(KUTV) In nearly every sport, it helps to be fast. However, improving your running speed isn’t always easy. Many people think running is a natural movement, but there is a lot more to it.
“There’s a reason fast runners, elite distance runners, it looks so easy for them. It’s because they’re very skilled at it,” says Dr. Jim Walker, Sports Science Director at TOSH.
To improve the skill of running, experts at TOSH first look at what an athlete is doing wrong.
“When you move correctly, you reduce your injury risk and you also reduce the energy cost of moving. If you’re doing it right, it’s easier,” says Dr. Walker.
They look at food placement, stride length, and turnover rate. With that information they make adjustments and ensure athletes are running as efficiently as possible. From there they are able to add in condition and power to the movement.
Former high school and college athlete Erik Walker used this program to set him apart from other athletes.
“I won two state championships in the 100m in high school at the 3A level,” says Erik.
He also ran the 40m dash in 4.36 seconds during high school and played football at Weber State University. As a multi-sport athlete, Erik began building a solid foundation at a young age.
“I think I started really training at about 13 years old,” says Erik.
Erik’s training focused on his explosiveness, opening up his stride, and covering more ground with each step. He also worked a lot on keeping his upper body relaxed while running.
“You’re moving, jumping, changing direction, trying to be fast is really what it focuses on,” says Erik.
Practicing fundamentals helps athletes year-round; but off-season training makes the biggest difference.
“It’s really important to take some time off from your primary sport and go back and work on your athleticism, both from a performance standpoint and from an injury risk reduction standpoint,” says Dr. Walker.