Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Run faster!

So you're a runner. Or maybe you want to be. But you feel slow, or maybe you've had the same pace for the last 3 months. The thing is, if you keep running at your current pace - you will stay at that pace. In order to run faster - you have to, well, run faster. Sounds like I'm being a smart aleck, I know. But just go with me on this. Imagine you're trying to get better at something else; like speaking in public. The only way to get better at it is to practice it. So in that same vein, the only way to get faster is to practice being faster.

Here's a good way to train to be faster...

On one of your runs every week, start interval training for speed. So, for example, jog lightly for a few minutes to warm up, then run faster than your normal pace for about 1 minute. You should not be sprinting, keep it just shy of that. When your 1 minute of fast pace is over, jog at your normal pace for 2 minutes. Now, run that faster speed again for 1 minute and then your normal pace again for 2 minutes. You get the picture. Repeat this for your entire run if you can. If it's too difficult to do this for your entire run, at least try to get in 5 repeats of the pattern. Don't forget to cool down and stretch as usual. You are stretching after every run, aren't you?

Once these speed days are feeling better and better, you can start to increase your 'speed' interval. After a few weeks you can start running the fast pace for 2 minutes and recover for 1 minute and repeat. You're training your body, muscles, and the tiny little fast twitch muscles to accept that faster pace. Start working in 2 speed days a week and before you know it, your pace will just increase.

Working up to longer runs will also help your pace on shorter runs. For instance, when I started running 4-5 miles on the weekend, my weekday 2-3 milers got a bit faster. It's just that they become 'easier' so you're able to push harder.

It may also be helpful to run with someone with a faster pace than you (just not TOO much faster!) - you'll probably push yourself harder because you're running with them. Get out of your comfort zone, that's how you progress!

Anyone have any other tips for increasing your speed? We'd love to hear it, comment below! :)

~To your health~

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