Starting something new is often exciting, especially when it comes to running. Looking forward to running your first kilometer or crossing the finish line of your first race? For many runners, the more you run, the more you want to get better.
Follow our five tips to take your speed to the next level.
1 – Set a goal
Whether you are training for your first 5K, dreaming of running a marathon as fast as possible or simply looking to become a more complete athlete, your goal will help you determine your training approach.
Once you have set a tangible and realistic goal, you can begin to tailor a program specifically for that goal.
2 – Train yourself!
The appeal of endurance can make it difficult to understand how it is prepared, but runners who want to go faster need to integrate the relationship between muscle strength and running. The stronger your legs are, the more power they can generate, which can result in faster running. A strong upper body and trunk are also helpful in maintaining proper form and reducing fatigue.
If you don’t want to gain weight, even body weight movements such as push-ups, squats and lunges can improve your running.
3- Put in (a little) extra fast workout
To become a faster runner, you have to, well, run fast. That sounds obvious, but it’s a crucial part of the equation. Interval training, tempo running and fartleks (yes, that’s right) all incorporate different levels of effort and speed. Interval training involves a period of maximum effort followed by a recovery period.
For example, sprint for 30 seconds and run for 60 seconds and repeat this sequence eight times. A tempo run (also known as a threshold run), is run at a pace that is just beyond your comfort zone.
And then there is a more playful workout called fartlek (“Running Games” in Swedish), where you set the rule for how far you run and how fast you run, and where you alternate between a brisk pace and an “easy” pace.
The point being that with fartleks, training is unstructured and very intuitive. Choose a random target as a finish line (like a tree or a pole for example) and run towards it.
4- Incorporate long runs
Speed rests on a solid base of endurance. For this reason, long runs are one of the most effective strategies for “speeding up”. A long run for someone training for a 10 km will be very different than for an athlete whose goal is to run a marathon. The distance of your “long run” should be determined by your goal. For someone training to run 5 km, 6 km may be too long. For a runner with a completely different profile, 20 km may be too long. You should aim to schedule one long run per week. Besides helping to improve endurance and speed, this basic training can also increase your mental endurance and strengthen your resilience.
5 – Don’t push yourself too hard, too soon
Once you have set a goal, motivation is usually at its peak.
Some runners can start to see results within a few weeks, while others can take up to 16 weeks before their pace finally starts to take off.
For this reason, don’t get into “high speed” workouts without experience. The general rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage by about 10% each week.
And with high-speed workouts, try to incorporate one to three sessions a week into your schedule when you first start so your body can adapt. Tips to keep in mind in order to avoid injury.