How to Get Faster at Running

How to Get Faster at Running
Unless you have been training with an Olympic coach for years, it is unlikely that you are running at your full potential. Fortunately, it doesn't take a professional coach to improve your running speed. While you may be limited to some extent by your genetic abilities, such as the amount of fast twitch fibers you have and your VO2 capacity, other factors, such as willingness to train, passion for running and ability to push yourself are just as important to improving speed. By investing some time in your running, you can improve your speed. The ideas listed below are some proven methods to get faster, but take your time when implementing them. Add one new workout or idea a week and give your body time to adjust. Plan to run an occasional race to gauge your progress, and most of all, have fun.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Hilly area to train Free weights
  • Hilly area to train
  • Free weights
Step 1
Run more. Brad Hudson, writing for Running Times, recommends increasing mileage as an effective way to increase speed. While there are many reasons someone may not be capable of running more than three days a week, adding even one additional run per week is enough to provide results.
Step 2
Work the hills. Hill repeats strengthen the legs and the lungs, both body parts that are necessary for speed. Hills also present a mental challenge, and conquering them is a great way to add discipline to your workout.
Step 3
Add a Fartlek. Fartlek workouts are an effective way to increase speed without requiring a stopwatch or track. After you warm up, look ahead to a utility pole, parked car or other landmark. Pick up the pace and run hard to that point, then slow down to a recovery jog. Look ahead for another landmark and repeat. Aim for six to eight speed repetitions during this workout.
Step 4
Practice a fast finish. Greg McMillan, of McMillan Running, recommends finishing an easy run with a half-mile hard finish. Don't do this for every easy run, but throw it in occasionally to increase work tolerance and to teach your muscles to power through fatigue.
Step 5
Add weights. In Running Times, Jay Johnson discusses the importance of strength workouts for runners. Stronger muscles are able to more easily complete tough workouts and resist injuries. A strong core helps you hold your body upright even when tired, and strong arms and legs propel you forward.
Step 6
Watch your diet. Some of the best speed training does not come on the track. Eat a diet rich in whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats to provide your body with the energy it needs to complete workouts. This does not mean there is never room for a splurge, but they should be the exception rather than the rule.

Tips & Warnings

Increase mileage by no more than 10 percent a week to reduce the risk of injury.
Be on the lookout for symptoms of overtraining, including trouble sleeping, lack of motivation, a high resting heartbeat or an increased susceptibility to illness.

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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