How to run faster

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speed-training-exercises

How to run faster?

How to run faster – running is a combination of mechanics (movement) and physiology (fitness).

The mechanical side, also known as biomechanics, looks at footwear and ground reaction force.

The physiology side looks at how you can improve your body’s heart and lungs ability to provide oxygen to the working muscles.

In order to improve as a runner, you must look at the biomechanics and physiology of running to keep making improvements and to avoid injury.

Improve running technique (biomechanics)

Running technique is made up of several different factors, such as:

  • stride length
  • cadence
  • running posture
  • arm propulsion
  • foot placement
  • muscle recruitment

There may be a number of these components that can improve your running.

I would like to focus on how just improving stride length can make you run faster.

 

 

Good running technique

In the green diagram the body’s centre of gravity can easily pass over the striking leg and because there is no breaking force you maintain the momentum gained from the backswing causing continuous forward movement producing a more efficient stride.

Bad running technique

There is an optimal stride length for your legs but once this is exceeded (red diagram), it will slow you down.

Over-striding causes the heel to strike with the toe pointing upwards.

Because the leg is so far out in front of the body it places a breaking force on the body, so each stride you take to move forward will be broken momentarily by the heel strike.

This will make your run a stop, start, stop and start action.

how-to-run-faster-and-longer

 

Strength training (biomechanics)

Not only does this help you to prevent injury, but it also helps you run faster by improving the force production of your legs.

Once you increase your maximum strength then your average force production will increase as well.

On average it takes 1400 steps to complete a mile (this can vary according to stride length and leg turnover speed), so a 5% increase in force production with every stride you take over 5 miles will knock minutes off your time.

This can be achieved without increasing bulk.

how-to-run-really-fast

Perform anaerobic work (physiology)

If your goal is to get faster, you need to do speed work once a week up to a maximum of twice a week.

Sprint training is a great way to improve long distance running and I mean flat-out sprints lasting between 10-30 seconds followed by a rest period.

This type of training is known as interval work, which combines both anaerobic and aerobic work.

Try this interval workout once a week

  • 60 metre run (flat out) x 4 with a 1:4 work-rest ratio.
  • As you get fitter, increase your repetitions and use for 6 weeks.
  • By the end of 6 weeks you should be doing 8 reps.
  • If it is too easy, decrease the exercise to a rest ratio of 1:3.
  • if you’re an experienced runner start with a minimum of 8 reps.

Note

A rest ratio of 1:4 is a more accurate way to determine rest periods. It means that if it takes you 10 seconds to perform your first sprint than your rest period is 40 seconds, and if it takes 15 seconds to complete your sprint than 60 seconds is your rest period.

Workouts to help you run faster

You can lose fat, get toned, and run in just minutes everyday with these runs. I suggest that you only do one of these workout once a week for your first 6 weeks if you are a beginner.

 

It is important that you build up an endurance base for the intensity of some of the runs suggested.

 

After 4-6 weeks

 

If you are running 5 or more times a week, I recommend that you do 1-2 long runs at a slow steady pace for up to an hour.

 

This will help you build endurance for the short hard runs. The other 3 runs should be at high intensity.

 

If you are running less then 5 times a week only do 1 long run, and the rest should be high intensity runs. 

How to run faster using high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts

A lot of people do not understand the intensity you have to workout for a workout to be HIIT. You have interval training and then you have HIIT.

Think about if Usain bolt raced Mo Farah in a marathon and ran the first 100 meters at his fastest pace in just under 10 seconds.

He would be fatigued and would need time to recover. He would not be able to sustain that pace for 26 miles!

When you do your hit workout you will not be running at a speed that you can maintain for 2 minutes +.

The benefits of this workout is that you will get a massive release of growth hormone. These workouts are best done outside.

15 running workouts for increased running speed

 

  1. 60 meter or 10 second sprints

You can do this work out with an interval timer or by marking out a distance.

If you do not have an interval timer do it this way (It is good to do it this way as it gives you a marker and it is easier to see when you are slowing down)

You can measure out 60 meters using a tape measure, or by taking 40 big strides that represent one meter.

Run 60 meters as fast as you can without holding back. This should take about 10 seconds (If it is taking longer then 10 seconds then shorten the distance)

Rest for 30 seconds

Repeat for a maximum of 30 times = 20 minutes

The first time doing this workout, if you are going all out you will likely only do 7-10 sprints. Remember that HIIT isn’t easy and maybe one day you may get to 20 sprints.

If you are super fit you may one day do 30 sprints, but do not worry if you can’t last for 20 minutes as you will burn a lot of calories and release fat burning hormones in the process.

If you have an interval timer do it this way

Make sure you are wearing head phones so that you can hear when you need to start and stop.

