You’re a very committed runner. You never skip a workout, you fuel properly and even rest when all you wanted was to log some miles. But, even so, you never seem to improve your race times. You’re not alone.
In fact, this is one of the biggest issues that strike runners who are focused in increasing their speed, along with their mileage.
To help you become faster, we have put together five tips to change things up in training and stimulate better results:
You can’t become a faster runner without practicing running fast. Short sprinting bursts are a great exercise for improving your personal best, along with building your strength and endurance. And because they last only a short amount of time, they are easy to incorporate into your running plan.
There are many different ways of incorporating short repeats into your training. Whether you choose to time your intervals or use the terrain to your advantage, it’s important you don’t push yourself too much, too soon. Keep in mind that a fast pace doesn’t mean an all-out sprint, but a faster pace than your usual.
Tempo runs are similar to high-intensity intervals, but instead of doing short sprinting bursts, you have to run slightly faster than your normal pace for a longer time period. A tempo run should challenge your body, but not as much as a sprint: if you’re able to hold a conversation, you’re going too slow, but if you can easily answer short questions, it means you’re at the right pace.
These types of runs will push your physical threshold, which will help you improve your endurance and speed. If you have never done a tempo run, start out with 10 minutes, and build up to 40 minutes, every 7 to 10 days.
This strategy involves running the second half of a run at a faster pace than the first half. This is a very simple way to make every run a good run and, despite what you may think, it actually helps to improve your PR.
To incorporate negative splits into one of your runs, start at a good, steady pace. After the first half of the run, your body is properly warmed up and it should be easy to increase your pace on the second half of the workout, so you end up with a faster overall time. Out-and-back runs are a great way to inspire negative splits: run at a comfortable pace to a destination, and increase your speed once you head back home.
The next time you get out for a run, make sure an incline is part of your route. Running up hills is the perfect way to make you a faster runner: it strengthens the same muscles you use for sprinting and builds your body’s endurance, which can be useful when you’re fatigued and struggling to pick up the pace.
Whether you choose to run on the treadmill or outside, you can either opt for short and fast reps (8 x 20 seconds) to build strength and power, or longer reps (8 x 1 minute) to build speed and endurance.
Run on different surfaces
If you’re used to running on flat terrain, get yourself to a soft-surface trail to challenge your muscles in different ways.
Running on undulating routes and on different types of pavement avoids repetition and forces your body to engage muscles that normally go unused while you run a consistent road or track gait.