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How to Run Faster: 7 Essential Areas for Running Speed Improvement

Are you looking to run faster and reach new personal records? Whether you're a seasoned runner or just starting out, improving your speed is a goal many of us share. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore how to run faster by delving into seven critical areas...

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To help you achieve this, we'll delve into seven critical areas you should focus on if you are looking how to run faster and become a more efficient runner.

This is not an exhaustive list and you don’t have to do them all in a training block, I.e. you may have a 6 week period where you focus more on one thing than another.

1. Train for Cardio Fitness to run faster

Cardiovascular fitness is the foundation of running faster. It's all about improving your heart and lung capacity, which allows you to deliver more oxygen to your muscles during a run. To enhance your cardio fitness, consider:

  • Interval Training: Incorporate high-intensity intervals into your workouts. Push hard for a prescribed distance, then recover with a slower pace or a walk. This helps increase your aerobic capacity.

  • Long Runs: Regularly incorporate longer easy runs into your training schedule to build endurance.

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2. Technique Matters: How to Run Faster Through Efficiency

Efficient running technique can significantly impact your speed and reduce the risk of injury. Key elements to focus on include:

  • Posture: Maintain an upright posture with a slight lean forward.

  • Lengthen your stride, achieve this without overstriding, good posture, knee drive and a high heel (hamstring recruitment) will help.

  • Arms: Keeping your arms relaxed, drive from your shoulders, try and ensure movement is in the same plane of motion as you’re moved (forward and back), try and avoid too much rotation.

  • Cadence: Strive for a higher cadence (steps per minute) to improve your running efficiency.

3. Developing the Right Mindset for Running Faster

Running faster often requires a mental shift. Confidence, focus, and perseverance are vital components of the runner's mindset. Consider these tips:

  • Visualise Success: Mentally rehearse your races or training runs going perfectly.

  • Have strategies ready for when things get tough

  • Gamify your runs, by distance or using others.

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4. Strength and Resistance Training for Faster Running

Building muscle strength can help you generate more power and run faster. Incorporate these into your routine:

  • Leg Strength: Squats, lunges, and calf raises can strengthen your leg muscles.

  • Core Strength: A strong core improves stability and posture during runs.

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5. Pay Attention to Nutrition if you want to run faster

Your diet plays a crucial role in your running performance. Fuel your body with the right nutrients for both training and races.

  • Carbohydrates: Provide the energy needed for running. Incorporate complex carbs like whole grains.

  • Protein: Supports muscle repair and growth. Lean sources like chicken, fish, and beans are excellent choices.

  • Hydration: Stay properly hydrated to prevent fatigue and cramping during runs.

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6. Consider Your Physique

The right physique can enhance your running speed. Assess whether you need to make adjustments:

  • Weight Management: If you're carrying excess weight, consider a balanced approach to lose it. Even a small reduction can lead to faster times.

  • Muscle Mass: Evaluate if certain muscle groups are hindering your speed. Focus on strengthening areas that contribute to running performance.

7. Don't Forget Flexibility for faster running

Flexibility and mobility are essential for maintaining proper running form and preventing injuries. Incorporate stretching and mobility exercises into your routine:

  • Dynamic Warm-Up: Perform dynamic stretches before your run to improve range of motion and flexibility.

  • Static Stretching: After your run, engage in static stretching to improve muscle flexibility.

By addressing these seven areas - cardio fitness, technique, mindset, strength, nutrition, physique, and flexibility - you'll be well on your way to learning how to run faster running faster and achieving your speed goals.

If you want more info on these areas and a step-by-step guide on how to run faster you can download my free ‘How to PB parkrun’ or join my 21 day challenge to improve your 5km time where we delve deeper and help you implement these changes.


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