Spring is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start preparing for those races you committed to doing this winter. For some, just finishing is the goal and they should feel very proud when they accomplish it. But for many others, running fast is important and it’s easier than you might think.
First, it’s important to know the two most common training techniques that won’t make you faster: increasing frequency and increasing mileage. Becoming faster is more about quality training than quantity. This applies to both how often and far you run. To be fair, running more often will initially help you improve at the distances you are running but you will quickly plateau. And, working your way up to marathon distance won’t make you any faster in a 5K.
On your next run, see how quiet you can make each step. Do you ever notice how loud many runners’ footsteps are or how much weight is planted on each leg? This simple change will immediately force you to shift your weight more quickly and push off with the forefoot. It will prevent the heavy, repetitive pounding on your knees and feet. Think quick and light! You don’t have to change your running shoes, get an online coach or buy a fancy GPS watch; just make each step quieter.
When running intervals, measure your rest periods by time and not distance. This rule is easiest to apply when running on a track. The biggest problem people have is that as they do more sprints they tend to get slower and slower during each rest period. In other words, if you are doing 400m sprints with a 200m jog between each one, after just a couple sprints that 200m jog can double in time. Intervals aren’t meant to have a full recovery between each one. The rest period should be consistent between each sprint and should provide almost, but not quite, a full recovery for the first couple sprints. By then end of your sprint workout it should be getting really tough.
Remember, running more miles more often won’t make you any faster. If your goal is to beat your friends, win a local race or to set a new personal record, these two tips will definitely help get you there.