To run faster, you have to practice at running faster. That's easier said than done. You have a few tools, "tried and true" methods, that runners have used for years. Add interval training to your runs, include hills in your workouts, as well as concentrate on form, and you will increase your running pace in as little as a month.
Interval training involves adding measured intervals of fast running. Begin interval training after you have established a regular running workout. Some experts suggest three or four months of running. Others recommend a current level of three to four hours of weekly running. On your next run, add segments of faster-paced running--perhaps a tad slower than you might run if a cougar were chasing you. You want a fast pace that you can keep up for the distance you select, definitely a faster pace than you normally run. These spurts of fast-paced running should be short--perhaps from one tree to the next, or any other landmark that you choose. After the burst, return to your normal running pace. Don't attempt the next speed burst until you feel adequately rested. Do about six of these increased speed segments during a three-mile run.
Running up hills can increase your running pace. Begin with gradual slopes, eventually adding steeper hills. Stay in the moment to get yourself through this daunting task. In other words, don't think about or even look at the top of the hill. Simply gaze down at your feet or just a few steps ahead. Some experts suggest imagining a rope pulling you up from the chest. Once you conquer hills, try adding speed bursts. Run all-out for 10 seconds. Avoiding injury is key, so keep the speed bursts short. Rest adequately and add another 10 seconds of this fast-paced running.
Keep good running form also to increase your pace. Stand tall and relax your limbs. Don't bend at the waist and focus your mind on keeping this good form throughout your run. Endurance runner and coach Danny Dreyer suggests a midfoot strike. But more importantly, he recommends you run from your center, Use your core muscles to do most of the work, not your leg muscles. A strong core and forward body lean (at the ankles) has increased the speed of countless runners who subscribe to Dreyer's teachings.
Article Written By Lauren D. H. Miertschin
Lauren Miertschin earned her B.A. in liberal studies at California State University, Fullerton. Abandoning the corporate world for teaching, 11 years later she’s still at it, earning Teacher of the Year three times. She’s currently pursuing novel publications, and writes her own trail running and short story blogs.