How to Increase Running Speed

How to Increase Running Speed
In this article you will learn how to pick up the pace while running. There are several things that affect running speed. Changing your workout schedule so that you exercise your body from several different angles is a great way to build speed.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Workouts That Will Help You Run Faster

Things You’ll Need:
  • A good pair of running shoes
  • Access to a running track
  • Hills or stairs
  • A stopwatch or watch with a second hand
Step 1
Dedicate one workout a week to hills or stairs. Running up hills or steps gives you a double workout. The stress of resisting gravity will strengthen the cardiovascular system, while pushing your body weight up hills or stairs will strengthen the muscles of the lower body. To complete this workout, sprint as hard as you can to the top of a hill or flight of stairs. Walk to the bottom, which gives you time to recover, and then sprint to the top again. The first time that you complete this workout, you may only do three or four repetitions. As you get stronger, you should be able to do ten.
Step 2
Each week do one speed workout on a running track. Take a stopwatch so that you can monitor your progress. There are a variety of speed workouts that you can do. Do something different each week to keep your body guessing. Popular speed workouts include 200, 400 and 800 meter repeats. Speed workouts shorter than 200 meters are typically for sprinters. To determine how many repeats you should run, take the distance of each workout into consideration. Remember to add a recovery jog between each rep. For example, an 800-meter speed drill, with an 800-meter recovery would be 1 mile. Four reps would be 4 miles. Add 1/2-mile warm up and cool down, and you have a 5-mile workout.
Step 3
Add a long run to your week. The long run builds aerobic fitness. The length of your long run depends on your experience as a runner and the distance that you race. If you are a 5K specialist, a 6- to 7-mile long run is perfect. If you run 10Ks, a long run of 12 miles once a week will be effective. Remember, slow down on your long run. It may seem that you are barely moving, but your long run pace should be substantially slower than the pace of your other workouts.
Step 4
Easy runs are important. While the three quality runs listed above will increase your running speed, easy runs of 3 to 6 miles are important as well. They help you to maintain aerobic conditioning, strengthen your tendons and joints to reduce your risk of injury, and help increase the blood flow to your muscles, promoting healing. Include at least one easy run in between each hard workout.
Step 5
Don't forget to stretch. Hard training can make your muscles tight, which increases your risk of injury. Spend time every day stretching the muscles of your legs, back and chest. In addition to this, you may consider adding one or two days of yoga or Pilates to your exercise program. Muscles that are free from tightness increases your range of motion, allowing for a longer, more ground-covering stride.

Tips & Warnings

 
Don't forget to fuel up. These workouts are intense. If you are counting calories, you may find it difficult to perform them effectively.
 
Form is important. During hill or track workouts, if fatigue causes you to lean forward or your shoulders to creep up, it is time to quit for the day. Once you cannot maintain proper form, you risk injury.
 
Discomfort is normal, pain is not. If you experience pain while exercising, stop for the day. If the pain doesn't go away on its own when you quit exercising, visit a doctor.
 
It is important to push yourself, but watch for signs of overtraining, such as difficulty sleeping, dreading exercise or failure to improve even when exercising faithfully.

Article Written By Amy Hunter

Amy Hunter has been a writer since 1998. She writes about health and lifestyle issues and enjoys writing about hiking, camping, trail running and other outdoor activities. Her work has appeared in "Sacramento Parent," ASPCA's "Animal Watch" and other print and online publications. She is the author of "The History of Mexico" and "Tony Gonzalez: Superstar of Pro Football," aimed at young-adult readers.

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