How to Increase Running Stride Length

Trail running on the mountains
An athlete running up a path on an incline. (Image: giorgio1978/iStock/Getty Images)

A majority of runners all have one goal: to run as fast as possible. In order to achieve this, runners must increase the number of steps they are able to take in one minute -- stride rate -- and the distance covered with each stepthey run -- stride length. Stride rate and stride length are directly related to each other and are imperative to increased speed as a runner. While some individuals naturally run faster than others, there are steps you can take in order to increase your running stride length.

Step 1

Count your stride rate. Use a stopwatch to determine the number of steps you take in 60 seconds. The average runner can complete around 80 steps per minute. A world-class runner can complete around 180 steps per minute. This will give you an idea of how fast you can currently run.

Step 2

Participate in strength-training exercises. Strength training will help to add muscle and increase the power exerted by your legs. Stronger legs means an increase in your running speed. Complete squats, calf raises, leg extensions, hamstring stretches, gluteal sets and quadriceps stretches. You can also hop on one leg in order to build strength and coordination in your lower extremities: your feet, ankles, calves, thighs, shins and hips.

Step 3

Run on hills or on an inclined treadmill. Running on hills causes you to exaggerate the movement of your knees and arms as you run. This can cause an increase in strength as well as an increase in your ability to stride farther.

Step 4

Run using proper foot mechanics. Think of a line dividing your body down the center. Your feet should never cross this line as you run. If your feet are crossing in front of each other, you are likely to be wasting time and energy running in a sideways motion instead of propelling yourself directly forward.

Step 5

Videotape your running. Videotaping your running can allow you to see if you are running using proper form.

Step 6

Make a conscious effort to increase your stride length as you run. Keep track of the distances you run as well as how quickly it takes you to reach these distances. This will provide you with an indication of an increase in your stride length.

Things You'll Need

  • Running shoes

  • Stopwatch

Tip

Always warm up prior to running. Warming up can help to loosen your muscles, joints and ligaments, which can help to reduce your risk of developing an injury while running.

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