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Top 5 Tips to Be a Faster Runner

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Whether you’re preparing to run your first 5K race or have already run a few marathons, running faster is most likely one of your top training goals. Races like 5ks and 10Ks are all the rage right now, and more people than ever are incorporating running regularly into their schedules to help burn calories and improve fitness levels.

After a few races, however, getting into a running slump is common. Many people train for longer distances in order to overcome boredom, but speed training is important to improve your times. Sure, boosting your pace might seem daunting, but these five (relatively) painless tips will help you become a faster runner and shave a few seconds – maybe even minutes – off your next race time.

5. Run Hills

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You’ll quickly discover that hill runs are not exactly the most enjoyable thing to do. In fact, they can be downright treacherous. But if done right, they can whip you into superb shape in no time, and provide you with the strength and endurance needed to run faster for longer. Running hills can also help to change things up a bit when your typical running regimen gets mundane and monotonous. They are amazing at building dynamic muscle strength that you’ll need when fatigue is setting in and you’re struggling to cover those last few meters or miles.

You can choose to run hills in one of two ways – short, fast reps, or longer reps that begin at a moderate pace, then increase in intensity. The shorter reps can be done on a steeper hill, and will help develop strength and power. Your typical short rep will be about 20 seconds long, which should be repeated 8 times. The longer reps should be done on a moderately sloped hill, and should be about 200 meters in length, repeated 8 times as well. These help to build speed and add horsepower to your engine.

4. Try Interval Training

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It can be a challenge to increase your speed with every workout and keep that pace up throughout your entire regimen. While your goal is to add speed to your running, there are different ways to achieve this without exerting your body too much throughout your workouts. A great alternative to running at a faster pace for your whole running workout is to engage in interval training instead.

After you’ve warmed up for a few minutes, start running at a slightly quicker pace for about 30 seconds or so. Once these 30 seconds have elapsed, begin running at your regular pace for approximately 2 minutes. Keep repeating this pattern, as you fluctuate your speed for the duration of your run. On your next run, do the same thing, except increase your faster pace interval to about 45 seconds instead of 30. On the following run, go for 1 minute. Continue increasing your faster pace increments until it becomes your normal, comfortable pace.

3. Do a Tempo Run Once a Week

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Tempo runs are somewhat similar to interval training, but with this type of strategy, you hold a fast pace (but not TOO fast) for a longer period, such as 10 minutes or so, before slowing down. This helps you develop your anaerobic threshold, pushing your muscles past your lactate threshold, which is essential for helping you run faster. This helps to improve both your endurance and your speed.

To perform a tempo run, begin your run with about 5 to 10 minutes of easy running, followed by 15 to 20 minutes of running at about 10 seconds slower than your normal 10K pace. If you don’t know what this pace is yet, run at a pace that feels “comfortably difficult.” Remember that your tempo run should challenge your body – while you should be able to answer short questions, you should not be able to maintain a conversation. Try to perform these tempo runs once per week.

Marissa is a talented writer and journalist with a strong background in covering physical and mental health issues. Find Marissa on LinkedIn!

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