One of the most common DMs I get is how to get faster. When we talk about getting faster or achieving an arbitrary time we should be focusing on why we want to get faster and not focusing on anyone else’s fast. Your fast is your fast and that should be celebrated. You might want to beat your runforheroes 5k or maybe you just want to be able to beat the bus on the run-commute home. Whatever your reason, I have listed below some of the ways you can get faster.
At the end of your easy runs chuck in 4 to 8 strides. A stride is typically a 60 to 80 metre effort at about 90% of your top speed. This will help improve your running form and economy which is important for running faster, as you learn to increase cadence and leg turnover.
You can’t get faster without actually running faster, consistently. This sounds like a no-brainer but you can’t expect to run faster if your training consists of you always running at the same pace. Try adding in some interval sessions and/ or speed work to your weekly runs. By adding these kind of sessions you’ll gradually build up both speed and speed endurance, and will learn how your body reacts to different speeds and intensities.
Running on hills is not only beneficial if you are training for hilly events or ultras up in the mountains. Yes, you can improve your speed by taking on the hills. Training on hills will improve your muscle strength and quicken your stride, therefore making you not only a faster running but a stronger one.
Adding in regular core training can help put a spring in your step. However, training your core should be performed by all runners whether your aim is to get fast or not. When your core muscles are weak, it can lead to imbalances when running. By adding core exercises to your training you will be better able to keep a stable upper body which will help your body transfer energy more effectively and efficiently.
Strength/ resistance training
Either using bodyweight or weights, it has been widely acknowledged that by incorporating strength training 2 or 3 times a week you can increase your speed, vO2 max, and running economy.
Know that it's going to hurt
So we have discussed some of the physiological and bio-mechanical elements that will help you run faster but let’s tune into your mind for a moment. Take a lie down on the couch and tune into your mind. Seriously, running faster is going to hurt. Not even just for the first few sessions, but forever. Know that the sessions will hurt but know that after you finish you’ll be in a better place than where you started. You will be full of endorphins and you will be making tangible progress toward your goals, whatever they might be. Find out first WHY you want to run faster, and you’ll soon find it easier to endure the hurt.
Get used to being out of your comfort zone
It’s easy to just run at a comfortable pace but if you want to run faster, which is why you’re reading this blog post, then you need to leave your comfort zone behind you and get used to being uncomfortable. I leave this one with a quote, “yes the comfort zone is nice, but nothing ever grows there”.
Believe in yourself
Last one. Believe in yourself, like really, really believe in yourself. Everything you need to run faster is already inside of you - you can make it happen.
We’ve unlocked how to become a faster runner, however I think before you start to think about applying a couple of the above disciplines you truly need to work out why you want to get faster. Running is a state of mind where anything is possible and it doesn’t always matter how fast or how far. If you do truly want to become faster for yourself, slowly add a few of my recommendations to your training. I must add, spending the best part of 5 years studying and working with athletes as a Sport Scientist there is no one-size fits all approach and becoming faster encompasses a lot more than what’s at the surface. It won’t be an overnight change. One final whispering from me; if you run fast you’ll need to recover harder, but that’s a whole other blog post.
Go get them tiger.