Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Too Much Distance Running Will Decrease Your Speed

You have to train fast to get faster! Too much distance running will defeat your goal of improving your speed. When training for speed, distance running should be kept to a minimum because it reduces explosiveness. You can condition for your sport by doing metabolic training, which is training that closely mimics your game-time competition.

So, how should athletes in sports that require speed best do their cardio exercise? Remember this: cardio exercise doesn't have to be aerobic! Aerobic exercise is an activity that is done continuously for more than 2 straight minutes (like treadmill and biking).

Athletes should perform the majority of their cardio exercise using sprint intervals.

Sprint intervals work this way:

Sprint with maximum effort for 1 minute and walk or jog for 1 minute. Do this for 20 minutes. You could start by running on a flat surface and progress to inclines and stadium steps. This type of training needs to done at least 2 days a week. Strength and power (plyometrics) training would be done on the other days of the week.

A lower level of cardio intervals for athletes could be done this way:

Run at 75% of your maximum heart rate for 1 minute and then jog for 1 minute to recover. Complete this cycle for 20 minutes increasing the intensity each time up to 90%.

Intensity can also be increased by using an incline on the treadmill or increasing the resistance on the bike. You should vary your intervals each workout to keep your body guessing. This type of cardio exercise should be done 1 day a week.

The point is this: athletes need maximum explosiveness, speed and power! Leave the long distance work to milers and marathoners.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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