Would you like to run faster?
Faster run times can lead to higher confidence and higher self-esteem. Having confidence before a race can lead to better performance.
When you’re training for a race, you’re usually running at the same pace and running for distance. By mixing up your training to run for speed, you’re breaking up the monotony of training.
You’re giving yourself a new goal to shoot for. Rather than aiming for just finishing, why not try to finish a race within a certain time?
If you’re training for your next 5K or marathon, keep reading for tips to improve your running time.
Set Your Running Goals
The starting line for running faster is setting your goals. You want to be sure that you follow the SMART goals outline to reach them. They are:
Your goals will depend on a number of factors, such as how long you’ve been running, your current fitness levels, and what you want to achieve.
For example, let’s say that you’re a beginner and you’re running your third 5K. You’re in decent shape and you just want to improve your time from previous races.
Take a look at your times from those previous races and see what your average pace per mile was. Then, set a goal to shave time off of that per mile pace. A good range is to shave a few seconds off of your run time to start.
Remember, you can always continue to improve that time.
When you’re setting a goal, it’s tempting to reach for the stars, like run a marathon fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. If that’s the case, then instead of having one goal, have one large goal (qualifying for Boston) and then have short-term goals underneath that.
You can set your qualifying race a year out, then plan benchmark races throughout the year to measure your progress. As you train for those races, you’re slowly building up your speed
By using this method, you’re setting yourself up for success and building up your confidence along the way.
Assess Your Starting Point
When you’re setting your goals, you need to assess where you are now. You can do so by taking a variety of self-assessment tests, like this one from the Mayo Clinic.
If you’re not comfortable taking the tests yourself, then you can work with a fitness coach or personal trainer to help you.
You’ll also want to track your current race time if you’re aiming to run faster during races.
Track Your Progress
It’s important to track your progress throughout training. You can take the self-assessment tests throughout your training.
You can then make adjustments to your training if need be.
5 Tips to Run Faster
Now that you have your goals set and know how to track your progress, it’s time to know how you can run faster.
1. Interval Training
You can shake up your training by adding interval training to your training regimen.
Interval training can help you build strength and improve your cardio, which can help you run faster.
Plus, there are a bunch of fitness apps you can play with to help you with your workouts.
Kettlebell training has been proven to improve cardiovascular health and overall endurance. The better your endurance, the easier it is to improve your pace.
2. Improve Your Flexibility
If you want to run faster, you need to be an efficient runner. The better you move, the better your form and more efficient you become. That will lead to a faster pace.
One way to do that is to stretch regularly or take yoga classes.
If you sit all day, your hips are tight, your calves are probably tight and your glutes are weak. That can throw your hips out of whack, causing them to rotate forward.
That can lead to lower back problems and knee issues, or cause injuries keeping you from running.
3. Head for the Hills
One way to run faster is to run up hills. Hill repeats are painful to do sometimes. They build mental strength to survive any challenge during a race.
They’ve also been proven to build leg power by using different types of muscle fibers in your legs.
4. Nutrition & Supplementation
To be an efficient runner, you need to be able to burn fuel.
You can improve your run time by making modifications to your diet and nutrition. If you lose weight, that’s less stress on your joints.
You’ll also want to be sure that you are hydrated not just during training, but during the entire day.
Many runners turn to supplements to eat well on a hectic schedule. Before you turn to supplements, you’ll want to know if there are any side effects.
That’s especially true if you’re currently taking medications. Some medications can affect your heart rate and your metabolism.
For example, the side effects of Narcan can impact your body and you may not know it.
Before you start your program, check with your doctor to make sure you’re clear to run.
5. Get Plenty of Rest
This may seem counterintuitive but getting the right amount of rest plays a vital role in performance.
Your body needs time to recover to rejuvenate, repair itself from the damage the muscles endure during training.
The first thing to do is to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep.
Getting the right amount of sleep helps your mind stay focused and sharp, which leads to improved performance.
Lack of sleep can lead to moodiness and irritability, poor food choices, and injuries. There’s a correlation between the amount of sleep you get and injuries.
Not only do you need to sleep well, you need to take days off from training. There are many factors to know how many rest days you need, such as your age, training experience, and previous injuries.
If you’re just starting out, shoot for training 3 days a week. As you become more advanced, than you can bump up to 4 and then 5 days a week.
Run Faster in Your Next Race
Whether you’re a novice runner or a veteran with thousands of miles under your belt, you always want to improve your run times.
When you have a plan and stay committed to that plan, you can improve your speed and endurance.
That can result in more confidence, better performance, and ultimately, better race times.
If you’d like more health and fitness tips, check out this article on The 7 Rules for Health and Fitness.