There are two types of muscle fibers. One is called the slow twitch muscle fiber (type I) and the other is the fast twitch muscle fiber (type II). The fast twitch muscle fibers are important for short bursts of energy. They work mainly when you do strength training such as weight lifting or calisthenics. It also is involved in sprinting.
This is important to know as the muscle fibers you need most for running fast, are the type II fibers. When you do specific training that requires fast twitch muscle fibers, you will enhance their performance. In other words, if your fast twitch muscles are mostly trained, you will become stronger and faster.
The amount of slow twitch or fast twitch muscle fibers you have seem to be genetically determined. We see that people who are naturally good at sprinting have a lot of fast twitch fibers. Slow twitch muscle fibers are mainly useful for endurance and are more dominant in marathon runners. People often naturally choose the sport they have been "built" for.
Sprinting requires a lot of energy in a short amount of time. This means our body does not have time to burn carbohydrates the same way we do when we are running with a lower speed. I will leave out the details, but when we sprint we use the anaerobic energy system. Anaerobic means, without oxygen and it relies on other energy sources.
It goes beyond the purpose of this article (namely basic information) to go deep into the sprinting technique. However, the technique you use, as well as muscle fibers, genetics and muscle mass all play a part in becoming a very fast runner. Apart from that, your body height has influence on your speed. A taller person is naturally in advantage due to the longer strides he or she can make.
If you want to become good at sprinting, you should sprint. The problem is that you cannot sprint as fast as you can too often. So a complete workout routine in which you only sprint is not a good idea. I am not a sprinting expert, but I know enough to tell you that only sprinting will not make you a lot faster. At least not without any form of strength training.
If you have ever seen a professional sprinter on television you must have noticed how muscular they are. Big thighs, ripped abdominal muscles and impressive arms are features of these athletes. In order to get there they do strength and muscle mass training. The extra muscle mass will give them a lot of explosiveness and aggression which is needed to be fast.
So that is it, start training with weights or body weight and try to gain muscle mass. I have a whole section dedicated to this subject, so please take a look at the "Gaining Muscle" section for more information.
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