After an interval workout on Saturday, a distance run on Sunday, and a recovery day on Monday, I promised my 8 year old son a “surprise” during our workout today. While I ran Saturday and Sunday in my New Balance 100, today I put my NB 859 back on.
We ran about 3 miles on the trails today, comfortable pace, and arrived at the high school track. My son looked at me: “Dad, are we doing quarters?” I described that we would be taking off our shoes and socks, and running 8×100 meter strides barefoot on the infield grass. Although he had never run strides before, he was excited and ready to go!
Strides are an important training component for middle and long distance runners, but often overlooked. We ran 8×100 meter strides (length of football field) at a comfortable sprint, but strides can be done from 50-200 meters. Strides are best done after a medium or recovery run, so that they can be completed with good running form and speed. Strides improve leg speed, leg turnover and therefore coordination and flexibility, and running economy (running fast yet relaxed with good form and posture). Doing them barefoot helps to strengthen and improve flexibility of feet, ankles and legs. I was able to “sprint” alongside my 8 year old son and “coach” him on his form.
We put our socks and shoes back on (my son noticed his green foot soles from the freshly mowed grass), and headed back home for a Gatorade and shower. He told his Mom that it was a “most special workout.”