Acceleration is defined as increasing speed over a short period of time. As a runner acceleration is very important. You need it when starting, when picking up the pace throughout and at the end of a race.
The ability to accelerate is connected to the level of strength and power for that individual. A training technique that works fantastic to train each of these aspects is plyometrics. Drills that focus on speed and power should be used to improve acceleration. Check out the following drill categories to address speed, power and acceleration.
The following program is for athletes who have a base strength and conditioning background. If these drills and type of training are new to you then ease into them over a few weeks. You will be sore the next few days so perform them on a hard workout day and the following 2 days should be active rest or an easy day. Perform these exercises at the start of your workout before neuromuscular fatigue occurs.
Use each technique, run 10-30 meters & repeat as a circuit 2-5 times. Rest 2 minutes before next exercise.
Easy: 2 sets
Advanced: 5 sets
Mountain Climbers - Perform 4 mountain climbers, quickly stand & take off running
Pushups - Perform 3 pushups, quickly stand & take off running
Falling Start - Pick up one foot, lean forward as if to fall forward & take off running
Triple Jumps - Perform three hops forward with both feet together & take off running
Run up & down stairs or bleachers with each technique & repeat as a circuit 3 times. Rest 2 minutes before next exercise.
Easy: Don’t perform the single leg hops
Advanced: Perform the single leg hops. Hop down instead of running down.
Run Every Step – 1 foot on each step, run down
Run Every Step – 2 feet on each step, run down
Run Every Other Step – 1 foot, alternating, on every other step, run down
Single Leg Hops Every Step – Switch half way up to other foot, run down
Easy: Perform for 20 second intervals. Repeat 3 times.
Advanced: Perform 30 second intervals. Repeat 5 times.
Rest 2 minutes before next exercise.
Stand facing a wall with hands placed on the wall shoulder width a part. Take a few steps backwards so your body is at a 45 degree angle from the wall. Pick up one foot and quickly cycle feet pickups. Go as fast as possible.
Run up & walk down a 10-30 meter hill. Rest 2 minutes before next exercise.
Easy: Perform 2-3 repeats
Advanced: Perform 4-6 repeats
Focus on acceleration up the hill. Swing arms at sides to increase the quickness foot turn over.
These acceleration drills should result in quicker run times that are noticeable after 3-6 weeks of performing them 1-3 times a week.