Runners know that speed is key to performance. But often, they aren’t directly targeting speed development. How can long distance runners train to get faster?
Many adaptations are necessary to develop speed. Running the same loop at the same intensity for months on end may make you slightly faster, as your mechanics improve. However, far greater gains can be made with strategic warm-ups, workouts, and training plans.
Now, for the athlete who is regularly showing up, staying healthy, and pushing themselves to improve, there are many angles they can tackle speed from:
- Proper warm-ups to prepare the body for efficient movement
- Strategically planned variety over the course of a training cycle
- Workouts that gradually enable neuromuscular adaptations
For a deep dive on speed training, you can explore the articles below:
- Speed Training 101
- ‘Performance Multipliers’ For Strength and Speed
- Maximize Your Speed by Planning Long Term
- Hill Workouts for Strength, Speed, and Injury Prevention
There’s no shortage of speed discussions here, not to mention the numerous podcasts that have covered the topic as well.
Today’s guest has a unique approach to developing speed in his athletes. He looks at progression holistically over the course of weeks, months, and years. He also provides a glimpse at young athletes and what adults runners can learn from them.
Ryan Banta Knows How to Develop Speed
Ryan Banta is a coach with more than 19 years of experience and the author of the Sprinter’s Compendium. At the high school level, Ryan has produced 135 All-State medalists, including 10 state champions and 15 runners-up. His teams have won 12 district championships and 5 top five state finishes in the last nine seasons.
He has been elected Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (MTCCCA) president and served on the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) advisory board.
Ryan lives in the world of athletes and we start out the conversation talking about the elementary and middle school age groups. How can we, as parents, help to develop their love for, consistency with, and improvements in running? Keep sports fun through a variety of activites!
That’s right – more sports and different types of movements early on is advantageous for them. They are more likely to stay active and that, as Ryan says, is the most important aspect.
In this podcast, we also discuss:
- Prevention of sprinting-related injuries
- Common training errors in pursuit of speed
- Mechanics of maximum velocity running
In the spirit of this year’s Take Action theme, we leave off with a number of actionable steps that any runner can take. Hear the full episode below.
Show Links & Resources:
- Connect with Ryan on Twitter
- Check out his videos on YouTube
- Books mentioned by Ryan
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