Every runner's stride is distinct, just as their bodies are. Finding the best stride length for running can help you run more efficiently, safely, and potentially quicker.
What Is Stride Length?
The term "stride" is thrown about a lot amongst runners, and it is the distance covered between the point where one foot first touches the ground and the next time that same foot does so (i).
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Stride Length In Running
Although it may not be something you've given much thought to, it turns out that stride length optimization is a hot topic amongst many runners and running instructors. The premise is that by improving your stride length, you will become more efficient at running and require less oxygen to maintain a desired running pace (ii). Simply explained, you will be able to run faster.
How To Improve Stride Length?
Longer stride length achieved through increased leg strength and flexibility are the biomechanical keys to a faster pace. Hill repeats, speedwork, weight training, and stretching are a few things you can do to improve your stride length. You might often ask yourself, ‘how to increase stride length without overstriding’? Overstriding, or extending the foot too far in front of the torso, is one of the most common errors made by runners. You may be doing this to improve your speed, but it could wear out your muscles and joints—and let's face it, running is already taxing enough. Excess back and forth movement is also caused by overstriding, which loses energy by bouncing up and down instead of moving forward..
Measuring Stride Length
Measuring your stride is quick and uncomplicated. All you'll need is a pedometer or a tape measure to get started! You may calculate your stride by walking a specific distance and dividing it by the number of steps you take.
Stretches To Increase Stride Length
Stretching the hips, glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps will help you to achieve maximal joint flexibility and as a result, maintain proper stride length. Static stretches should be done after an exercise and should be held for one to three sets of 30 seconds each. Dynamic stretches should be done before a workout and static stretches should be done after a workout.
Hips: The hip joint is both one of the strongest and the most prone to stiffness joints in the body. Many runners, particularly men, suffer from significant hip tightness, which not only lowers stride length but also puts them at risk of injury. Here's where the Iliopsoas Stretch comes in handy: Kneel on one knee, lean your upper body backward, and stretch the area between your back leg and front leg as far as possible.
Gluteal: The gluteal muscles are significantly more important than you might think in terms of contributing to running ability and stride length. They are the body's largest muscles, although they are frequently overlooked during stretching. The Pigeon Glute Stretch is the perfect stretch for this. By resting on your stomach and bending one leg up toward your stomach, you may stretch your glutes. Leaning forward and pressing down toward the floor will lengthen the stretch.
Calves: Maximize dorsiflexion, or the degree to which you can point your toe up to the sky while the front of your foot is pulled toward the lower leg, to lengthen your stride. The foot can also strike the ground in a more efficient posture with maximum dorsiflexion. The wall stretches, which targets the calves, can be used to promote dorsiflexion. Place one foot behind the other and face a wall. Extend your back leg while pushing against the wall.
Hamstrings: The hamstrings, which regulate stride length in the most direct way, are particularly prone to stiffness, especially in male runners. The standing hamstring stretch stretches the hamstrings while also improving dorsiflexion. To begin, place one leg in front of the other. Place your weight on the front leg and bend the back knee slightly. Keep your front leg straight and your hips as far forward as possible.
Quadriceps: The quadriceps are an opposing muscle to the hamstrings and play a less direct effect in stride length. Quadriceps tightness might inhibit rearward knee extension during the running phase, resulting in a cloddy, breaking impact. Perform the standard quadriceps stretch to prevent this from happening. Pull your ankle behind your knee and toward your buttocks from a standing position. Pull your ankle up to the front of your leg until you feel a stretch.
Plyometric Exercises: Plyometrics is a type of exercise training that focuses on increasing muscle power by varying the pace and force of various exercises. Plyometrics training can help you enhance your physical performance and ability to do a variety of tasks. Pushups, throwing, running, jumping, and kicking are just a few examples of plyometric workouts. Plyometrics are commonly used by athletes as one of the many drills to improve stride length, although these routines may be done by anyone. A series of jumps and hops, such as jump squats or one-leg hops, will be performed. You could jump up onto a box or bench, or you could jump over cones. Some actions will be more rapid than others.
The Best Way To Recover Legs After Running
Do you find yourself asking the question of why do legs hurt after running? From time to time, all runners feel foot and leg soreness after running. The following are some of the recommended home remedies for leg pain after running.
Muscle Recovery Tools: Do your calves hurt after running or do you suffer sore muscles from running? The SPRYNG active calf compression wraps enhance blood circulation, which helps to relieve pain from weary muscles. The SPRYNG compression tool can help your body recover faster by reducing edema produced by muscle strain.
Stretch Properly: After a run, take your time with leg recovery and do not rush home. Stretch your muscles to allow the lactic acids that have built up in your muscles to be drained into your bloodstream.
Hydrate: To replace the fluids lost during the run and to kickstart leg recovery after running, hydration is essential. This would help prevent those dreadful leg cramps that occur late at night after a long run.
Elevate Your Legs: The best way to recover legs after running is by elevating the legs. This will aid recovery by promoting blood flow in the lower body and reducing blood pooling. Place your legs against a wall and try to stay there for 5 minutes for every hour you have been running.
Rest: Rest is important for muscle regeneration and is the best way to recover after leg day. These two are major contributors to the body's overall healing. When you sleep, muscle-building hormones are released, which are important for muscle repair throughout training.
It can be said that stride length can impact the way you train, your overall running stamina, and your end running goals. While this is a good start in bettering yourself for the future, it is also important to consider the aspect of proper recovery. This ensures that you are fit for the next day of training and improve your overall fitness in the long-run.