly than others. I’m not looking to be a superstar track runner, I just want to get around the bases more quickly.

Any advise?


When you jog, do sprint intervals. jog for a while, then sprint for 1 minute, jog for about 3 minutes, then sprint for 1, repeat about 10 times.

sprinting is the best way to improve your sprinting. weight lifting (squats, lunges, etc.) helps, stretching and becoming more flexible helps, but mostly you gotta sprint.

If that’s too dull, try finding a local soccer game you can join, or better yet: Ultimate. It’s more fun, less pressure, a really cool game played by cool people.

Practice, I think. At one ponit in my life I couldn’t run at all, I made it once around the track before collapsing in a puffing heap. But I joined the rugby team and had a good reason to run for long distances (for some reason it was fun for me, at age 15, to run around in circles in the rain at 7:00 in the morning) and since then it hasn’t been a problem, I can run if I need to.

Also stretch a lot. If I don’t do yoga for a while I find I’m not as good at other athletic things.

Total guess here, but I think speed has something to do with your fast twitch muscles. If you do bursts, you may get them to fire up faster over time.

I’m a pretty serious runner, so I think I can help out.

Unless you want to lose weight, I wouldn’t run long distances. It won’t help your overall speed much. Long distance running will make you more efficient, and enough of it will absolutely melt off pounds, but otherwise it won’t help you lose weight.

You need to warm up first, for me that would be at least a mile, but you don’t need more than 10 minutes. Walk some, if you can’t run for 10 minutes. During the 10 minutes, gradually pick up speed.

Then do “strides”. Strides consist of slow starting, gradual finishing sprints. You start and stop slowly mostly to prevent injury. At first, just do 4 of them, where your sprint - including the start and finish - takes about 10 seconds. Take as much time as you need to catch your breath between sprints, but not so long your legs get heavy. These are best done on grass, so perhaps go to your field. Gradually push that to 15 seconds. Then increase the number. Cool down with another 10 minute “jog”. Strides help with footspeed, but concentrate more on form than speed. Proper form is running like Michael Johnson - erect, arms pumping, but relax that which you are not actively doing. Your arm motion (frequency) determines your footspeed. Pretend you are driving an icepick into an icewall behind your butt as you run.

You can do strides every day of the week, and they are a good distance for baseball or softball. You can do track workouts once or twice a week. I wouldn’t think you need to run more than 100’s and 200’s. The best thing to do is find a running shoe and find out when they do a speed workout. There are bound to be people of your speed, whatever it is.

Good luck. And Godspeed. (I always wanted to be able to say that!)

I think Jaade is asking not about how to run further, but faster. The key, Jaade, is to remember what running is. It’s not propelling yourself over ground, which many people seem to think. As a result, they pump their legs faster, but don’t really increase their speed.

Running is simply a controlled form of falling. Lean forward far enough, and you’ll need to take a step or fall over. Take steps at that angle, and lean a little farther, and you’re jogging. A little more, and you’re running. Simple stuff, move you’re legs, or fall on your face. :slight_smile:

So, to get faster, you need to figure out the best way for you to get the best “lean” out of your body. Practice makes perfect, and by running more, you’ll eventually get a knack for what angle you need to be at, with no thought at all about it.

On a more conscious level, simply forcing yourself to lean your upper body forward can have dramatic effects on your speed. Try this on your own at first, nothing worse than falling in from of the team. It will probably take you a dozen sprints to find your limit.

The way to increase this speed is to strengthen the muscles that keep you from falling. Find a good sized, fairly steep hill, and run up it a few times. The muscles that burn/ache afterwards are the ones you want to focus on strengthening if you have access to a weight room. Then, it’s just a matter of continuously improving yourself.

Another (obvous) thing to do is lengthen your stride. The problem is, most people lengthen their strides without leaning forward properly, which means their legs are doing all of the locomotion. To be as fast as possible, you need to use your legs just enough to keep you from falling down. Large steps, combined with powerful legs and a good body angle may not make you an world record holder, but understanding the mechanics of it will keep you ahead of your teammates.