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4 exercises to improve your sprint speed

SEP 8, 2023

Minute 1: Even long-distance runners should do speed work

When it comes to a runner’s top speed, the old adage of “use it or lose it” rings true. You can’t expect to get faster without actually running fast. A lot of coaches say that increasing your top speed can be beneficial for short and long distance runners alike. To learn why, take a look at: “Why Speed Training Matters (Even if You’re an Ultrarunner).” The author defines speedwork as any running that’s done at your mile race pace or faster. There’s an important distinction, however, between fast running and hard running. You can train speed by running fast for very short periods of time, avoiding excessive burnout and injury that may otherwise hinder your endurance training. With that in mind, you can think of speed work as the “cherry on top” of the sundae that is your training routine. If you’re looking for a way to reach fast speeds without overloading your schedule, strides could be the way to go: “Learn How to Run Strides and Become a Better Runner.” When you run strides properly, you should only be at or near your top speed for a few seconds at a time. They can even be part of your warmup or cooldown, and could be paired with strength training: “These 4 Exercises Will Help Improve Your Sprint Speed.” Deadlifts, kettlebell swings, lunges, and plyometric push presses can develop the explosivity and elasticity of the muscles in tendons in your legs; exactly what you need to reach higher speeds on the track.

Minute 2: Can this Japanese tradition unlock your best self?

If you’re in search of a fresh start and a year full of accomplishment, the Japanese ritual known as Misogi could be just what you need. That’s what NBA 3-point shooting legend Kyle Korver thinks, because he credits some of his success to the annual cleansing tradition that you can learn about in “Longevity Lessons From Japan’s Yearly ‘Misogi’ Ritual.” We should clarify, the way Korver and other endurance athletes tend to use the term is a bit removed from its traditional roots. In Shinto culture, Misogi is a purification ritual involving a pilgrimage to a sacred waterfall, lake, or river. To see what that entails, you can watch “Misogi, Traditional Japanese Ritual | FCA Life in Fukui #17.” Nowadays, the term has been westernized, denoting an annual challenge that tests your physical abilities. In Krover’s case, that meant doing a 30-mile paddleboard adventure, or a 5K run on the ocean floor (with surfacing breaks, of course). Misogi isn't the only practice worth borrowing from Eastern culture, and you may remember our coverage of rajio taisō from Minute 2 of this issue. Rajio taisō is a form of morning calisthenics that’s publicly broadcast every morning in Japan, and it's part of a larger habit of weaving physical fitness into a daily routine that’s so popular among Japanese adults. For more on that, take a look at “How Japanese People Stay Fit for Life, Without Ever Visiting a Gym.”

Minute 3: Apples are in season, and they’ve got a lot of benefits

In our last issue, we were falling in love with classic autumn food like pumpkin. Well, that’s not the only superfood coming into season, according to: “Health Benefits of Apples.” Apples, especially unpeeled, are high in polyphenols and fiber. That’s good news for anyone looking to lower their risk of heart disease, improve digestion, support weight management, and more. Apples have plenty of carbohydrates in them as well, which makes them perfect for a pre- or post-workout snack. Carbohydrate replenishment is one of the key components of a balanced recovery diet, according to: “Exactly What to Eat for Muscle Recovery, According to a Dietitian.” In addition to carbs, you’ll want to get plenty of protein, electrolytes, calcium, and vitamin D. Endurance athletes should also be sure to replenish the fat they’ve burned on longer outings, since it's the longest lasting source of energy our body can use. If you want a helpful reminder of why you should add all types of food into your diet, take a look at this video from @stephgrassodietitian. Her approach focuses on the benefit each kind of food can add to your life, even if it’s considered a traditionally “unhealthy” option, which can work well for folks who find restrictive dieting to be a losing battle.

Minute 4: Gear Review: Method Seven Silverton Sunglasses ($175)

Brian Metzler is saying au revoir to Chamonix, but before hitting the road, he did some test drives with a new pair of high performance eyewear built for runners – the Method Seven Silverton sunglasses. While Brian spends most of his professional time critiquing running shoes, he was so blown away by these glasses that he decided to do a full review. In terms of bang for the buck, we love our goodr sunglasses, but for high performance and durability, we are going to pick up a pair of these Silvertons. The highlights of Brian’s latest review are below, but you can find the full version on our website.