  • Set your work interval for 10 seconds
  • Set your rest interval for 30 seconds
  • Run for 10 seconds as fast as you can without holding back.
  • Rest for 30 seconds

Repeat the 10 second runs with 30 seconds rest for a maximum of 30 times

Total time = 20 minutes

 

  1. 120-meter sprint or 20 second sprints

You can do this work out with an interval timer or by marking out a distance.

If you do not have an interval timer do it this way (It is good to do it this way as it gives you a marker and it is easier to see when you are slowing down)

Measure out 60 meters in the same way outlined for the 60 meter sprint…..

Run 60 meters as fast as you can decelerate and turn around and sprint back to your start position as fast as you can. This should take 20 seconds. (If it is taking longer then 20 seconds then shorten the distance.)

Remember this only works if you put 100% into every run. If you pace yourself for each interval so that you don’t get too tired you are cheating yourself and you will not get the benefit.

Rest for 60 seconds

Repeat a maximum of 15 times (20 minutes)

You may only do 6-9 sprints the first time and this is fine. 20 minutes of HIIT takes a lot of fitness to complete.

If you have an interval timer do it this way

Make sure you are wearing headphones so that you can hear when you need to start and stop.

  • Set your work interval for 20 seconds
  • Set your rest interval for 60 seconds
  • Run for 20 seconds as fast as you can without holding back.
  • Rest for 60 seconds

Repeat the 20 second runs with 60 seconds rest for a maximum of 15-20 times.

Total time = 20 minutes

 

how-to run-faster-for-longer

  1. Shuttle runs
  • Mark out your start position
  • Place a marker 5 meters from your start position
  • Place another marker 10 meters from your start position
  • Place a marker 15 meters from your start position
  • Sprint to the first line and back (5 meters)
  • Sprint to the second line and back (10 meters)
  • Sprint to the 3rd line and back (15 meters)
  • Rest for 30 seconds

Repeat a maximum 15-20 times, however it is likely that 7 will be your limit first time around.

Total time = 20 minutes

How-to-run-faster

  1. Football pitch sprints

 

Try to find a small football pitch as a full-size pitch will be too difficult. If not you can easily mark out a suitable size area at your local park (20 meters, 20 meters, 20 meters and 40 meters).

On the last three workouts you had a full recovery. On this workout you will have what is called an active recovery.

This means that you will lower your heart rate by going at a slower pace by jogging. If you find that this is not getting your heart rate down enough you can walk and run in between your runs.

  • Jog along 3 sides of the pitch (you can walk as well)
  • Sprint along the halfway line (run at the fastest speed possible without holding back)
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times
  • You may find that 3-5 sprints are all that you can manage first time. This is fine 😊

 

  1. Fartlek run

This workout is more random and can be performed in line with how you are feeling on the day. You will not need stop watches, football pitches or to mark out areas.

You will run on the road or in a park at a low intensity.

When you get to a lamp post or a tree of your choosing you will sprint as fast as you can to the next tree or lamp post.

Once you get to that lamp post you recover by jogging until you decide that you want to sprint from one tree or lamp post to the next one.

Repeat this for a maximum of 20 minutes.

First time around aim for 5-20 minutes if you are new to running.

How to run faster with hill running

This is a great way to improve as a runner and to lose weight. It also provides variety to your workouts.

Some of the Benefits are:

  • Massive after burn
  • Improved resistance to fatigue
  • Increase in stroke volume (blood pumps more heart)
  • Increase in running endurance
  • Increased strength
  • Improved running economy
  • Recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibres to release fat burning hormones

 

  1. Hill repeat shuttle runs

A quick note about shuttle runs. The benefits of these runs will help you to lose weight, but it will also make improve your running strength, economy and cadence.

You will burn calories after your run as well during. Due to the nature of downhill running you may experience soreness in your quads (front of your legs), so only do this once a week.

Do a 10-15 minute warm up so that you arrive at the bottom of the hill read to go. Choose a hill that isn’t too steep but will work you hard.

  • From the bottom of the hill run for 5 seconds as fast as you can and then walk back down to the bottom for recovery
  • Run for 10 seconds from the bottom of the hill and walk back down
  • Run for 15 seconds from the bottom of the and walk back down to the bottom.
  1. Hill sprints

10-15 minutes of easy running to get you warmed up. Make sure that you time it so that you reach the bottom of the hill at the end of your warm-up.

  • Sprints for 7 seconds as fast as you can uphill
  • Recover for 60 seconds
  • Repeat 8-10 times (4 if you are a beginner)
  1. Hill repeats

Run at an easy pace for 10-15 minutes to warm up. Perform some dynamic stretches before you start your hill repeats.

