How to Run Faster and Improve Your Speed?

How to Run Faster and Improve Your Speed

Running faster requires commitment, hard work, and consistently pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. While some people are naturally faster runners, anyone can improve their speed and become a faster runner with the right training plan. If you want to increase your running speed and improve your personal best times, follow these tips.

Proper Running Form and Technique

Having good running form and technique is essential for running efficiently and faster. Here are some key elements of proper running form:

Use a Midfoot Strike

Landing on your heel puts more impact on your joints. Landing on the balls of your feet stresses your calves. Aim to land on the middle of your foot. This allows you to roll through your foot and distribute impact up your leg.

Swing Arms Front to Back

Pump your arms in time with your stride. Allow them to swing from your shoulders, not across your body. Drive your elbows back to propel yourself forward.

Lean Forward Slightly

Lean your body slightly forward from your ankles, not your waist. This helps drive you forward. Avoid leaning too far forward or bending at the waist.

Quick Cadence

Take quicker, shorter strides, increasing your turnover. This helps you maintain speed without overstriding and landing improperly. Aim for 170-190 steps per minute.

Relax Your Upper Body

Avoid clenching your fists, hunching your shoulders, or tensing your upper body. Stay tall with a neutral neck and relaxed shoulders.

Build Strength and Power

Build Strength and Power

Greater muscular strength and power translates directly to improved running economy and faster times. Dedicate time to strength training sessions 2-3 days per week. Focus on your core, hips, glutes, quads, and calves with exercises like:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts
  • Box jumps
  • Planks
  • Hill sprints

Increase Mileage Gradually

Running more weekly miles at an easy, conversational pace improves endurance and speed. Increase your mileage no more than 10% per week to avoid injury. Build up to running most miles at an easy pace, with 1-2 weekly speed workouts.

Add Speed Workouts

Speed workouts like intervals and tempo runs challenge your body, improve form, and build speed and endurance. Some top speed sessions include:

Interval Training

Alternate shorter, faster efforts with recovery periods. For example, 8×400 meters at 5K pace with 400m recovery jog.

Tempo Runs

Maintain a comfortably hard pace for 20-40 continuous minutes. Finish feeling challenged, not exhausted.

Hill Sprints

Short, very fast sprints up a moderate incline, walking back down to recover. Build explosive power.

Allow Proper Rest and Recovery

Rest days are as important as workout days. They allow your muscles to repair and get stronger. Avoid overtraining, watch for signs of fatigue, and take 1-2 rest days per week. Sleep 7-9 hours per night.

Perfect Running Technique and Form

Good form and technique will help you run faster with less wasted motion and energy. Have a coach or experienced runner watch you run and provide feedback. Also, film yourself running and compare to proper technique.

Increase Flexibility and Mobility

Tight, stiff muscles hamper performance. Following a dynamic warm-up and post-run stretching routine will improve mobility and flexibility for better speed. Regular yoga also helps.

Watch Your Diet

Eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet with ample protein to repair muscles. Avoid heavy meals before speed workouts. Stay hydrated and ensure proper vitamin and mineral intake. The right fuel will boost speed.

Train Smart

Listen to your body and adjust training as needed. Don’t compare to others. Race yourself and break your own personal records. Recovery and adaptation between hard efforts is when the magic happens.

Conclusion

Running faster requires commitment, smart training, and patience. Improving your speed happens gradually over time through consistency, proper technique, and challenging your limits. Not every workout needs to be all-out. The majority of runs should be at an easy, conversational pace. Add speedwork like intervals or hill sprints 1-2 days per week. Build foundational strength and weekly mileage. Allow proper rest and recovery between hard efforts. Proper fueling and hydration supports your training. With dedication and time, you can run faster and continue achieving new personal bests.

FAQs

Q: How often should I do speed workouts to run faster?

A: Aim for 1-2 dedicated speed sessions per week, like tempo runs, intervals, or hill repeats. More than that risks injury or burnout. Build up mileage gradually for improved endurance.

Q: What muscles should I strengthen to run faster?

A: Focus on compound lower body exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges to build leg power. Core strength helps, too. Also, don’t neglect your upper body – strong shoulders and arms drive proper form.

Q: How can I improve running form and technique?

A: Have an experienced runner or coach analyze your form and provide tips. Also, film yourself running and compare to proper technique videos online. Cue yourself to fix errors.

Q: How soon can I expect to see improvements in my running speed?

A: You should begin seeing small improvements in a few weeks if following a proper training regimen. However, big speed gains take months of consistent, progressive training. Be patient and trust the process.

Q: Should I get a personal trainer for help with getting faster?

A: Seeking guidance from a running coach, personal trainer, or experienced runner can help analyze weaknesses and provide custom training plans. Especially beneficial for breaking through a plateau.