If you’ve never tried using resistance bands for running drills, it’s time you gave them a shot. By strapping a band around your ankles, you can work your way through a number of exercises that increase your speed, strength and agility. Whether you’re an athlete training for a specific sport or simply a woman who wants to improve her running speed, you’ll improve your fitness and get closer to your goals by incorporating resistance band training into your routine.
If you have a training partner or a coach -- or just a friend who’s willing to lend a hand -- you can use a large resistance band to do STACK.com's acceleration sprints to help you increase your power and speed. Start by putting a large band around your waist and leaning forward at a 45-degree angle. With your partner holding the back of the band, sprint forward against the resistance for 10 yards as your partner jogs behind you to keep the band tight. Aim for four sets of two reps.
Give your partner a break and attach your resistance band to a pole or other immovable object. Strap the other end around your waist and walk away from the pole until your band is tight. Then get ready to sprint. Run forward, sprinting in place against the resistance of the band for 20 to 30 seconds really driving your knees forward and using your arms, which will increase your power and speed. Repeat four times taking short breaks in between.
Switch your motion from forward to sideways and develop both your speed and agility with lateral shuffles. For this exercise you can either have a partner hold the band or attach it to a pole. To start, put the band around your waist and get down into a low athletic stance. Leaning slightly forward and keeping your back straight, shuffle quickly as far as you can go against the resistance and back again three times. Do two sets both sides.
When using resistance bands to improve your running speed, make sure you keep your health and safety in mind. To help prevent muscle strains, pulls or tears, warm up before doing your resistance band drills by doing light cardio and stretching. If you find that you’re running out of steam too quickly during the workouts, either increase your rest time between sets or switch to a lower resistance band level. And, as always, be sure to check with your physician before starting a new exercise routine.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.