» How to Run Faster

How to Run Faster

February 18, 2012 | Steven McElwee

I have been running for about eight months now, and until the last few weeks, it seemed like I could not achieve a faster pace. I tried all sorts of ways to increase my speed, but to no avail.

My training breakthrough in the last few weeks, allowed me to shave 40 seconds off of my mile pace. That was big for me, especially since it came all of the sudden. What also surprised me was that two of my new training methods did not involve running.

After much research and even more trial and error, here is my top three list for improving running speed:

1. Lunges
Lunges build leg strength right where you need it for running. This added strength allows you to have a more powerful stride. With this extra strength, your legs can propel you much faster. In addition, since I started doing lunges, my feet and legs hurt less after I run, since my muscles can do more of the work, alleviating my joints.

You can find many video clips on how to do lunges. Here is a good example:

You can do lunges with or without dumbbells, depending on your strength. I found running three days a week and doing lunges on my off days was a great tool for building stronger strides and a faster pace.

2. Pilates
Pilates promises to improve flexibility, core strength, and posture. All of these are important for running. I thought that running gave me a strong core, but when I started Pilates, I found out how weak I was. After my first time through a 20 minute workout, I had to lay down because my abs and lower back were so drained.

To do Pilates right, you may want to consider a class, but since my only time to exercise is at 5 AM, I just downloaded a Pilates video and followed along. Like the lunges, I practice Pilates on the days when I do not run.

3. Fartleks
“Fartlek” is Sweedish for “speed play”. They remind you of being a kid and running around – sometimes running as fast as you could. With Fartleks, you run at a normal pace, but at intervals you run fast. When you are ready to slow down, you go back to a recovery pace until you are ready to run fast again. Some people have a regimen for Fartleks in which they run certain distances for speed and recovery, but you can gauge how far you want to run based on how you feel. You can also set milestones, like running as fast as you can to the next intersection.

That’s it – my top three speed training workouts. This has helped me to build a much faster and stronger stride. If you use or try any of these, please comment below on how they are working for you.

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