“I need tips on how to run faster!” is something I hear runners saying over and over again. I used to be one of those runners. If I’m honest, deep down I’m still one of those runners but just not as much as I used to be.
I’m trying to focus more on distance these days and forget about pace. However, I’m 43 years old and the fat kid inside me still wants to prove to the mean kids at school that I can run.
Ridiculous, I know. I’ve run marathons, half marathons and loads of other races but I still feel as though I haven’t proven myself enough yet. It all comes back to not feeling good enough.
Logically I know that I only have myself to prove anything in life to but emotionally it’s a whole different story.
I often have internal battles between what I know logically and what I feel emotionally. Logically I know that eating a whole tub of ice cream probably isn’t the wisest idea but emotionally I just want to inhale it.
It doesn’t change when it comes to learning how to run fast either. Logically I know focusing on the exercises below will help me run faster but emotionally I know it’s going to challenge me so I want to avoid it.
If I honestly want to run faster, then I need to take my own advice. (I’m not a professional running coach but I have been running for over 6 years and have picked up tips on how to run faster along the way).
This always used to scare the crap out of me. I didn’t have a clue what to do and it sounded awful. So awful that I put off trying to do a speed session for about 3 years.
Luckily my Garmin saved me from my fear. One day I was flicking through the settings and found ‘intervals’ so had a play to see what it did.
I programmed it to do a workout of 30 seconds of speedy running followed by 2-minute easy pace and I was going to do it 10 times. I found a nice flat route and gave it a go.
I loved it! I did a 10-minute easy pace warm-up and then sprinted for 30 seconds. I had 2 minutes of easy pace running in order to get my breath back before the next 30 seconds.
The more 30 second sprints I did, the more tired I got but I felt stronger for it. I had finally completed a speed session and I didn’t die! Yay me!
I know, I know, hill repeats are evil! But they are important to build strength both physically and mentally. I found this blog really helpful to explain how to do hill repeats.
I don’t live somewhere completely flat so I’ll incorporate a couple of hills into my route. I put my head down, get my arms swinging and power up that hill. I even celebrate with a bit of a happy dance when I reach the top!
A wise person once said, “You don’t get better at running up hills by walking up them!”
This is important but I hate doing weights or squats so I do yoga twice a week. It helps with my flexibility and it also strengthens my muscles. I make sure my time on the mat includes a good core and glute workout.
I also love hiking and walking up and down hills/mountains at a brisk pace is great for my fitness and strength. Plus I get to see some beautiful places and spend time in nature. It’s excellent for my mental health too.
I’ve noticed that my 5K time improves just by doing regular long runs. I do my long runs at an easy pace and don’t push for time, it’s all about the miles under my feet.
Not only do long runs build physical strength, they are great for mental stamina. Both of these are imperative if you want to improve your speed.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t realise how long runs affect my pace until recently. I think it’s because I’ve always done long runs until last year when I was injured. I had to build up my miles slowly again and realised that longer distance benefited my pace. I just had to include this in my tips for how to run faster blog!
Rest and recovery days are one of the most important things to plan into your schedule. You need them even if you don’t think you do. Your body needs time off from strenuous exercise to repair otherwise you’ll end up injured.
Make sure you plan easy runs into your running schedule. ‘Easy’ pace is basically a relaxed pace at which you could have a chat at the same time. We all get sucked into wanting to push our pace during every run but it won’t help.
Rest is a vital part of any training plan. If you are serious about wanting to run faster then you have to be serious about your rest and recovery. So put your feet up and chill out!
Tracking Your Progress
A good way to see how you’re improving is to run a mile now and again. Running a faster mile helps to improves your fitness and your mental strength even if it doesn’t seem like much.
When you’re going flat out for a mile, it can feel like a marathon!
Above all else, enjoy your running. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get faster too quickly. It’s not the be-all and end-all of running.
Don’t try and incorporate all the tips above into your weekly schedule. Mix it up a bit. Play with it and see what works for you.
I’d like to hear from you if you have a tip to share or if you’ve given any of these tips on how to run faster a go. Feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a message via contact page.
If you liked this blog and want to hear more from me then sign up to my email list on my contact page (just scroll to the bottom of the page). I promise I won’t bombard you!