The need for speed is a common trait among runners. Each person, us included, wants to improve his or her speed. So, how do you do that? Here are a few simple tips to help you.
Have a plan
Benchmark your speed now and over time
Consider running form and conditions
Improve form and breathing
Let's take a closer look at each tip.
Have a plan You can't just go out and runs as fast as possible each time you workout. You must have a periodized plan that accounts for your current ability, varies training intensity at set intervals, and is progressive in nature, meaning it builds upon your abilities over time. The exact plan varies based on the person.
Benchmark your speed now and over time To create the plan, you must have an idea of your current bests. For example, if you're a sprinter, knowing your top 100-, 200-, 400-, and 800-meter times is essential. If you're a mile runner, knowing your best mile time is important. If you're a marathon runner, knowing your best marathon time is important. Generally, you won't want to know just a single metric. For example, the marathon runner will likely want to know his or her marathon time, half-marathon time, and their one-mile time. More than one marker should be used. The specific benchmarks used depends on the individual.
Consider running form and conditions Form is important to any movement a person completes. Movements performed with poor form require more energy, are less efficient, and puts the performer at greater risk of injury than those performed correctly. Take a close look at your form, or have a coach or other capable person do so.
Conditions of the running environment contribute to success. For example, running in extreme heat or cold takes a greater toll on a person, meaning her or she will not perform optimally. The same can be said when running on rough terrain. If you measure your speed for general purposes, such as personal knowledge, pick a track or similar running path and work under moderate weather conditions. If you want to run fast on rocky terrain, over hills, etc., pick a running path that provides this. The conditions trained should match the conditions tested.
Improve form and breathing If your running form and breathing patterns are off, you will never maximize your performance. You must fix gait issues, improper breathing, and other aspects of your form to maximize your performance.
Have questions? Leave a comment. Need help? Contact us. You can also pick up our running manual Run Faster: A 12 Week Training Program.