We’ve talked before about how you can perform better starting with your very next run and ways to avoid slowing yourself down for no good reason. Both of those posts show that although most of what makes for a successful runner takes time and patience, there are some quick tips and tricks that can help you start getting faster right away.
As we explore different running sites and resources, we run across good tips like that all the time. Here are five of the best we’ve found from around the web:
Spend more time in the air. Next time you really start to get tired during a run, check your form. Have you started to bog down and drag your feet a bit? Or maybe you just shorten your stride? The fastest runners stride out and spend lots of time with both feet off the ground. Check out this tip from Running Planet:
Top level runners spend much less time on the ground. How do you decrease your ground contact time? Start by running with quick, light strides. ~ from Top Ten Ways to Run Faster
Run like a solider. You know who has to do a lot of running? Military folks. The Army Study Guide helps prepare prospective soldiers for training and has some good tips on running with strong, efficient form, regardless of size or running experience. They point out common running mistakes, like wasting energy by bouncing up and down:
Don’t bounce when you run. Use your energy to create horizontal and not vertical movement. The less vertical movement you have when running, the more energy you can use to propel your body forward. ~ from Learn to Run Faster: 6 Quick Tips
Mix in some speedwork. A lot of steady-as-you-go runners know they can benefit from speedwork but may not feel like they know how to get started with that kind of training. According to Runner’s World, you don’t need a formal interval training program or personal trainer to get started…just turn on the heat a few times during your next run:
One of the most effective workouts for getting fit while having fun is the classic fartlek (go ahead, snicker). From the Swedish word for “speed play,” these runs let you pick up the pace whenever you feel like it, run as fast as you wish, and recover for as long as you want. ~ from Speed Dial: Tips to Help You Run Faster
Improve your cadence. Have you ever really thought about your running cadence? Not your speed or your stride, but the number of steps you take in a minute. By picking up the pace and paying attention to how quickly you’re actually moving your feet, you can pick up speed you didn’t even realize you were missing. The Get-Fit Guy gives the basics:
Next time you’re running, count the number of steps you take in 20 seconds, with either your right or left foot. Now multiply by three. That number is your cadence. If you can take 30 steps in 20 seconds, then you’re on the right track to minimizing ground contact time and running faster. ~ from How to Run Faster
Head out at night. We all know that a lot of running is mental. That means that if you’re feeling slow, even a purely mental boost can go a long way. According to Psychology Today, running in lower light (be safe!) can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re moving faster than you are:
During the day when I run, I can see the ground under my feet zipping past. I can also see the nearby bushes and trees moving past more slowly. At the rate I run, the houses and buildings hardly appear to move at all…When I run at night, however, the optic flow information is limited…thus I feel like I am running fast after dark. ~ from I Run Faster After Dark
We like these tips and each one comes from an article featuring lots of other good stuff. Be sure to click through and read the full text if anything piques your interest. Happy reading!