Need to Increase My Running Speed

by Mike

I am 18 years old and I am really good when it comes to upper body. But when it comes to running I lose breath and I tire out.

I am running a 13:42 mile and a half.

I am leaving for the marines in less than 3 weeks and I need to cut it to at least 12 minutes.

Could you please help me, because right now it seems impossible!

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Mike,
Thanks for your question about the 1.5 mile. There are some more people who have asked about the feared 1.5 mile fitness test. Some of the answers to these questions may help you as well. Do a search for 1.5 mile on my site.

Three weeks is not a lot of time, but if you take your running seriously over the next three weeks you might make some improvements.

It sounds like you might have sufficient strength. You might do upper body work, but it does not sound like you do a lot of cardio. That's exactly why you get caught out with a distance like a mile and a half. It is far enough that it requires you to have a decent aerobic base.

And if you do not have that aerobic base, then you tire out too quickly and are not able to maintain your speed for very long.

So, how do you develop this aerobic base?
You need to do easy running. A good example running workout to increase that base would be something like: 5 x 6 minutes of running with 3 minutes walking break in between. The running needs to be at an easy pace, the pace at which you'd be able to maintain a conversation.

This is probably way more than you would normally run, and if you suddenly jump into that kind of running, you run the risk of running injuries, so you need to establish what you are capable and comfortable of.

Also check out:

Base Running Page

Increasing Mileage Safely

In addition to this slower running 3 or 4 times a week I would advise to do some faster running as well, maybe one day a week. Check out interval running, tempo running and the fartlek.

As said before, three weeks is not a great amount of time and if you jump into running suddenly, the risk of injuries is paramount. It may therefore be wise to do other cardio work as well, like bike riding, walking etc. to do everything in your power to improve that aerobic base and thereby to increase your running speed.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

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