Need Running Tips to Get Faster?
Here's Six Ideas on How to Run Faster in Your Next Race
You may have started running a little while ago.
You might have already completed a number of races. One, two or many.
Regardless of that, you now want to become faster. You want your next race to be your best one yet.
If you want to be able to run faster for your next races, here are some steps that you can take to reach your objective.
Running Tips to Get Faster #3: More Mileage
A lot of improvement can be made by increasing your mileage.
You want to build up a strong, strong base.
A lot of easy running, combined with staying consistent and getting your runs in every week, will do wonders over months and years of training.
Clearly, you need to take care when building up your mileage. As you increase your workload, your risk of injury increases. A good page to check out is the Increasing Mileage Safely page. It provides some high-level guidelines that will help keep you safe.
Increasing your mileage endlessly is clearly not going to work. At some point you will hit a point at which you either get injured or you run out of time. When you are trying to combine family life and work and doing 70+ miles per week, time comes at a premium. And generally, for many of us, the sensible mileage level at which we can combine everything else with our running and remain injury free is at a lower level. Generally higher than 20-30 miles per week though, so when you are wanting to get faster... start with considering your mileage and how consistent you are with your running.
Running Tip to Get Faster #2: Vary Your Pace
A mistake many of us runners make is to run without much variety in our running program.
We keep on doing the same thing over and over again.
Yet, we expect different results.
Keep running at the same speed during training and your body will get used to this.
You need to push your body out of its comfort zone.
Running at different speeds during training will help you improve different body systems. When you do interval training, your body gets trained at pumping oxygen to your muscles more efficiently.
When oxygen delivery is more efficient, your body is able to go at a faster pace without breaking down.
When you start interval running you will want to start off easily, e.g. 30 seconds hard, 2 minutes easy alternating. Over time build up the interval running time to about 3-5 minutes.
Follow the link for more information about interval running.
Running Tips to Get Faster #3: Tempo Pace
Aside from doing interval training, you should also train at tempo pace. Tempo training is running at a speed slightly faster than easy speed.
It's a pace that is best described as comfortably hard, a pace you are able to maintain for longer periods of time, but it takes some effort.
What you are doing with tempo running is to improve your lactate acid threshold, the point at which lactic acid starts building up in your muscles at a faster rate than your body can get rid of it. Run faster than lactic acid threshold speed and you will start getting heavy legs after only 3-5 minutes due to the build-up of lactic acid.
But run just below this threshold and you are able to keep it up for longer periods of time and you are training your body to get rid of the lactic acid more efficiently. This in turn means that, over time, your lactic acid threshold improves and you can run faster without getting heavy legs.
Running Tips to Get Faster #4: Hill Training
Every time you climb a hill you work on your leg strength. And even downhill running, especially if it is fairly steeply downhill, tests your legs in different ways than "normal" running on the flat.
You can do hill training in different ways, e.g. you could just include hills in your easy runs and/or long runs. In addition, you can do some specific hill intervals or hill sprints.
When you start doing hill intervals, please, do yourself a favour and build up sensibly. Hills can be a bit of an assault on your legs. So in order to not get yourself injured, start with a smaller number of intervals (2-4), then build up from there.
I incorporate hills in my usual Sunday morning run with the trail runners group I run with. I am not a good hill runner, so it hurts a bit, most days. But boy, do hills help in making you stronger! Only a couple of years ago I had a number of months in which I almost exclusively did easy running in the hills. All runs were at a very low speed. I then entered a local race for fun and blew myself away with the strength, speed and endurance I had built up doing all that hill running.
Running Tips to Get Faster #5: Holistic View
Take the holistic view... body and mind...
So far, we have focused on running specific elements. There is more I could have, and maybe, should have referred to. Strides, fartleks, more complicated combination workouts, goal pace running, etc. It can all help in making you a faster runner. But for now, I'd like to move the attention to non-running related things.
When you are thinking about your lifestyle, what could you do to get a little healthier?
Are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep....
Are you eating healthily?
Could you be losing some weight?
How about your alcohol intake?
How about other stressors in your life?
It helps now and again, just to take a couple of minutes to take stock of your life and consider one or two changes you could make that would make you a little healthier or a little bit more rested. You betcha it can make a difference in how fast you run!!
Running Tips to Get Faster #6: Strength Training
Are you doing strength training?
If not, you are missing out!
I am a runner. I have had to come to strength training with gritted teeth. I would have loved to keep ignoring it. But at some point I recognised that there were certain imbalances in my legs that I could not address with running. You see, I noticed that every time I'd start pushing my mileage up beyond 40 miles I'd get this pain in my left leg. Sometimes ITB. Sometimes Achilles. Always the left though.
Strength training really helped fix that up.
Have never done strength training before? You can start with bodyweight exercises and core work. There are plenty of studies available that show the benefits of bodyweight training. One recent study tested runners' improvements over a 8- or 12-week cycle.
One group did not do core exercises, the other group did.
The 5k time improvement was around 20-40 seconds better for the people doing core exercises.
That is huge on such a short distance. Imagine the impact this has on longer races like the marathon!
After a period of doing bodyweight exercises, you may start to feel a bit bored. Or you feel that you are not getting much extra out of the bodyweight work anymore. That's a good sign, you can then "graduate" to the weight room. A gym can be a bit of an intimidating place. I have found that working with a Personal Trainer can be very helpful. Ask them about the different machines, ask them about technique for barbell lifts like the barbell squat or deadlift. With some of these movements, especially when heavier weights are involved, you do increase your injury risk. So learn proper technique under the guidance of a professional.
These are just some of the running tips that you may be able to use on your quest to get faster.
You have got the motivation and the mindset already.
Else you would not be here.
Now is the moment to add some smart, quality,
running to the mix, take a holistic view to your running and start
doing strength training.
Before you know it you will run faster than ever before.
Are you a beginning runner? Then this is your best starting point. Many tips and running programs on offer, dedicated to you.
Aiming to lose a few pounds? Get into the Running for Weight Loss section for tips and advice.
The Running Training section of the site has got the most articles. It is constantly getting updated with new tips and information. A must-visit if you are serious about improving your running performance.
The 5k is a great distance to run and train for. The great thing is that you can do it quite often and see big improvements.
The 10k is a real challenge. You need to run fast for an uncomfortably long time! Check out this section if you are strong of mind and legs!
The marathon is a massive challenge. Proper training is so important! Make sure to check out this section if you have got your mind set on the marathon!
The most important beginner running tips. All you need to know before you put on those running shoes.
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