Neuromuscular Run Training

About 3 weeks ago I had a small epiphany. I thought about neuromuscular training for the bike and the workouts I do to make my cycling better. I thought to myself, “isn’t there neuromuscular run training?”
I suppose there are things we have done on the track, like strides, skipping, high knee running and the such. But one thing I really wanted to work on was speed this year and felt that there was one area which I hadn’t done much of, which was leg turnover and getting used to running fast.
So I hopped on the treadmill and did a warmup, and then proceeded to do 30 seconds run/30 seconds rest while increasing the MPH to 12 MPH. Man that was hard! The first time I reached 12 MPH (the max of my treadmill) I could only keep that up for about 15 seconds! The second time I tried this, I managed two intervals of about 20 seconds (takes 10 seconds for the treadmill to reach 12 MPH) and each time I reached and blew through my LT in that short amount of time.
I realized that this was good. I was training my body to relax and move at that speed. My body and leg turnover were being stressed and forced to maintain that rate by the relentless nature of the treadmill. There is no way to not keep it up; otherwise you’ll fly off the back of the treadmill! This can’t be repeated effectively outside because you’ll always naturally slow down when you get tired.
I told my PT person about this and he related to me that at San Jose State, they do this kind of training all the time. They actually use a cord around the waist to tie someone to the front bar of the treadmill so that it helps keep them on the treadmill and forces you to move your feet under you. It still doesn’t prevent you from falling flat on your face, so you gotta move your legs!
I am going to try more of this in my off season before I hit the track for real workouts. I am curious to see if this will have an effect on my run speed, which I really want to work on in the first half of this year. My next goal is to increase the amount of intervals I can achieve at 12 MPH and get my body used to leg turnover, body positioning, and form required to maintain these speeds.

  • You can also do assisted run training by running down hills, or by attaching a tow cable to someone who runs faster than you and sprinting behind them. When I’ve read about assisted training on a treadmill, it’s usually done with a negative grade, but tying yourself to the front of the treadmill would also do the trick.