Follow these steps and boost your speed…
Naturally, most of us want to become faster runners and record quicker times.
While speed increases don’t happen overnight, the prospect of upping your pace and moving outside of your comfort zone, can be pretty daunting.
So, here are 10 relatively quick fixes that can help you work towards your goal straightaway.
*You can apply these as a rule of thumb to any upcoming race you are training for, whether that’s a 5km or marathon.
- Get your nutrition right. Eat at least three hours before you get ready to run, and stock up on carbohydrates and glycogen (fat) stores to give you energy to go faster (as you’ll be burning off those resources much quicker).
- Strength training. Focus on your glutes and hips, building strength with exercises such as squats, lunges, step-ups and seated planks. A lot of the power needed for running faster comes from your butt, essentially, and more power means a more effective running gait.
- Warm-up properly. Incorporate this into point two and make sure all your muscles are fit and firing before you begin your run by completing dynamic stretching, mobility work and lateral movements. Never go hell for leather straightaway!
- Plan your workout. While it is a great feeling just seeing where your run takes you, think about your route and how you are going to incorporate speed drills.
- Tempo run / speed work. You need to get your body used to running at a faster pace by introducing intervals, like, for example, sprinting for a period before slowing down and walking or jogging.
- Foot positioning. Improve your cadence (overall running stride productivity) by landing somewhere between your mid and front foot, giving you more momentum to propel yourself forward and therefore increasing your opportunities to run faster.
- Control your breathing. With speed work, you are going to be looking to run at race pace or above for a certain time frame before cooling down, or stopping completely (especially if you’re on a track). So, as much as possible, you want your breathing to be consistent. Aim for something like a breath in every 3-4 strides, and one out every 3-4, so your body feels synched up.
- Try some hills. Hill repeats are a useful way to develop muscle robustness in your legs and get you accustomed to working in tougher conditions. Start slow, but then try and increase your overall repetitions.
- Progress but not too quickly. Speed sessions, whether you are running 400m on the track or three miles above race pace, should be limited to one session per week, especially for moderate runners. Don’t over do it.
- …and don’t forget to recover. Warming down, foam rolling and stretching, along with adequate rest, is needed when you are working your body a lot harder than you would be doing for an average-paced run.