The first thing that new long jumpers will think with their long jump approach is that “The longer their long jump approach is, the better it will be for them when they need to jump.”
This actually isn’t true.
Your long jump approach should be the length that it takes for you to reach your top speed. If you are decelerating in your approach to the bar, your runup is too long.
How long should your long jump approach be?
Most of the elite athletes will have their runup between 30-40m. This is based on having a long jump approach of 13-18 steps.
Most long jumpers will start to reach their top speed when they are at 13 or 15 strides. After that, most athletes will decelerate because they don’t have the strength-endurance to continue accelerating.
Measure out your runup based on either 11, 13 or 15 strides, depending on your age, your speed and your strength endurance.
Record the length in metres in centimetres so you have a benchmark to work from.
If you have access to a video camera, record yourself doing the long jump approach. Check the approach to see if you are accelerating off each stride.
If you notice that you are decelerating, shorten your runup. If you notice that you haven’t reached full speed, increase your runup by 2 steps.
Test your runup with the long jump distances to see which runup is optimal.