Myth vs. Reality
Here are some common myths or misconceptions about sprinting that I would like to clear up.
Myth #1: People are born fast, if not tough luck.
Reality: Genetics determines your predisposition for speed. Speed is a skill that can be acquired, anyone can get faster.
Myth # 2: Distance running will make you faster.
Reality: Distance running will not make you faster it will only condition you, Unless coupled with sprints you run the risk of losing sprint form and developing bad habits and mechanics.
Myth # 3: The more weights you lift the faster you will be.
Reality: Weights will help develop strength and stamina that can be transferred into some speed, but lifting to get bigger will only slow you down. Weight training should be secondary to your track work.
Myth # 4: Short choppy steps are the best way to start.
Reality: Short, choppy steps will make you look fast, but you'll be going nowhere. Strides should be quick and powerful, meaning fast but also achieving good ground coverage.
Myth # 5: Run on your tiptoes
Reality: Running on the tiptoes does not allow for a solid foot plant and push -off, staying on the toes is too unstable. You sprint on the balls of your feet.
Myth # 6: If you go out and run wind sprints you will become faster.
Reality: Wind sprints are good for conditioning, not developing speed.
Myth # 7: A heavier training load is better than a lighter one.
Reality: More is not better in sprint training. Recovery is a big component of your sprint development. Every workout does not have to end with you being wiped out.
Myth # 8: Downhill running is good overspeed training.
Reality: Elite athletes who have a mastery of sprint form and technique should only do downhill running. Injuries and improper mechanics can result in the inexperienced runner.
Myth # 9: Doing lots of drills is helpful
Reality: Drills are good, but most athletes do them incorrectly. Pick 2-3 drills and focus on doing them correctly and you will be fine.
Myth #10: The tighter and lighter the shoes the better.
Reality: Pick shoes that are light but comfortable, the foot needs to expand when it strikes the ground if a shoe is too tight you risk injuries (shin splints, stress fractures) and reduce the amount of response (quickness) and push-off (pop, power) you can produce.
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