fitness

7 Tips To Help You Run Faster

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7 Tips To Help You Run Faster
How To Run Faster

So you’ve been running for a while, your stamina is pretty high and you’re ready to take things to another level — you want to learn how to run faster. 

Maybe it’s so you can smash your PB (personal best) on your daily run, train for a marathon, or simply continue to develop your running performance in general.

No matter your reason, you can work towards improving your running speed by following these tips on how to run faster!

How to run faster

With any fitness goal, a strong and detailed plan is the best way to set yourself up for success — and education is key when it comes to learning how to run faster. 

You might think that to run faster you need to run more, and while the frequency of your runs plays a part, there are plenty of other ways you can work towards your running goals. 

Follow these tips and you’ll be outrunning others in no time:

Focus On Your Form

1. Focus on your form

If you’ve been a runner for a long time, good running form might already be second nature but if you haven’t been running regularly, it’s important to recognise how your form can impact your performance. 

Here are some running techniques to ensure good form:

Breathe through your belly

As you run, try to breathe air into your belly rather than into your chest, and use both your nose and your mouth to inhale and exhale. 

“Shallow breathing” is when you take smaller breaths of air into your chest, usually through your mouth. You want to avoid this style of breathing when running as it can limit the amount of oxygen to your muscles, which can make it much more difficult to run.

Keep your gaze forward

When you're a beginner, it can be tempting to look at your feet while running — this might be to ensure there are no obstacles in your way that could cause potential injury. 

While it’s important to ensure the path in front of you is clear, you should keep your gaze forward while running. A good way to do this is to find an object in the distance and focus on it. 

Some studies suggest that having a target in sight can give you the motivation to reach your destination faster. According to a 2014 journal article “Focused and fired up: Narrowed attention produces perceived proximity and increases goal-relevant action” by Cole, S., Riccio, M., & Balcetis, E. and published by the American Psychological Association, their research revealed those who participated in physical activity and who “...adopted a narrow focus of attention, compared to participants who looked around the environment... perceived a target as physically closer... and [had] increased subjective ease of physical task performance.” Narrowed attention also showed to reduce the time required to get to a finish line. 

Avoid hunching

Another benefit of keeping your gaze ahead is that you’ll be more likely to maintain good posture. While running, ensure your head is up and your upper body is straight — hunching your shoulders or carrying too much tension in your upper half can lead to neck, shoulder or lower back pain.

Swing your arms

Bend your arms at 90-degree angles and as you run, swing them back and forth — rather than side-to-side. This motion will help to propel you further with each stride. 

Aim to bring your hand back to your hip — or further — and avoid clenching your fists.

Protect your knees

Ensure you land on your midfoot as you hit the ground and bend your knees slightly to lessen the impact. 

You should also keep your feet pointed in the same direction you are running.

Do HIIT Workouts

2. Do HIIT workouts

HIIT training is a great way to help build cardiovascular health and positively impact your running speed and overall stamina. 

If you’re stuck for HIIT ideas and can’t get to the gym, you can try Sweat trainer Chontel Duncan’s FIERCE at Home program in the Sweat app — it requires minimal equipment and can be done from the comfort of your home! 

3. Mix up your running style

Rather than running at the same pace every session, set yourself a schedule with a particular focus.

There are a few styles of running you can incorporate into your weekly routine to improve your endurance, speed and strength. These include:

Speed intervals

This is a form of HIIT training. While there are a few different ways you can use speed workouts to boost your running performance, a good place to start is to alternate between speed running and jogging. To do this, jog for several minutes, then incorporate one minute of hard sprints, before returning back to a comfortable jog. 

If you’re running outdoors, it can be difficult to time your intervals so an alternative could be to jog until you reach a certain landmark, then sprint until you reach another landmark a short distance away, before returning to a jog. 

This style of training over time can help you improve your speed and endurance. 

Hill runs

Incorporating regular hill runs into your training can help improve your muscular strength and your running speed long-term. Hill runs can also be less stressful on your joints.

Tempo runs

Simply put, a tempo run is a long run at a fast and consistent pace that will help to improve your metabolic fitness and increase your VO2max, or how effectively your body uses oxygen for metabolism. Over time, you'll notice an increase in your lactate threshold (LT), or the speed that you can run before your muscles begin to fatigue from a buildup of lactic acid.

Alternating length of runs

Gradually increasing your running distance will help build up your stamina over time, as well as your ability to run faster.

Body Composition

4. Change your body composition

Reducing your body fat percentage can be beneficial when you are working on running faster — if you have an excess of body fat, it can impact how easy it is for you to run at a fast pace. A healthy, well-balanced diet will help to support your goals and provide your body with the energy it needs to function at its best.  

Remember, there is a difference between fat loss and weight loss, so it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself. If significant fat loss is something you want to achieve, it is best to seek advice from your health professional. 

5. Try strength training

Incorporating strength training twice a week can benefit your running. Building muscular strength means your muscles can work more efficiently, you’ll reduce your risk of injury, and improve your power and coordination for your runs.

6. Schedule in rest days

It’s important to balance your training days with rest days so that your muscles can recover. 

To help optimise your recovery, make sure you incorporate a warm-up and cool down before and after each workout, including your runs.

7. Stretch regularly

Active recovery sessions such as yoga can help to stretch and lengthen your muscles and improve flexibility. Yoga also offers a range of health benefits and can complement your journey to improving your running speed.

Create a plan and get running!

If you want to pick up your running speed, you can start by incorporating some of these tips into a detailed weekly plan.   

Following a plan will also help you track your progress, and motivate you to continue working towards your health and fitness goals. 

If you’ve been running for a while, you can join the discussion in the Sweat forum and connect with other runners in the community to share your journey.

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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