After working out my strides per minute (spm) yesterday, I now need to see what has to be tweaked to improve my performance.
My 194 spm appears to be in the right range (180-200) so that means that to increase my speed over the distance I have to increase the length of each stride.
While I was running it occurred to me that there are two ways to achieve this:
1) strengthen the backward push as that is what propels you along and would increase your stride length, or
2) increase the length of each stride with foot placement.
In reality it is probably a combination of both of these that is required. I am very wary of over striding or changing my foot position such that I over reach. Therefore, I think my initial focus will be on building the backwards push. I shall try to identify some exercises to build the muscles required for this and focus on it while running.
Now for some mathematics. I calculated my stride length as 1.10 meters assuming a pace of around 7.5 minutes/mile. This is: meters in a mile / (strides per minute * pace) = 1609.334 / (194 * 7.5)
For me to be able to run a seven minute mile, then the calculation runs like this: 1609.334 / (194 * 7.0) = 1.185 meters.
Therefore, I only need to increase the stride by 8.5 centimetres or approximately 7% as long as I maintain my strides per minute cadence. This doesn’t sound like much of an increase.
It was only while I was running today that I thought of this so partway through I started trying to push backwards harder to see what result that gave. My average pace was 7:20 for this run which is an improvement over the other runs this last week.
Now I find myself entering the second week of running with these different techniques. When I started out my pace was 8:11 and now it is around 7:20. That’s quite an improvement. This is however over a short distance and could still be improved.
Plenty more to be done but I’m happy with the start.