*Courtesy of Jennifer’s Writing
I cannot remember a time in my running career that I have not wanted to be faster than I am. I have always wondered what it must feel like to cross the finish line well before the rest of the pack—to be an elite runner. As it is though, I’m usually at mile 2 of a 5K when the winner is crossing the line.
Unfortunately, I do not give up easily, so my quest to be faster continues even with father time trying to hold me back. The real truth is that I know exactly what I need to do to be faster, but doing the hard work required to do it is not always easy for me. I would like to share with you some of the wisdom that I have learned about improving your running speed. In return, please tell me to start making goals and stop making excuses!
Getting Faster Means Running Fast
I know this sounds like, “Well, duh,” but we can train our body to do almost anything and if we want to run fast, we have to practice running fast. I like to do a routine at the gym where I run the ramp to warm up and then I get on a treadmill and run the mile pace that I want to be able to run. I run at that pace for as long as I can, then I take a minute break, run again, take a break and repeat. I do that four times and then work up until I can run that pace for a mile. You can do that without a treadmill, but it just works better for me.
In my opinion, this is one of the quickest ways to become faster. Find some good hills around you and run them until you are too tired to do it anymore. If you can become comfortable with hills, that can be the part of a race when you can leave a lot of runners behind you, because hills defeat people mentally even more than physically. Develop a mantra for the hills. Say it over and over in your mind as you run up and over. If nothing else, it will distract you!
Have one long run a week. It will make you more confident about the shorter races.
Build Your Core
Sometimes the basics are the best. Sit ups, planks and push-ups will make you a stronger, faster runner because your core will be stronger.
Run With Someone Faster Than You
I need a rabbit to chase when I run, so having friends that are slightly faster than I am is a bonus, in my opinion. It gives me someone to chase. In a race, try to continually make it up to the next person and once you pass that person, focus on the next one.
Flexibility will help your speed and help prevent injuries. I have found that as I have gotten older, I cannot skip stretching. Keeping everything loose reduces the risk of pulling something.
I work best when I have a plan, so if I make some attainable goals, I am more likely to stick to doing the work to attain those goals.
Run The Oval
Doing track work with sprints and other high intensity running will go a long way in improving your speed.