When it comes to running shades, I’ve typically found Kaenon, Maui Jim, Adidas Eyewear and Julbo to have some of the best lenses for running. After testing two of their models, Method Seven is definitely in that best-in-class category, too.

Method Seven’s lightweight and extremely durable TRAIL26 polycarbonate lenses are more sophisticated than most brands, featuring anti-fog, anti-scratch and hydrophobic coatings and trail-optimized partial polarization and a VLT (visible light transmission) of 26%, which allows for more light and more contrast while still shading your eyes from the glare and vibrancy of the sun. It uses a development process called “notch filtering,” which utilizes rare earth elements bonded in crystal with advanced coatings and polymers that block the light you don’t need and enhance the light you do.

That sounds both complicated and otherworldly, but from my point of view the proof is in the performance. I wore a pair of Silverton shades while running a variety of technical singletrack trails in Chamonix, France, last week. The lenses offered clear, uninhibited optics as I negotiated rocky, uneven surfaces in a range of light conditions at all times of the day. The high-contrast lenses really enhanced obstacles on the trail – rocks, roots, tufts of grass, gravel, etc. – so I could see them better. Ultimately, they created the best-case scenario in which I put on my sunglasses and forgot about them, no matter if the sun was out or if it happened to be a moment of overcast or cloudy skies.

For Brian’s full review of the new Method Seven Silverton sunglasses, check it out here.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • We are very excited to announce a new partnership with a longtime friend of Six Minute Mile who publishes the excellent Running With Music blog. Rebecca Trachsel (aka Coach Trax to her high school cross country athletes) is the veteran of 30 marathons with a PR of 2:58:26 that she hit in her late 40s. (There’s hope for all of us!!!) In addition to running, Rebecca’s other obsession is music and she has an excellent ear. She is the friend you turn to when you are bored with your playlists and need a suggestion. Trax will be sharing a song each week that she feels is worth your time to know about. She’ll pick gems from all genres; songs that you might like to run to, dance to, cook to or do whatever it is you do with music. Her first selection is “The Streets” by Double Vision, a band that is composed of the duo Aleesha Dibbs & Billy Wright from Sydney, Australia. It’s got an old school, mellow vibe with electric undertones. The intro is slow and spacey before upping the pace when the vocals kick in. You can check it out on Spotify here.

  • We’re proud to belong to the running community, which overall, is a place of immense respect and sportsmanship. Like any competitive sport, though, there are moments where liberties are taken for a competitive edge. We hope that issues like that remain small-scale and isolated, but that sure wasn’t the case at this year’s Mexico City Marathon. A whopping “11,000 runners DQ'd from Mexico City Marathon, per report.” Some offenders simply missed checkpoints, while others are accused of using vehicles to cut part of the course.

  • There’s a lot to love about Peloton equipment, but the price tag can be a challenge for those of us who are mere mortals, financially. You get what you pay for, however, and the products sure do offer a premium experience. For some buyers, going with a used option could give you the best of both worlds, and if you need help picking out a second hand purchase, here is: “What to Consider Before Buying a Used Peloton.”

  • Going to your first group fitness class can be a little overwhelming, which is why it’s so important you’ve got an instructor who can meet your needs. Someone who practices proper safety precautions, modifies the workload to your ability, and offers healthy motivation. If you’re unsure about how to find the right trainer, you should watch out for these “3 Fitness Class Red Flags You Should Never Ignore.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

As we have mentioned a few times, our favorite shoe reviewer, Brian Metzler, has been hanging out in the French alps for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. Brian was not only on hand for this year’s historic triumph by Courtney Dauwalter as she won the 106-mile race with 33,000 feet of elevation gain, but he also captured some spine-tingling video. Dauwalter finished the race in under 24 hours, completing an incredible triple play of winning UTMB, the Western States 100 and the Hard Rock 100 in one summer. That’s never been done before. Check out Brian’s excellent video of the packed crowds going bananas as Dauwalter smiled and high-fived her way to the scenic finish line.


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