It’s time to mix things up a bit in your running workouts as you near the end of your 500 mile base training. In a previous post, I discussed the value of tempo training for runners of every fitness level. In today’s post, I would like to introduce you to another tool for your running toolbox: strides. By definition, strides are short bursts of swift running usually held for 60 to 100 meters. Strides are valuable for runners who want to improve or promote better running form while also engaging fast twitch muscle fibers. Also known as pick-ups, strides can be interspersed into any of your conversational pace training runs. Perform 3-5 strides after your initial warm-up; divide your each stride into thirds (first 10-20 meters at conversational pace; increase speed and intensity over the next 20-60 meters; slowly decelerate to conversational pace for the last 10-20 meters). If you are not sure what 100 meters looks or feels like, go to the nearest running track a jog the straight sections. These sections are roughly 100 meters long. So one stride (divided into three parts) would last as long as that straight section of track (give or take several meters). Once you have a feeling for how long 100 meters is, you can add strides to your next easy run. Practice these once or twice a week and you will surely build your strength, stamina and speed! Want to read more about strides? Go to this article from Runner’s World.