Usain Bolt’s Tips to Running Faster

Usain Bolt is the fastest man in history. To mark his triumphant back to back win in the Men’s 100m at the Olympic final, these are his 8 tips on how to run like the wind…

1. Start like I say, not as I do

“It’s very important to get out of the blocks quickly, although I’m usually left in the blocks a bit,” says Bolt, who, at 6’5″, is tall for a sprinter and admits the first part of a 100-metre or 200-metre race is not his strongest element.

“So I work a lot on starting well and then, after that, when I get into my stride, I just let everything flow.”

Bolt takes 41 steps per 100m, an average 2.4m stride lenght

2. Don’t rush to ‘run tall’

To get to your top speed, the Jamaican sprinter suggests leaning forward out of the blocks and holding your drive phase for 30 metres before coming up gradually. “If you pop up and try to start running too soon, you really have to work to get to top speed,” he says. This is because all the forward energy that has been gained from pushing out of the blocks will go upwards as opposed to the direction you want it to go in – towards the finish line.

3. You need power for the glory

“My favourite exercise in the weights room is the clean,” says Bolt, who sees weight training as a necessary evil. From a standing position, with legs shoulder-width apart, he lifts the barbell in a continuous movement from feet to chest. “I’m not really that good at lifting weights,” Bolt admits. “A lot of people can bench-press 250kg, for example, whereas I probably bench 140kg. I just go heavy enough to develop the muscles. What really matters is what you do out on the track.”

4. A strong core helps you score

“I work on this a lot – it’s vitally important,” he says. “I do a few exercises on my core in training, but in addition three times per week at home I do one hour strictly on abs and back work – a variety of lots of exercises.” His goal is not necessarily to help his sprinting, either…

“I do it mainly because it makes my six-pack look pretty good! I can’t really complain about it.”

5. It’s a sprint, not a marathon

Bolt reveals he rarely runs farther than one lap of the track. “I don’t really do any cardio in training,” he says, preferring to focus on quality over quantity. “It’s hot anyway in Jamaica, so we burn a lot of calories when training. Even just warming up I would be sweating hard.” Even so, his longest run is surprisingly short.

“This season, probably 350 metres. A couple of times I have run 600 metres in the past, but that’s as far as I’ve ever been.

6. You need nature, as well as nurture

In the same way that East Africans dominate distance running, athletes from the Caribbean and West Africa tend to be good sprinters. Jamaica has a population of just 2.7 million, but dominates sprinting. Scientists believe this is partly because the “speed protein”, Actinen A, is more prominent in Jamaicans’ fast-twitch muscles. Bolt has his own theory. “I think what makes Jamaica different is [a legacy of] slavery… the genes are really strong.”

7. Eat like a champion

Despite famously eating chicken nuggets before one of his races at the Beijing Olympics, Bolt’s junk-food diet is a bit of a myth. He explains: “When I’m travelling overseas, if the food is not so good I might end up in Burger King or McDonald’s occasionally. But I have a chef now who gives me everything I need.” Bolt consumes lots of chicken, pork, fish and yams – a good source of carbohydrates and a Jamaican staple. “Every now and again I go for fast food, but 90 per cent of my diet is good.”

8. Don’t worry, be happy

Bolt says it is in his nature to remain cool before races, but he also makes a point of creating lots of downtime. “It’s just my personality to be so relaxed,” he says. “The majority of the time I’m chillin’. I’m always with friends and laughing – that’s just me. If I’m not doing that then I’m playing video games and still relaxing.” Bolt stays loose during his races, too. “The more relaxed you are, the smoother and faster you’ll run. Your muscles get tight when you tense up.”

  1. Margaret August 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    It works, I had faster times in all my runs today just trying to do what he said.!

    • Wclc August 29, 2012 at 9:44 am

      well done Margaret! You were flying that morning! Your long jump form wasn’t that bad either!

  2. lance cheney October 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    hello O.M.G your tips work Usain Bolt I started with 13.5 now I get 13 flat and i’m only 12 which is pretty good can u help me with more tips please?

  3. Jared Mollison January 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Hi, my name is Jared. I am 11 years old. You are my favourite sportsman and I try to run just as fast as you. Yesterday I ran the 100m at school. I had a bad start. I slipped on the start but managed to catch up quickly, but not quick enough. I finished 3rd. Can you tell me how to improve my start without using a starting block and how to run as fast as possible, please? How should I swing my arms? Should my legs be level height with the ground while running? Thank yoy and all the best for 2013.

  4. dhawal January 16, 2013 at 1:52 am

    usain bolt i have followed your tips i am 15 years old and when first i did racing i finished in 19.75 seconds but now iam finishing in 12.56 seconds

    • Isaac Hayden February 2, 2013 at 7:17 am

      In what?

  5. Isaac Hayden February 1, 2013 at 7:49 am

    I hope this helps I am trying to turn like him so I can take his spot this helps me go to my true potential. My name is isaac I’m a good runner but not that fast

  6. Isaac Hayden February 2, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Usain bolt come to sterling,Kansas 412 northbroadway and teach me how to run faster and become better then you by 3/1/13. If you come I will love you even more!!!

  7. BRAD March 4, 2013 at 3:32 am

    This actually really works I beat my old record 13.78 and incredibally now 13.03 wwwooooowww!!!

  8. Amit March 20, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    (your are my best Athletic player in the world)(God gifted you this and i am following your tips)

    when i started first i did racing finished in 13.75 seconds but now i am finishing in 11.45 seconds thanks for you tips and i am following on daily bases.
    amit sharma

  9. Hallie April 30, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    As much as I loved these tips (woooooooo Usain :D), I can’t help but say that there are only 8 tips. Where are the missing 2? The introductory paragraph states that there are 10, but I only see 8.

    • Wclc May 1, 2013 at 8:16 am

      There are 10 responses to this blog.

  10. Nick June 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Wow the relax tip helps I was just doing my 30 meter sprints and improved with this tip on a very good day I would run 4.56 but consistently I ran 4.77 but now I run it in 4.34 consistently and it’s my best time to.

  11. Nick June 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Man more and more great news I just did my 30 meter dash and the is amazing 4.00