  • Run up a hill for 1 minute at your 5k running pace
  • Jog for 1-2 minutes for recovery
  • Repeat 6-8 times.
  • Perform a 20-minute cool down and stretch for 10 minutes
  1. Downhill repeats

Find a hill that is 100 meters in length and a gradient of 2-3%. These down hill sprints will work on your quads and will help improve your running cadence to make you a better runner.

  • Run uphill at a gentle easy pace
  • Run down hill at a hard pace that you’re comfortable with
  • If you feel that your breathing is too comfortable, push yourself harder.
  • Repeat 2-4 times.
  • Perform a 5-minute cool down with 10 minutes of stretches
  1. Downhill loop

Are you wondering what a hill loop is? A hill loop is a a hilly root that starts and ends at the same point.

You will try to start from the point where you are mainly running downhill. Find a hill loop that is 1.5 miles long.

  • 10-15-minute run to take you to the starting point of the hill.
  • Run up hill at an easy moderate pace
  • Run downhill at a fast but comfortable pace.
  • Cool down and stretch at the end of this workout
  1. Uphill loop

This is the reverse of the downhill loop.

  • 10-15-minute run to take you to the starting point of the hill.
  • Run up hill trying to maintain the same output that you would if you were running on a flat.
  • Do not worry if it feels slow, try to maintain this pace
  • Pay attention to your breathing and slow down if it your breathing gets to fast.
  • Run downhill at a easy comfortable pace.
  • Cool down and stretch at the end of this workout

 

  1. Uphill progression run

This is a long run steady state run with 10 to 15 minutes of intense running at the end when you are tired.

  • Run at an easy pace for 30-60 minutes to take you to the bottom of your chosen rolling hill.
  • Run for 10-15 at minutes uphill or on a rolling hill at a moderate to fast pace
  • Finish with a cool down and stretches.

 

How to run faster using Tempo runs

These intense long runs that will give your metabolism a super charge and boost your resistance to fatigue.

They are not as intense as HIIT training. By intense I mean the percentage of your maximum sprint speed that you would run for 100 meters.

For HIIT you will be close to nearly 100% of your sprint speed, whereas for these runs you will be closer to 60-70% of your sprint speed.

However, although the intensity is lower the difficulty is the same as it is longer than a HIIT workout.

  1. Maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) run.

This is a run that improves your tolerance to lactic acid. Lactic acid is the burning sensation you feel in your muscles when you are fatigued.

You will need a heart rate monitor for this workout.

Workout your maximum heart rate by deducting your age from 220. If you are 35 years old the equation would be:

220 – 35 (age) = 185

This is the maximum times your heart should beat in one minute. Above this number it is deemed unsafe.

You want to work at 80% of your max heart rate.

185 (max hr) x 0.8 = 148 (80% of your max heart rate).

  • Run for 15 minutes to warm yourself up
  • During your warmup you should see your heart rate gradually increase.
  • Within the last 2-3 minutes of your warmup your heart rate wants to be at 80% of your max heart rate or very close to 80%
  • Run for 20-60 minutes at 80% of your max heart rate
  • Cool down for 5-10 minutes and perform stretches

 

  1. Maximal lactate steady state interval run

You will work alternate between working above and below 80% of your max heart rate. You achieve the same thing as workout 13, but this type of run keeps your mind more focused.

  • Warm up for 15 minutes before the start of the run gradually bring your heart rate up to 80% of your max heart rate.
  • Run for 2 minutes at 75% of your maximum heart rate
  • Run for 2 minutes at 85% of your maximum heart rate
  • Repeat these alternating speeds for 20-60 minutes
  • Cool down for 5-10 minutes and perform stretches

 

  1. Tempo run

Choose your distance. As you are going for a 20-minute workout let’s try 1000 meters.

Once you have determined the pace you need to run at to work at 90% of your max heart rate, you must run every 1000- meter interval at this speed.

Make sure that you can run 1000 meters at this pace with good form and without having to strain.

If you find that you are not able to run this pace for this distance without straining you should drop your distance down to 800 meters, 600 meters or 400 meters depending on what is appropriate.

  • Start with a 10-15 minute warm up to gradually increase your heart rate to 90% of your maximum heart rate
  • Run 1000 meters (Less if you are not able to maintain form) at 90% of your maximum heart rate.
  • After each run you can have a short recovery where you will walk for 30 seconds to about 45 seconds maximum for recovery.
  • Repeat this for 20 minutes which should be about 4-6 times.
  • If you are a beginner, you can repeat 2-3 times.
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Gerald has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise, Nutrition & Health. He is an ASA qualified swimming teacher, and a qualified personal trainer. Gerald has developed his own exclusion diet, which he uses to help his clients lose weight.

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