If you’ve been running for awhile, at some point the runner’s high starts to hit you. Once you get into that zone, you’ll want to run longer and faster. Without proper training, our bodies tend to stay stuck on a plateau. We’ve created this guide on how to run faster to help you take minutes away from your run time.
1. Hit Those Hills
Even if you’re running at a steady pace, running up hills will change your body’s conditioning. Try working on hill training 1 out of every 3 days you run. The harder you push up those hills, the stronger your legs will become. Once you start mastering those hills, you’ll scale minutes off your flat run.
2. Strength Train
Running alone will burn calories and build endurance. Incorporating strength routines will build the essential muscles that you use while running. Running is a full body sport, but your most important muscles are your core (abs and lower back), entire lower region, and shoulders and back. The more balanced your body is, the better each run. Try The Essential Workout for Runners and our Runner’s Strength Training Workout to build your leg muscles and overpower every run.
Running is also a single leg sport. Training legs as individuals helps you push off stronger and continue to build momentum while running. Our 6 Yoga Poses for Stronger Running helps you target your legs separately and make your runs the best yet.
3. Work On Form
Running faster requires your body to move perfectly to get the best results.
- Your upper body should be relaxed. Shoulders down and arms light. Your fists should be slightly opened. Avoid a clenched fist.
- Your arms should swing front to back instead of side to side. This gives you better momentum and also helps tone your abs better. The faster you pump your arms, the faster you can move.
- Your feet should land midfoot for more power and stronger balance. If you’re looking to finish strong, sprinters tend to run on the front of their foot and push off with their toes.
- Longer strides can lead to faster runs. If you’re training, save your energy and perform regular strides. Once you get the mindset to sprint and finish up strong, reach out as far as you can with each foot as you move forward. The longer your stride, the faster your sprint.
4. Food is Fuel
Without the proper nutrition, it’s difficult to reach your fullest level of potential.
- Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, complex carbs, lean protein are all essential for giving our body the necessary vitamins and nutrients for a stronger run. Our 19 Meals for Your Best Run provides options to get you on on the right path.
- Staying hydrated will allow your muscles to move more efficiently with each stride. Eight 8-12 oz glasses of water is ideal depending on body size. However, add 6-8 oz for every additional 15 minutes you exercise.
5. Get The Right Gear
- When running, lighter clothing is always best. The less you have to carry, the better your form and the more comfortable you’ll feel. Excess clothing leads to your body feeling overheated and feeling smothered by all the clothes.
- Lighter sneakers make for faster running. Our feet are all shaped different, so different sneakers work best for each of us. Use our Choosing the Perfect Running Shoes guide to get you started.
In addition to running, try other movements to build legs muscles.
- Jump roping, zumba and even dancing are great ways to build your legs . The faster your feet move in these, the faster your feet can move when running. Our Jump Rope Tabata Challenge and Ditch the Workout, Let’s Zumba! articles provide options to get you moving on your feet.
- Fartlek training is another fun way to add speed to your runs. It involves interval training to condition and shock muscle with various running phases. Increase Speed and Endurance with Fartlek Training will give you all the basics get your feet flying on the pavement!
7. Warm up
Like any workout, running requires a nice warm up to prepare your body for work.
- Stretching in the morning and night should be a standard practice for everyday fitness life.
- Consider dynamic stretching before a run. Dynamic stretches mimic body weight exercises. This will prepare your muscle for the force you plan to place on them. Think prisoner squats and plyometric lunges for great warm ups. For more examples of good stretches, review Which Warm Up is Best For You?.
8. Time Yourself
Unless you’re tracking your runs, you’ll never be able to see your progress. Fitness trackers are one of the best ways to keep track of all your progress. Our guide on How to Choose the Right Fitness Tracker will help you decide which tracker is best for your needs. Numbers count when you’re aiming for speed!
Once you get learn the secrets to faster running try these tips to run your first half-marathon or marathon:
4 Steps to Running Your First Half-Marathon
Tips for Your First Marathon, Triathlon, or Walkathon