The key to running faster in marathon, half marathon, 5K and 10k races is a training adjustment. Sometimes even a slight tweak will get you faster times, but other times the whole training program needs an overhaul. Whether you are just looking for ways/tips or ideas to increase running speed or you are thinking that your training regimen needs that drastic overhaul, check out the suggestions below for techniques you might want to try.
40 Ways To Run Faster
1. Develop proper running form. If you start running without learning proper form, you could wind up being woefully inefficient, and, worse yet, set yourself up for a variety of debilitating injuries. To run at maximum speed you have to learn how to position your head, chest and shoulders.
2. Leg turnover. Turnover drills probably have the greatest potential for increasing your speed. These are sometimes called foot strike drills. See how many foot strikes you can do in a minute. Strive for about 90, counting only one foot or 160 or more if you count both feet. Don’t pay any attention to how much forward motion you achieve. That’s irrelevant. Just concentrate on rapid foot strikes. Then cool down with an easy jog for a few minutes. Then repeat. Great drill.
3. Don’t over stride. Over striding won’t make you a faster runner, it will just increase the risk of injury. When you over stride you add more force which equals more impact and that equals injury risk. The key is running relaxed and having the awareness to just touch the ground and lift quickly on every stride.
4. Get Proper Running shoes – The shoes you buy should fit your feet size and type. The size is easy but the type of feet is a bit tricky. There are three common types of feet.
To know the type of your feet, wet the bottom of one foot and then step firmly onto a flat surface (tile — or sand — works). If you have a flat foot, you’ll leave a fat, complete footprint. If your footprint appears almost severed in half vertically, so that virtually no print from your arch is visible, then you have a high arch.
Alternatively, carry your old running shoes to the store and the let the sale people examine the wear patterns (the places on your shoes worn smooth by repetitive use) of your old shoes. A knowledgeable shoe guru may get some clues about particular models that will fit you best.
5. Rest More. Some times to run faster you need to run less. Take sufficient recovery, your body needs time to heal itself from the intense running. Otherwise you will get hurt and it’s not worth it. If you are running hard and not seeing the kind of results you want or expect, taking just one extra day off might make the difference, but if it doesn’t, try to take a longer one week break from running.
6. Massage often.
Massage is purported to relieve muscle soreness, shorten recovery time, restore range of motion, remove adhesions, and even improve performance. Catherine Ndereba, queen of the marathon, says massage is the one thing she cannot live without and receives two massages weekly as her reward for running 90+ miles a week.
7. Proper Hydration. Staying hydrated is critical to your running performance and, more importantly, for preventing heat-related illnesses. Dehydration in athletes may lead to fatigue, headaches, decreased coordination, and muscle cramping.
8. Stretch After Running Work Out. Latest research shows, doing regular stretching exercises will make you steadily more elastic, flexible and mobile, and hinder you from getting physically rigid, stiff and slow. Read stretching exercises for more running speed.
How To Increase Your Running Speed Like The Kenyan Runners
9. High Mileage Running. One of the reason Kenyan runners are so good at long distance running is the high volume of running they do. Toby Tanser in his book, More Fire: How To Run the Kenyan way, says the Kenyans run about 130 miles a week with about 30% being high quality. Running – a lot – is the key to distance running. Most of the runners run at least twice a day but some run up to three times. If you can squeeze a few more kilometres into your week, without compromising quality, you will reap the benefits.
10. Consistency. You won’t get faster by running one month and taking an off in the next month. Do consistent running for periods of 3 – 4 months. Anything more than that is over training and you will get fatigued and slower running speed.
11. Train hard. The motto “train hard, win easy” is exemplified by Kenyan runners. If you want to run hard come race day, it’s best to prepare with some sort of speed session (intervals, fartlek, tempo) one to three times a week to get used to the specific effort of your race pace.
12. Get Enough Sleep. After bouts of hard training it is vital that the body has time to repair and recover for the next training session. Kenyan runners incorporate naps into their days and get to bed early.
13. Soft surfaces. Running on dirt trails rather than pavement is much easier on the body. In Kenya all the running is done on trails and dirt roads (of course, this is easy to do in a third world country where paved roads are non-existent). Seek out soft surfaces for most of your running, and your body will thank you.
14. Group training. Seeing a Kenyan run alone is the exception to the norm. Kenyans run in groups during speed sessions as well as their easy runs. Running with a group can provide that extra push during hard runs and it can help keep the easy runs leisurely with chit-chat. Join a running club.
15. No Stress “Hakuna matata.” The Lion King popularized the Swahili phrase “hakuna matata” which, loosely, translates to “no worries.” Kenyans keep stress to a minimum by embracing hakuna matata in their everyday lives. It’s important to leave stress behind to allow your body to perform at its best, and sometimes the best way to relieve stress is to head out the door for a run.
Legal Performance Enhancing Techniques That Will Make you Run Faster
16. Train In High Altitude – In Kenya most of the training is done in 2,400 metres (about 8,000 feet) above sea level where athletes benefit from training in thin air. Which gives them strong hearts and lungs. Training in high altitude has been shown to boost the amount of red blood cells in the body. The more red blood cells you have the more oxygen you can get into your muscles. The more oxygen into your muscles the faster you run.
