Posts Tagged ‘speed’

Pro athletes use plyometrics exercises to sharpen their motor skills, increase speed and power and improve their game performances. Plyometrics use high-intensity, fast movements to train your nerves and muscles to perform better. You don’t have to be a pro to benefit from the many rewards of plyometrics. You can improve your race times, get faster and stronger by incorporating some plyometrics for runners into your training plan.

Do the following exercises on a track or cushioned, flat surface at least twice a week to step up your running game:

Tuck jumps can improve your running efficiency.

  • Tuck jumps — Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and arms at your sides. Spring up to jump into the air, tucking your knees in toward your chest and bringing your arms out in front of your for balance. As you land, immediately jump back into the air. Repeat to do two sets of 15 tuck jumps.
  • Lunge jumps — Stand with your feet together and bring one foot forward, bending the knee to get into a lunge position. Your knee should be aligned with your ankle and not go past it and your back leg should be straight out behind you. Spring up into the air, pushing off both legs. Switch your legs in the air to bring your other leg forward and bent and bring the front leg back behind you to land in a lunge on the other side. As soon as you land, spring back up to switch legs again. Do two sets of 10 lunge jumps on each leg.
  • High knees — Stand with your feet slightly apart. Bring your arms out straight in front of you to help you balance. Spring one leg up toward your chest, bringing your knee up to touch your arm. As your foot lands, immediately push off with the other leg to bring the knee up to your hand. Repeat to do 25 high knees on each side.
  • Box jumps — Use a stable bench or wooden box for this exercise. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and spring up to jump onto the edge of the box. Step back down quickly and repeat. Do two sets of 15 box jumps.

MSRP: $59.00

Star rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Pros: Easy to use, extra motivation for runs

Cons: Limited display, durability concerns

Runner: Jason Crawford

The Nike+ SportBand comes in a variety of colors.

Runners are always looking for new ways to stay on the cutting edge and keep track of their mileage. The Nike+ SportBand is an attempt by Nike to attract runners who are looking to maintain a mileage log without breaking the bank. The Nike+ SportBand allows runners to track distance, time, pace and calories burned on their runs without having to rely on GPS technology or a smart phone.

The Nike+ SportBand comes out of the box ready to use and is especially easy to set up if you are using Nike+ ready running shoes. You simply place the sensor in your shoe in the handy pouch and put on the SportBand. Press “hold” – the large button on the face of the band – and the small screen will instruct you to begin walking. After a few strides, the monitor will give you the prompt to press the button again to run. While running, the SportBand defaults to total distance but the runner can easily switch the display to show time, pace or calories burned by pressing the button on the side. Upon completion of your run, you simply press and hold the top button again and your stats will flash across the screen.

Once the runner has returned to their home computer, the Nike+ easily connects to a USB port and data is uploaded to a personalized Nike running profile. The Nike+ site offers a fun, easy-to-use way to record your results and connect with other runners. The site can be very motivating for new runners. The Nike+ site tracks simple statistics such as longest run and fastest mile, as well as long-term goals. A novice runner could easily spend hours exploring the different training coach options community bulletin boards available at Nike running.

Overall, the Nike+ system offers an affordable way for runners to track mileage and goals. The system does leave much to be desired for the more experienced runner. The Nike+ system does not manage split times and the lack of a multi-line display forces the runner to toggle between screens if they want to track distance and total time or any of the other  combinations that a runner might be interested in. The system offers no backlighting, which makes training at night challenging. There are also no audio notifications for milestones – a beep notification on each mile completed would be useful. Calibration can also be a drawback, which can range from dead accurate and easy to calibrate to over a quarter mile off per mile and extremely difficult to lock in. Calibration and accuracy may vary greatly depending on several factors, which I have found to be the most frustrating part of owning a Nike+ system. Despite these issues, I found the Nike+ to be a reliable enough system, especially for new or developing runners. More advanced runners might want to look for a system that offers more of the detailed features that would compliment a serious training program.