Once you begin training for your first race, the goal is just to finish. Get a few races under your belt, and your focus may change a little. It’s very possible you may find that you want to beat your previous time. That’s right, you may have the need – the need for speed!
So how exactly do you increase your running speed? Here are a few tips on getting started!
Have a solid running base. It is highly recommended that you have a running base of at least 3 weekly runs for around 6 months. This means that your body is used to running and is more likely to handle the increase in speed. The key is to make sure that your body is ready – no one wants to be on the sidelines due to injury!
Add in speed bursts. During one of your normal runs, add in short speed burst. Sprint to the stop sign. Add a speed burst to the next driveway. They don’t have to be long, just get those legs moving! Be sure to add in a warm up and cool down mile as well, allowing your leg muscles time to acclimate.
Run those hills. It’s true – hills are speed work in disguise! Not only will the hill repeats strengthen your legs, they will also make you faster while on the level road. Find a hill nearby and run up and down it once a week.
Head to the track. After you have gotten used to adding in speed bursts or hill repeats to your training plan, it may be time to take it to the next level – the track! A local track allows you to work on various speed intervals like 400 m, 800 m, etc. The most popular is the 800 m intervals (thank Bart Yasso!) and is a great way to gauge your upcoming race time. No track? No problem! You can use a treadmill or fairly flat stretch of measured road as well.
Get some rest. While it may seem counterintuitive, rest is essential in getting faster. When you add in speed work or hill repeats, your legs will be tired. Make sure you are giving them the rest they need in between runs, and possibly even an extra rest day. Listen to your body – it knows when it needs a break!
While runDisney races aren’t always the race to get a personal record, getting faster is a great goal to have. Find a local race and show that the hard work was worth it!
Throughout these blog posts, we will cover all aspects of training from our own personal experience. Please note that we are not medical doctors, personal trainers, registered dietitians or in any way qualified to give individualized recommendations. If you have something you would like us to address, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!