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Block starts can be a sprinter’s best friend or worst enemy. The first steps of your race are the most important, and having a great start can be the edge you need to win. If you’re looking to improve your race times this year, here are three tips for faster, more powerful block starts:

1. Explosive Exercises

Plyometrics and weightlifting can give you the leg strength you need for an explosive 30 meters out of the blocks. The power you generate at the start will help propel you through your race and keep you one step ahead of the competition. Great exercises for increasing power include single- and double-leg bounds, sled pulls, and speed squats.

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2. Consistent Routine

A consistent, easy to repeat routine is especially important in the moments before you step into the blocks. This includes using the same block setting and pre-race movements. Make sure your dominant leg is in the front block. Repeating the same motions in practice and before each race will improve muscle memory.

3. Mentality

Executing a successful block start is 90% mental and 10% physical. That’s why it’s important to visualize the perfect start and finish to your race. Imagine yourself reacting fast on the gun start and leading the pack from your very first step. Practice this mental routine so that on race day, when the gun goes off, you won’t need to think. You can simply react, run, and win!

 


 

Training for power, honing your muscle memory, and focusing on your race plan are all greats ways to prepare yourself for a successful track season. And you can reach an even higher level if you choose the right gear. So, with that in mind, we broke down the three products you need to win:

For Practice

To guarantee a win on race day, you have to put in the work behind the scenes. That means embracing the grind and choosing the right pair of running shoes for your gait and your training routine. Need a lot of support? No problem. Looking to up your mileage? We’ve got you covered there, too. You can find our favorites at eastbay.com.

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Our top recommendation is a shoe that can do it all – the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34. Delivering a secure, locked-down fit, with fast, comfortable cushioning, and stable, firm support, the Pegasus is a great all-around option for runners at every age, speed, and mileage.

For Race Day

To run fast times, you need fast shoes, and everything about our selection of track spikes is built with speed in mind. From their breathable, lightweight uppers to stiff spike plates, these shoes are ready to win over any distance. You can check out our race-ready lineup here.

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One of our top contenders is the innovative Nike Zoom Superfly Elite. This spike’s seamless upper features zoned areas of stretch and support that eliminate discomfort and distraction so you can focus on the finish. Permanent spike placement cuts down on weight, and a generative plate design perfectly combines stiffness and flexibility so you get the most energy out of every step.

For Style

Looking fast is almost as important as running fast. Whether you prefer to layer up tanks, tees, and tights, or stick to shorts and singlets, we have a range of options that look as good as they perform. With seamless construction, reflective elements, and sweat-wicking material, these are comfortable, breathable pieces that you can mix and match to suit any workout.

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Want a piece that can easily transition from your workout to everyday wear? The Nike Dri-FIT Element Half-Zip is the perfect choice. This lightweight layer is tough enough to get you through practice and stylish enough for class, thanks to slim lines and an athletic fit.