When you first start running, you’ll likely see improvements in your running quickly and easily. Spending more time running on the pavement or treadmill may result in you being able to run faster. But pretty soon you’ll notice that those speed gains stop coming and you wonder, what else can you do to run faster?
Building speed and running faster requires a different approach. Tacking on a few minutes to your running session may help a bit but it won’t be very efficient. Here are a few techniques to help you pick up your pace:
1. Shed some weight
The less weight you have, the more easily you can move. You can lose 2, 5 or 10 pounds and whatever this weight is, it will help improve your running speed. Studies show that losing a pound of weight helps you gain 1% in speed.
2. Strengthen your core
Your core muscles stabilize your spine when running, keeping you upright and prevent over-rotation. A strong core also prevents fatigue in your hips working in tandem with your hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors to improve your stride.
3. Optimize your breathing
Your breathing and heart rate can go up to an uncomfortable level during speed work. Make sure you know how to breathe correctly for your runs and you begin by doing belly breathing so you can fill your lungs with as much air as possible. Even running on a treadmill at the YMCA requires that you do correct breathing.
4. Warm up properly
We all know that a warm up is necessary before you start running to prevent pain or injury. But it does more than that. A proper warm up readies your muscles for faster running. If your goal is to improve your run, you need to spend more than just 5 minutes for this. This 15-minute warm up routine should point you to the right direction.
5. Do some pre-run drills and strides
Running with proper form will help you run faster. Your body needs to be correctly aligned, with an engaged core, hips forward and shoulders straight. Train yourself to be able to run with proper form even at faster speeds by doing pre-run drills and strides so you can continue to improve your form and mechanics.
6. Don’t overlook recovery and rest
After your runs, stretch your muscles and use a foam roller to help prevent soreness and injury. You should also make sure you are properly hydrated, get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet as these things do help improve your running speed.
Workouts To Make You Faster
These drills aren’t the easiest ones you’ll find out there but can definitely help you run fast longer and prevent injury.
You can build up intensity by means of strength training and this 4-minute burpee exercise is definitely a game changer:
- Stand tall, toes pointing straight with your feet hip-distance apart.
- Hinge your hips back and place both hands on the floor.
- Jump or step back to a straight arm plank.
- Then do a “controlled crash” to the floor–hips and chest touching the surface.
- Now pull your chest upward and snap the hips to reverse the arch.
- Bring both feet just under your hips and return to standing.
- Raise your arms over your head.
- Do as many burpees as you can for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 and repeat.
- Continue with this exercise for a total of 4 minutes.
Our hips help generate power and speed for our running. You need to keep the stable and strong. This Box Jump workout can help you do exactly that.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart.
- Drop into a squat position with your arms swinging at your back.
- As your feet leave the ground, squeeze your core and raise both knees as close to your best as you can.
- Bend your legs and flex your feet so you can reach a higher surface.
- When landing, aim to sink straight into a squat.
- Squeeze your butt and press your heels to return to standing.
- Do 2 or 3 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest in between sets.
Here’s what happens to your body when you do 50 burpees a day: