Running Faster Makes Me Go Slower!

by Catherine

I have been running 4 - 5 miles four times a week for about three years. I've been trying to increase my time before a marathon relay coming up next month.

I was able to reduce my time per mile by 45 seconds and kept it at that rate for a few weeks. But now I can't even do my old time without hitting a lactic acid burn at the beginning of my third mile. I started doing intervals to see if I could blow past that but nothing is helping and my race is in less than a month. I'm worried I won't be able to even finish with my old time.

What am I doing wrong?

Answer by Dominique:

Thanks for your question.

I suspect that in order to change your times you have just picked up the pace and have tried to beat your previous training time every time you went running. Or at least, something like that.

Running fast has got lots of effects on your body. The risks of injuries are significantly higher when running faster and so is the risk of burning up your fuels.

In fact, one of the first rules in becoming a faster runner is that you need to run further first, before you run faster. First miles, then speed.

It sounds counterintuitive, but think about it this way:
Imagine if you had spend your running training in the past few months building up your mileage from 15-20 miles per week to 30-35 miles per week of easy/slow running with a long run of 10 miles.
Imagine how easy a four- or five-miler would be then! You need to build that stamina in order to get faster.

And even when trying to go faster you need to use different running speeds in your training to get there.
Each running speed has got its own effects on your body systems. In order to be able to improve running times you need to balance all different running speeds in a running training program.

I think you should just go back to easy running again, because I suspect you have been hitting your body a bit too much with this fast-paced running.
Try to not worry too much about the race and stop the urge of wanting to do faster running training.
In the meanwhile pay a few visits to my running training section and read up on base building and designing a running program.

Good luck with your running.

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