The 100-meter race is, by all definitions, a sprint, in which your goal is to expend as much of your energy as quickly as you can in order to cover a distance of exactly 100 meters as fast as possible. For this reason, the techniques that must be mastered in order to run a faster 100m are much different than those used in longer races, including those as short as a 200m and as long as a full marathon. In fact, running the fastest 100m you can is much like perfecting a golf swing in that you'll need to execute a diverse array of strategies very quickly, almost simultaneously.
Breathe more quickly to deliver more oxygen to your muscles faster. This should be practiced both as a training exercise to prepare your body for the type of breathing you'll do during the race itself. Perform a 30-second set of inhaling and exhaling through your nose as quickly and deeply as you can, then take a rest and perform the same exercise using your mouth instead. The goal is to maximize your oxygen intake in a minimal amount of time.
Minimize the amount of time your feet spend touching the ground during the run. Instead of feeling like you're propelling yourself forward by pushing against the ground, you should feel as though your brushing the ground back horizontally.
Avoid vertical bouncing as you run. Any motion other than moving forward is a waste of energy. Your head should remain roughly the same distance from the ground throughout the entire sprint. One of the best ways to avoid vertical bouncing is by maintaining a comfortable, natural stride length rather than trying to make your stride as long as possible.
Lean forward as you run. While practicing, improve your form by ensuring that your chest and the rest of your upper body and in front of your feet at all times. You should feel as though your feet are pushing you forward, not pulling you forward.
Stay relaxed, both mentally and physically. Carrying tension through the race is a waste of energy and often results in poor posture. Keep your hands in a relaxed position rather than tightening them into fists.
Pretend that the finish line is 10 meters farther away than it really is. This will help you to follow through and put in maximum effort rather than slowing down even milliseconds early in anticipation of the end of the race.
- Practice the fast-breathing technique at the starting line as you're waiting for the signal to start. You'll pre-load your body with oxygen and prepare it for the fast expenditure of energy to come.
- Never look back to measure your lead over other runners. The 100m is such a short race that it should be thought of as a race against the clock, regardless of how many other competitors are present.
Kevin Richards has been a writer and editor since 2009, specializing in fitness, health and nutrition, as well as technology, finance and legal issues. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.