It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to running or if you’re Usain Bolt. If you like to run, you will eventually want to get faster. It’s an addictive but very healthy habit to have! Whether it's your first 5k or your 50th marathon, you’ll notice the biggest changes during your first two to three months of training. Gradual and consistent training is the way you enhance your performance, no matter what. What that training should look like you might ask? Here are some training tips to help you increase your running speed.
Increase the Distance Gradually
Our bodies are resilient. They’re designed to adapt quickly to new stimuli and that means that if your body gets used to a certain intensity, mileage or speed, it will learn how to perform that task over time and get used to it. To keep increasing your strength, endurance and speed, you’re going to have to make your running workout harder each time.
As you do your daily runs, increase your distance incrementally. You can pick a distance for a week and then keep your body challenged by adding a few feet or even half a mile or even another mile the following week. It’s not smart to add too much too fast, like a whole extra mile after getting used to one distance for 3 days because you could end up injuring yourself with things like shin splints. Keep it steady and gradual and you’ll see a significant improvement in your speed before you know it.
Be Consistent To Build Endurance
Like anything, consistency is key. Make running a habit! Follow through on your goals for each session and build on them. Once you have this down pat and you find yourself running almost easily for longer distances, you can begin to start adding speed goals. Sometimes investing in some new gear is all you need to help jumpstart your motivation. Get yourself some lightweight, arch supporting and comfortable running shoes, first. Then match them to a workout look! Choosing something unique and exciting will give you that extra enthusiasm you need. Try something bright and vibrant to channel energy - like a uniquely printed legging and sports bra set or biker shorts. It’s a way to get your mind in the game!
Adding resistance to your workout routine can help your speed-to-strength ratio. This refers to your ability to generate a greater force and sprint faster when you first start running as well as any boosts in accelerations as you run. From weighted vests to kettlebells, dumbbells and resistance bands, all of these will help you add that extra level of difficulty to strengthen your muscles and boost your speed when you’re running.
Run Hills or on an Incline
Running hills is a powerful way to supercharge your speed training.This can take you from aerobic running to sprint repeats on a track. Uphill training helps you become a faster runner and increases your VO2 max which makes you a more efficient runner. VO2 Max is a measure of how much oxygen a person can use during an intense exercise. Studies have shown that the better your body can use oxygen, the more energy you'll be able to output and the faster and longer you'll be able to run.
The stronger your muscles are, the more power and speed you’ll get out of them. That’s why it’s important to pair weight training with your running, stamina and agility training. Lifting heavy weights like barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells can help runners develop their power and build core muscles. A review published in 2017 in the Sports Medicine journal concluded that pairing strength training with a running routine just 2 to 3 times a week had a significantly positive effect on running performance.
Lastly, taking breaks and listening to your body is super important to staying healthy and not getting injured. Push yourself consistently but don’t overdo it. Trust the process and graduate incrementally - you’ll be lightning fast before you know it!