Over the course of a week I posted a variety of running tips on my Facebook & Instagram pages. The idea was to help runners get out of their usual slow(er) paced jog and start implementing some different styles of running to increase speed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a leisurely jog with a friend to catch up and laugh and forget that we are actually running, BUT if you want to improve speed and hit some new PR’s you have got to start some harder runs. You can still run with the friend; just don’t expect to talk much until the training run is over! Go grab a smoothie after for the talking time.
RUNNING TIP #1: DO SPEED WORK
Speed work is the key to running faster, but also the type of running that many runners avoid. They often avoid it because 1) it’s HARD &N 2) they don’t really know what to do.
You have to run fast to run fast! This is why speed work is essential. If you have access to a track that is the BEST way to do speed work, but a treadmill or anywhere outdoors will also work just fine.
Add a speed day into your running schedule every week to see progress. If you don’t already have a solid running base, first build that up before attempting speed work.
For half marathon runners you should build up to 800-1200meter repeats; for marathoners build up to 1600meter repeats. Start with the 400’s and add on 200 meters every 2 weeks (600’s, 800’s, 1000’s, etc). Stick to running 4-6 miles (including warm-up & cool down) on speed days.
Try this speed workout to start
- 800 meter warmup
- Dynamic Stretching (see video below)
- 800 meter striders (click for demo)
- 8 x 400 repeats with 1-3 minute rest between
- Run 10% faster than 5k race pace
- 400-800 meter cool down and stretch
RUNNING TIP #2: TEMPO RUNS
Tempo runs help you build up that faster speed over a longer distance. You should NOT be able to have a conversation during this run, but should be able to answer yes or no questions. You are running the tempo pace at an 8 on a scale of 1-10 or approx. 30-40 seconds slower than your most recent 5k pace.
Start with the 5 x 4min tempo pace w/ 1min jog between. Next week do 4 x 5min Tempo with 60-90sec. jog between. Then try 20min at tempo pace. Continue to build from there until you are doing a warm up followed by 3 miles (half marathoners) or 6 miles (full) at tempo pace, 5 min jog, then another 3 or 6 mile at tempo pace.
- Warm up 1 Mile
- Dynamic Stretches
- 5 x 4min of tempo pace with 1 min jog between
RUNNING TIP #3: THE LONG RUN
The long run not only helps us build endurance, but also confidence in our running. For half & full marathoners you want to slowly build up your mileage each week, but also want to scale back every couple of weeks to ensure you don’t over do it. .
Half marathon: 10 weeks out (8, 9, 6, 10, 11, 6, 12) – give 2 weeks to taper
Full Marathon10 weeks out (16, 10k race or 12, 18, 10k race or 12, 20, 12, 20-22) – give 2-3 weeks for taper
Drink a lot of water along the way and find energizing foods to eat before and during your run that don’t mess with your stomach.
RUNNING TIP #4: STRENGTH TRAINING
Building and strengthening your muscles can make you a stronger, more powerful and faster runner. Too many runners neglect strength training; resulting in imbalances, injuries and slower running times.
Side Lunge w Leg Lift: 10 each side
Reverse Lunge: 10 each side
Arm Circles: 20s fwd & 20 back
Scapular squeeze: 10
Curtsy Lunge: 10 each side
Donkey kick to Fire Hydrant: 20 each side
RUNNING TIP #5: RUN DIFFERENT ROUTES
Running the same route over and over will allow your body to get complacent and unless you are running the exact race route, it might not help you much on race day.
By mixing up the routes and terrain you are able to push your body more, keep things more unpredictable, and allow yourself to excel in more races. Try uphill, downhill, flat, stairs, road, trail; longer versions of all of those, try these varieties at the beginning and at the end of your run. MIX IT UP!
RUNNING TIP #6: START SLOW & RELAXED
Start your runs slow and relaxed; then gradually ease into a faster, comfortable pace. If you start too fast you will run out of steam. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the hype of a race and to start out way too fast.
Try to keep calm, run your own race and don’t let others influence your pace too far outside your comfort zone. I mean a little push from other races isn’t always a bad thing 🏃🏻♀️ catch me if you can🏃♀️
Your body needs to warm up. You can warm up before the race starts with a light jog and striders but still be sure not to go chasing someone running a minute faster than your pace.
RUNNING TIP #7: GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE
If you want to make progress you have to push outside your comfort zone. So, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. .
When you feel ready to slow down try pushing yourself one more block. It’s not easy, but it can & will be done!
RUNNING TIP #8: HAVE FUN!!!
As soon as running stops being fun you are going to stop doing it. How can you keep running fun?
– Find a couple running buddies (1 to talk with on a slower run; 1 to challenge you on a faster run; 1 to explore with you on a new run; and 1 to keep you accountable)
– Try different types of runs (speed, tempo, long, trail, uphill, etc)
– Run different routes and find some scenic ones
– SMILE while you run. I’m serious! And smiles are contagious, so maybe you can make another runner smile too