First things first. I am by FAR nowhere near a speed demon. I am still actively working on improving my running form, becoming a stronger runner and yes, getting faster. But because I would like to run faster, I’ve actually tried to figure out how to do so, with varying degrees of success. So I thought I’d share what I’ve learned. Please add any tips you have in the comments!
- Fartleks. If you are anything like me, your first question is what the heck is a fartlek and why on earth would it make me faster? Fartlek is a Swedish word that roughly translates into speed play. Essentially, it’s unstructured speed work. What that looks like for me is typically “okay, I will sprint to that tree, then jog to the next tree.” Rinse and repeat. It’s not easy, but it definitely works. And it’s kind of fun because you can make up your intervals on the fly.
- Running hills. I have been so surprised that regularly running hills of varying inclines and intensities has really helped improve my speed. Twice a week I run with BGR and that run begins with a gradual incline. It sucked the first time I ran it, but now I power right up that thing (well, on most days). I also regularly end my longer runs on Capitol Hill. Which is never fun at the time, but I’ve taken to just repeating in my head, “you don’t get faster on hills by walking them.” Funny enough, it’s true! As I learned while running the Annapolis Ten Miler this past weekend, regularly incorporating hills into your runs makes you a stronger AND faster runner! I promise 🙂
- Cross training. This is the one thing I need to really work on. You can’t just run all the time (and yes, I’m speaking to myself here). It’s very important to do other activities to build up your muscles and to reduce the risk of injury (yep, still talking to myself – and my injured ankles!). I’m trying to find a fun, feasible way to work other activities into my routine. If I’m left to my own devices, I just won’t do it. But YOU should 🙂 And I’m working on it.
Any other tips on how to become a faster runner?