Learning how to improve your running speed in the 100 meters is much different than improving your speed in a distance race. The 100 meters is usually the shortest race in a collegiate or USATF sanctioned track meet. The 100 meters is about muscle strength and form rather than endurance and aerobic fitness. One could technically sprint the whole race without breathing. Learn the specifics of running the 100 meters, so you can improve your running speed.
To learn to improve your running speed in the 100 meters, you will need the following:
- Access to a 400 meter track
- Starting blocks
- Improve your speed by starting in blocks. Most runners use starting blocks in the 100 meters. It doesn't really matter how you arrange the blocks, but make sure you can push off with whichever foot is dominant. Researchers have found that people perform better when they lead with their left foot. Make sure that you don't have your fingers over the line and that you are relaxed and focused on the track.
- Improve your sprinting form. Some runners lean back when they run. This is inefficient, especially in the 100 meters. Aerobic fitness can make up for bad form in longer races, but form is everything in running the 100 meters. You want to make sure you are leaning slightly forward. Your shoulders should stay still and you should be pumping your arms from your hip all the way up to your chin. Tom Heinonan, University of Oregon Track and Field Coach and Hall of famer says that you should cross your arms in front of you when you are sprinting; your hands should never come behind your hip, but you can bring them up as high as you want. Heinonan says to improve your speed, you should also shorten your stride; "If you look at Olympic 100 meter sprinters, it looks like they are doing butt kicks."
- Lift Weights. An effective weight lifting program is essential to improving your 100 meter running speed. There are many different types of weight lifting programs and a lot depends on your personal preference and the areas you need to improve most. Start with lifting 2 to 3 times a week. Do 15 to 20 repetitions with each set. You can use dumbbells or machines. Make sure you focus on exercises that will strengthen your quads, calves and arms.
- Sprint through the finish line. Many runners see the finish line and they start to slow down. They don't even realize they are doing this. If you want to improve your speed in the 100 meters, focus on a target beyond the finish line and don't slow down until you reach it. Drive all the way through.