One of the first things I hear from new and potential clients is “I’m not that fast.” Speed is relative. Even Bart Yasso said, “We are all runners. Some are faster than others. I never met a fake runner.” But if your dream is to get faster now that you’ve been pounding the pavement for awhile, there is pretty much only one way to do that – speedwork. Intervals, fartleks, pace runs, etc., are various ways of increasing your speed and scoring PR’s. But, if you want to improve as an athlete overall in speed and performance, then a combination of speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) are necessary skills to obtain in order to rapidly decelerate, change direction, and re-accelerate back to a high velocity.
Agility: Ballet dancers balance on their toes then leap into the air without falling on your face takes practice and know-how. That’s agility: the ability to change body position or direction efficiently (using speed and accuracy) and requires multiple skills such as balance, coordination, speed, reactivity, strength, power, and endurance.
Quickness: Football players catch a ball just inside bounds in mid-air without going over the line or run towards the goal line while dodging more than one 400-lb. player and score a touchdown. That’s quickness – the ability to explosively accelerate to a moving position from being stationary. Quickness relies much on agility for directional changes.
2 additional elements involved in SAQ training
Coordination: Responding with appropriate action with timing and producing a smooth and fluid movement. Maybe you can’t do the Electric Slide but you can balance a child on your hip and grocery shop at the same time while talking on your cell phone. (I don’t recommend talking and shopping at the same time, but it’s not illegal!)
Reactivity: Reaction time coupled with response time. Child runs out into the street and you’re able to catch them before a car comes or reaches to touch a hot stove and you grab their hand before they burn it. Catching a ball or other object as it comes towards you without it hitting you in the face! 🙂
By now you might be thinking that SAQ is just too much for you. Really, it isn’t. As with anything, practice makes perfect. It’s like being at recess again! Sure, you might be a little older now, but think of how much fun it used to be. You get to play with speedladders, cones, free weights, and other fun “obstacles.”
On January 26th and February 9th, I will be hosting 5 total SAQ sessions for participants in the SHAPE Magazine Diva Dash! Save $5 using coupon code “DIVASRUN” when registering for the adventure run, and sign up for the SAQ sessions on my Facebook page, Divas Run!
If you’re not participating in the race but would like an SAQ training session or if you are planning to train for the race with SAQ, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and more info!