While running more can improve your running stamina, it won’t necessarily help boost your speed and power.
More mileage every week won’t help you pick up your pace for your next race. In fact, running mile after mile at the same pace can lead you to a running plateau. One of the best ways to increase your pace is to pick it up in short spurts: intervals.
Interval training challenges your legs, strengthens your muscles to run at a faster pace, and improves your cardiac health, which can help you maintain a faster pace come race day.
“An interval workout is like strength training for your heart—it increases maximum stroke volume and cardiac output because you are running at the maximum capability for your heart to do its job. So the heart responds by becoming a better muscle that can pump more blood,” explains Jason Karp, PhD, creator of the Run-Fit Specialist certification and author of Running for Women.
To help you increase your run speed and power, Karp has provided a running drill that you can do once a week. As you feel comfortable with this interval workout, you can increase the drills to twice a week.
10- to 15-minute jog plus 3 x 15-second strides
5 x 3 minutes at VO2max pace
(9 on a scale of 1 to 10; near or at 100 percent max HR)
With 3 minutes jog recovery
10-minute jog, easy pace
NOTE: As always, it’s important to speak with a professional before engaging in any new program.