You’ve Got to ‘Stride’ Before You Can ‘Sprint’

I have not only enjoyed practicing with APS student athletes including football players, cross-country runners and cheerleaders, but I have embarked on a training regimen in preparation for the East Atlanta Village (EAV) Runfest.

Team APS!

Team APS!

About 100 of my fellow APS co-workers responded to a training challenge earlier this month. Now we generally meet every Monday and Thursday and at 8:30 a.m. Saturday for practice. Our schedule is below.

Just as we are targeted and deliberate in our strategies to prepare students for college and career, we have done so with our training. John Keltz, our director of research and evaluation, is not only a master with numbers and statistics; he apparently understands process and has developed a fitness routine designed for maximum effect leading up to the EAV Runfest. As a former triathlete, he is making his comeback through our APS run challenge.

I really wanted to be a better and consistent runner. Here is what John suggested:

Cadence – A good way to work on this is focus on cadence- number of steps per minute. Time your number of steps in 15 seconds of running normally. 45 is usually cited as ideal (180 per minute). If you’re below 45, don’t try to get there right away- go from 36 to 38 for example and work on that for a week. You can do this by shortening your stride.

Short strides have a few benefits- they usually help you land your foot in the right place (not too far in front), prevent non-forward motion, and are more efficient. (Similarly, beginner cyclists usually have a cadence that is too low and should spin in a higher gear.)

Striders – Most people’s running form improves when they run fast (but not a full sprint, and not while exhausted). Practice running fast with good form can improve your form generally. One workout a week for the next couple weeks, you can do one lap of warm-up, then run fast on the straights and walk on the curves for three laps, then one cool-down lap. Don’t sprint the straights, but run a speed that is fun and comfortable, and that you can mostly recover from by the time you finish walking the curves.

Doing some variable speed work can also help if you think you’re plateauing. Mixing up your training helps challenge your body to improve.

Balance Drills – While he didn’t think this would be a priority for me, John thought it might be fun to build these into our after-run routine. These usually involve standing on one foot and swinging the other leg around to throw off your balance. Balance drills help strengthen our small balance muscles and help us keep good form while running.

Date Time Location
Thursday, August 27, 2015 7:30 pm Piedmont Park
Saturday, August 29, 2015 8:30 am Piedmont Park
Monday, August 31, 2015 7:00 pm Piedmont Park
Thursday, September 3, 2015 7:00 pm Piedmont Park
Saturday, September 5, 2015 – Optional 8:30 am Piedmont Park
Monday, September 7, 2015 – No training Scheduled (Labor Day) Chill all day Be with your family
Thursday, September 10, 2015 7:00 pm Piedmont Park
Saturday, September 12, 2015

(First 5K day)

8:30 am Piedmont Park
Monday, September 14, 2015 7:00 pm Piedmont Park
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 7:00 pm Piedmont Park
Saturday, September 19, 2015

(Second 5K day)

8:30 am Will change location because Piedmont Park is being used for Music Midtown
Monday, September 21, 2015 7:00 pm Piedmont Park
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 7:00 pm Piedmont Park
Saturday, September 26, 2015 8:00 am Village Fitness –

1231 Glenwood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316

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