While visiting the Chatbox, runnerfish asked the question on how he can improve his speed. He has finished a 10K run already and wants to run faster and eventually hit the sub-50 mark. I started running with 10K races and for 4 years, I have never reached the sub-50 mark. The closest I could get is 52 minutes. While others have reached it in a few months time. What’s the secret?
I don’t think it’s really a secret since a lot of information are ou there. But just any other goals, you could never achieve a new outcome by doing the same things again and again. To run faster, you should do something new.
I didn’t reach sub-50 yet but I have improved from 1:06 to a 52 minutes in 10K. Along the way, I have gathered some tips to share with you to improve your race times. Here are some of them.
1. Include speed workouts in your training each week. To run faster you must train to run faster. A common speed workout is a tempo run. The definition of tempo runs can vary. But most coaches refer to it as a 30 minute run at 80% effort. Do this once a week and limit to 30 minutes only. A one hour speed run is not a tempo run.
Another speedwork out is interval training. Commonly done in a track oval, you alternate between running the 400m at a fast pace then a recovery pace then fast again then recover. As you improve, reduce the recovery time. If you don’t have a track oval nearby, a short loop in your subdivsion, park or street will do.
2. Increase stride rate. It means to achieve an average 180 steps per minute just like the elite athletes. I wrote more about it here.
3. Do hill trainings or hill repeats. This is a great way to built strength. Run hard going up the hill and recover with a slow jog when you run down. Repeat 3-4 times then increase to 8 repititions.
4. Lose weight. Research shows that you increase 2 second per mile whenever you lose 1 pound. Cool.
5. Get lighter shoes. There are shoes that are designed to be lighter to lessen your total weight. A few ounces lighter can mean some seconds improvement in your PR.
6. Consult a coach. You might want to consider getting a coach to check your running form, give you expert advice and help you reach your goal faster.
7. Rest. I don’t recommend running two speed tranings a week unless you are comfortable with the speed already. Give yourself some rest and allow your muscles to recover.
Just a reminder. Speed increases the risk of injury so training properly. Don’t run too fast too soon. Be guided with a training program and follow it. Listen to your body.
Expect things to develop gradually. So don’t be disappointed if you can’t sustain your target speed even for just 5 minutes or if you missed your goal but mere seconds. There are plenty of races. With determination, you will eventually get there.
Get more tips to share? Leave a comment below.
Check some books on how to run faster from these great writers. I have the first one Run Faster from 5K to the Marathon by Brad Hudson. Haven’t read it though. Run Less Run Faster from Runner’s World has great reviews and Run Fast is from running expert Hal Higdon.
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