This content has been created in collaboration with New Balance.
Hitting the gym hard, but sprints always leave you looking less Sonic the Hedgehog and more, well, hedgehog? Don’t worry. Morphing your strength into speed is possible with a few simple tricks from sprint specialist and New Balance ambassador Richie Norton (aka @thestrengthtemple; we’re jealous of his name, too). Here are his top four training hacks to make you faster, faster.
Start as you mean to go on
When it comes to sprints, the first second is everything. And whether you’re starting from the blocks, a crouch or standing, there’s a simple trick to mastering the perfect start: put your best foot forward (literally) and drive it into the ground, says Richie. “Over the first 20 metres keep your body low, your back leg extended and your eyes down. That position will drive all the power out of your legs.”
Get up to speed
Once the first 20 metres has unravelled behind you, bring yourself upright over the next 10, says Richie. Once your head is up, boost your acceleration by staring as hard as you’re sprinting. According researchers at New York University, keeping your eyes fixed on an object in the distance – whether the finish line or your crowd of admirers – straightens your posture, increasing your run speed by a massive 23%.
Arm your legs
Legwork isn’t everything – fail to deploy your arms and your sprint will be stuck in neutral. However, synchronise both halves of your body and you’ll be up to top speed in 60m. “When your left leg is in front of your chest then your left arm needs to be at the peak of its movement too – and vice-versa. That way you’ll maximise your momentum with little effort.”
Manage your mindset
The most common sprinting error? “Getting caught up in anything that’s not your sprint,” says Richie. “You can fall short of your personal best simply by having too many doubts about your abilities.” It’s a big problem with an easy solution: visualisation. Picturing yourself running on top form prompts neurons in your brain to interpret this imagery as equivalent to a real-life action. This mental run-through primes your brain and your legs to perform the movement exactly as you imagined. PBs are born in the mind. It’s that easy.
New Balance Toughest Opponent is a story about the battles we have within ourselves. The niggling mind games that play out between our ears that make us question whether to run that extra mile, to lift that heavier weight, or to go forward and push harder, faster and stronger than we did the day before. Find out more at: http://www.newbalance.co.uk/ToughestOpponent.
You are your toughest opponent.