This may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out on this one….. if you want to become a faster runner then it’s important to incorporate some running at your target race pace or faster within your training. However, faster running is tough on the body and needs to be respected as it takes longer to recover from it. Many people, elite athletes included, fail to realise that in order to reap the benefits of these faster sessions, your body needs to recover to allow it to adapt to and absorb the training.
This is where running slowly comes in, particularly if you run on consecutive days. In the days following a hard effort you should take your foot off the gas and ensure that you run at an easy pace. Roughly two minutes per mile slower than your best pace for a half marathon should do the trick.
Slowing the pace down on my easy days leaves me physically and mentally refreshed and ready to tackle my next hard workout more effectively.
It has taken me years to master the art of running slowly when I need to. But I’ve found that slowing the pace down on my easy days leaves me physically and mentally refreshed and ready to tackle my next hard workout more effectively.
Whenever you’re running long it’s a good idea to take on board some carbohydrate, particularly as your body can only store enough glycogen for roughly ninety minutes of exercise. It’s obviously not practical to start munching on a bagel mid-run, so energy gels make a great alternative as they contain carbohydrate that’s easily digestible. I always feel faster once I’ve taken an energy gel. I swear there’s a bit of a placebo effect too, but hey, if it works!
If you want to become a faster runner it’s important to work on your leg cadence and running form. ‘Strides’ are a great way to do this without having to hammer yourself with lots of speed work. Once or twice a week after an easy run, complete 6 x 75-150m with a walk back recovery. You should be running at close to your maximum speed without actually sprinting.
‘Strides’ train your nervous system to allow you to maintain a faster rate of leg turnover during your races. They have helped me to retain some leg speed when I’ve been doing lots of miles in marathon training.
Reserve your racing kit
Reserving special kit for race day is a great trick to make you feel faster. It’s an association thing; when you put that vest and shorts on, you know it’s time to race fast! However, it’s a good idea to test your race kit out in training beforehand to make sure that it fits correctly and doesn’t chafe.
Run with music
Running with some tunes can definitely help to ramp up your speed! Research has shown that through influencing your mental state, music can enhance your physical performance.
There is strong evidence to suggest that the synchronisation of movement with music leads to greater endurance and movement efficiency, so pick a playlist with an upbeat tempo and run to the beat! The other way in which music can help to make you a faster runner is by distracting you from the sensations of effort and fatigue.
So, there are my five tricks to help you run faster. I hope they help!