Increasing your running speed should be a priority, whether you just signed up for your first 5K or are looking to improve your marathon time.
I’ve always wanted to become a faster runner. So, I did what most recreational runners (who don’t know better usually) do: I kept running for more miles and miles. Nonetheless, I wasn’t getting any faster, and I got really frustrated.
But, once I started doing some of the stuff shared below, my running speed improved almost within weeks. It goes to show you how much a change in training approach can have on athletic ability!
Today’s post will give you some creative training guidelines to help improve your running speed without having to log more miles. The training strategies I’m providing aren’t going to turn you into the next Flash, but based on my own experience, they can surely add more spring to your foot strike, and that’s a good thing if you ask me.
When it’s done the right way, weight lifting strengthens key muscle groups for faster, more injury-free running. The stronger your leg muscles are, the more force they can generate and absorb. Runners also need strong upper bodies to maintain proper form and mechanics.
Don’t know where to start?
Check these five posts:
Want the good stuff? Add the following exercises to your training arsenal:
Sprint it Out
This is a no-brainer. To run faster, you need to practice running faster. That’s where sprints come into the picture. Sprints boost your stride power and running economy, which helps you run faster, regardless of your chosen distance.
The best way to do sprints is to go to a track and do the following:
Start with a 10-minute warm-up jog, then do some dynamic moves and a few stride-outs to get your body ready for the speedwork ahead.
Next, run at least ten sprints lasting 10 to 15 seconds each. Run them at the fastest pace you can crank out, taking at least one minute of recovery between each sprint.
Finish your workout with a 10-minute cooldown. Jog slowly for a few minutes, then stretch your muscles afterward.
For more interval training workouts for runners, check my post here.
Speed drills are another strategy you can use to improve your running time. These improve running form, increase coordination, and boost running cadence—vital elements of speed.
There are plenty of speed drills you can add to your training program. Here are some of my favorites:
Note: If you’re serious about drill training, then check out The Running WOD Bible by P Selter. You can get it from Amazon for $10 by clicking here.
The 10 Run-Till-You-Drop Commandments by Megan White is another treasure trove on speed boosting tactics. Get it here for $10.
Do you dread seeing a hill appear on your running horizon? Do you turn around rather than attempt to run up the steepest block in your neighborhood? You’re making a mistake. Studies show that hill training once a week helps build muscle strength and boosts speed, increasing your overall running efficiency.
You have many options when it comes to adding hill training to your program. Personally, I recommend short uphill sprints, which I think of as advanced versions of classic sprints.
Here’s how to do uphill sprints the right way:
Find a short hill that takes you 30 to 45 seconds to run up. It should have a 7- to 15-degree incline.
After a thorough warm-up, run up the hill as fast as you can. To achieve maximum speed, focus on using a high knee lift and vigorous arm drive. Your effort should be anaerobic.
Once you’ve hit the top, jog back down to recover, then repeat the exercise for 15 to 20 minutes.
Finish off with a cooldown.
When broken down to its most basic elements, running is really just a form of jumping from one foot to the other. Fortunately, there’s an entire whole training program that makes the most of this fact. It’s called plyometric or explosive training.
Plyometrics has plenty to offer, and it’s a form of exercise you should seriously consider adding to your regimen. Research shows that explosive power movements can significantly increase endurance, agility, and speed.
What’s more? Plyo training requires little time. You can do a few plyo moves after an easy run or add 10 to 15 minutes of jump exercises to your regular strength workouts. Either way works – it’s totally up to you.
Here are the five plyometric exercises I recommend:
For more explosive exercises and workouts, High-Powered Plyometrics is a great source. You can find it here.
One important note: make sure you’re working out with the right gear and equipment — especially a steady jump box. I discovered The Wood Plyo Box while doing CrossFit, and it’s my favorite. You can get it here. Yes, it’s a bit expensive, but it’s a good long-term investment.
Improve Your Running Form
Good form is vital for injury-free running and speed. It helps you move in the most efficient manner with the least risk of injury. What’s not to like!
Here are a few pointers to help:
- Run as tall as you can. Try imagining there’s a thread pulling the top of your head upwards.
- Keep your body relaxed the entire time. Put a special focus on your hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. Tightness adds nothing and wastes your energy.
- Swing your arms forward and backward at low-degree angles.
- Focus on getting your feet to land underneath your body, not ahead of it, and avoid heel striking at all time.
- Fix your broken chains. If you have any weakness in your form, address it with strength exercises or drills at least once a week.
Serious about improving your running form? Then check out my full guide here.
Or go one step further and give the Pose Method a shot. One of the best sources, maybe the only book you’ll ever need on the subject, is “The Running Revolution” by Nicholas Romanov. Here is the link to buy it.
New to Running? Start Here…
If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!
Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?
Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!
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There you have it! The above training guidelines are my best recommendations for helping you boost speed and become a faster runner. I hope they’d work for you as well as they did for me.
In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.
Keep Running Strong