17. Drink Caffeine. A number of studies have shown significant performance increases in various endurance disciplines, including running, following caffeine ingestion. In one study, elite runners improved their time in a treadmill run to exhaustion by 1.9 percent with caffeine. It appears caffeine enhances performance in shorter events by stimulating the nervous system in ways that enable the muscles to contract faster and more efficiently. In longer events, caffeine delays fatigue by reducing the athlete’s perception of effort.
Exercises & Drills To Increase your running speed
18. Practice running drills. Every running coach has a set of useful drills. Just do a quick research on YouTube and you will get tremendous value.
19. Do plyometrics training. this type of training is an excellent cardio workout, it will develop the lung and cardiovascular explosiveness you need to to increase your running speed..
20. Add interval training to you running program. Sprinting is the best way to enhance your running speed without much thought.
21. Do a tempo running workout. This type of training enhances your body’s capability to deal with lactic acid and fatigue.
Strength Training Exercises to help you get faster at running
22. Run Hills. If you are not already doing regular hill training, try incorporating a hill workout, but only do it once a week, and do it on one of your hard days. If you already have two hard days per week, then replace one of them with a hill day or reduce the rest of the workout to make room for some hill training. There are many types of hill workouts. Just Google “hill training running,” and you’ll get plenty of ideas, but be sure to start gradually with only a small amount the first week.
23. Get Endurance If you want to finish faster. The most important part of long distance training is the the long run, done once a week.. It is an important predictor of your ability to finish a race. In marathon training it has been found that 3 runs of 18 – 22 miles over the 8 weeks prior to the marathon are an important predictor of completing the marathon. The long run is also an important element for middle distance runners. The 10K runner will benefit from runs of 8 miles, 10 miles and even up to 14 miles or more. A 5K runner will benefit from runs of 6 miles, 8 miles and up to 12 miles or so.
24. Do lower body gym exercises. If you’ve never done any weight training, you might be very surprised at how much it can improve your running speed. Do leg exercises targeting the key running muscles, the calf, hamstring, shin, quads, ans ankles. They are the levers that help you propel the legs forward. Be sure you are doing the best exercises for runners.
25. Work on Your Core. Improving core strength helps you to be lighter on your feet. It will help you avoid sinking into the ground with each stride; rather you’ll feel more like you’re gliding over it, which is, of course, faster. Study photos of yourself when at the end of a race. You’ll see that you look like your torso drops closer to the ground with each stride than it did in photos early in a race. Strengthening your core and all other muscles will help this.
26. Do Upper body exercises – After Mo Farah won a double gold in 10,000 meters and 5000 meters at London games, his coach, Alberto Salazar told Daily Mail of UK, the secret to his finishing speed was working with Mo Farah in the gym to build is upper body strength.
27. Stay Lean. The leaner you are the faster you will run. To investigate this, put 5 Kgs of weight in a backpack and go for a run. Nothing will convince you more effectively.
Foods To Help You Run Faster
28. Get the right ratio of carbs, Proteins & fats. A healthy runners diet is one that is high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and sufficient but not excessive in protein. That translates to about 60 percent of your calories coming from carbohydrates, 25 percent from fat, and 15 percent from protein.
29. Eat protein. Your muscles cannot get stronger and can’t recover properly if you are not consuming enough protein.
30. Get Essentials Vitamins and mineral. Running is an impact sport and the biggest casualty is your bones. Stress fracture is a common running injury. Essential Vitamins are K and D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which the body uses to build and maintain strong bones. Vitamin K helps the body regulate calcium levels, form new bone and aid in bone repair. Sardines are naturally rich in both calcium and vitamin D while most calcium-rich milk is fortified with vitamin D. Dark leafy greens and broccoli are rich not only in calcium but also in vitamin K.
Read, 25 best foods for runners.
31. Eat Banana. A good source of carbs, bananas also contain potassium, which runners lose through sweating and help regulate muscle contraction and prevent cramping.
Race Training Tips for Faster Running
32. Go easy before a race. If you want to maintain your running speed, avoid any intense training sessions the week of any race. Too much training on the last week will run down your glycogen stores.
33. Take a weekly yoga class. This is an excellent way to improve core strength, increase balance, and work on flexibility. All will make you a better runner, and improve your form, which will facilitate speed.
34. Run Trails Once in a while. Running through sand, hopping over roots and adjusting to varying uneven ground will require much more mental concentration, but it will also strengthen your ankles and require more balance and increase overall agility. As a result, when you run on pavement it will seem easier, and you will be stronger. An added benefit is that is less stressful in other ways due to the fact that it is soft surface. Therefore, it will be easier on your body in that way.
35. Don’t over train, i.e., work too hard too often, and don’t do anything you are not properly conditioned to do. Keep in mind your age, experience, and current fitness level.
Mental Tactics for running fast
36. Think like a track star. Don’t run to the finish line–run through it, or you’ll slow down. Bob Rotella, Sports Psychologist.
37. Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don’t let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself.” – From Half Marathon Training Book
38. “Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.” -Paul Tergat, Kenyan professional marathoner
39.”Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” – Les Brown
40. It is better, I think, to begin easily and get your running to be smooth and relaxed and then to go faster and faster.” – Henry Rono.
To Your Running Success!
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.” -Irish Proverb