5 Ways to Run Like an Olympian
You've watched the Olympians from Team USA shatter world records in London, but how exactly can you build that kind of gold-medal speed?
Follow the lead of Tyson Gay, a world champion sprinter and Olympian in the 100m. Here are the five principles that led Gay to London—and will lead you to faster feet.
1. Perfect Your Form
Running fast goes hand in hand with good sprinting form. Your move: Run with tall posture by keeping your back straight and shoulders relaxed. As for your arm movements, always practice the following phrase: “Past the pocket, to the nose.” That means you need to make sure you’re pumping your arms, driving them from up near your lips to down by your hips, Gay says.
2. Open Your Stride
Before you even hit the track, focus on building strong glutes and thighs. “This is where all the power comes from,” says Gay. Start by incorporating barbell deadlifts, hip raises, and barbell stepups into your routine to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings. To see how to master each move, check out musclemorphosis.com.
3. Train for Speed
To train like the pros, work these three lower body-strengthening drills into your fitness regimen.
- Sprint stadium stairs: Starting at the bottom, run up the flight of stairs fast enough to get your heart pumping. On the way down, take an easier pace for recovery. Once you reach the bottom, start again. Repeat this cycle for 20 minutes.
- High knee drills: Drive your right knee up toward your chest, and then quickly toward the ground. Repeat on your left side.
- Explosive box jumps: Position yourself in front of a box with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees. Then, using both feet, jump up off the ground and on to the box.
4. Capitalize on Core Strength
In track, a strong core is your secret weapon. Not only do rock-hard abs keep your form in check, they play a significant role in how high you can lift your knees and how rapidly you can turn over your stride. “It’s all about keeping that stability, and a tight stomach is vital for that,” says Gay. Aim to train your core at least three times a week, and make sure not to skip out on strengthening your oblique muscles.
Your go-to oblique-builder: The Swiss-ball oblique crunch. Facing up, lie on a Swiss ball with the ball supporting your lower back and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and keep your elbows flared outward. Raise your body up and move your right elbow toward your left knee. Repeat on the other side.
5. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
A rookie mistake: Losing focus by looking to the side to watch other runners. Scoping the competition doesn't just break you mentally—it throws off your form, too. Instead, pick a point straight ahead of you, lock your gaze, and power toward it. “I keep my eye on the finish line,” says Gay. “And once I pick that point, that’s where my eyes stay, because it keeps me upright.” (Want more fitness secrets delivered to your inbox every week? Sign up for musclemorphosis.com.)
Follow Tyson Gay on Twitter at musclemorphosis.com, and tune in to NBC to see him compete in the 100m prelims on August 4 at 10 a.m. local time.
UPDATE: Tyson takes first in his heat with a time of 10.08. Tune in Sunday, August 5 to catch him in the semifinals.
If you liked this story, you’ll love: