Everyone Wants to Run Faster
Whether you are running a 5km, 10km, half or full marathon runners want to know how they can run faster for longer. There is no simple answer, there is not one miracle type of training, supplement or food. It comes down to hard work, consistent training and doing a number of things well.
I will briefly outline some training principles that if you apply to your own training will help you run faster for longer. To improve you will need to apply more than one of these and apply yourself 100% each time.
Principles to Running Faster for Longer
# Learn to Run. Believe it or not, but running is a skill. Everyone can throw a ball, but some people can throw a ball better than others. Well, running is the same. Everyone can run, but some people are more efficient at running than others. Working on your biomechanics to make you a more efficient runner will help you run faster for longer.
# Build your Base. The key to getting your legs used to running your desired distance is simply by putting in the miles. Building the miles up week by week. As a guide you should not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% per week. To build a strong, powerful base lay the foundation with aerobic runs. Then layer your aerobic runs with hill sessions and speed-work. Consider only one speed or one hill session per week or alternate between the two workouts fortnightly. Even if your event is on a flat course, running hills will be paramount in your early preparation. Hills are speed-work in disguise.
# Speed / Fartlek. Many people make the mistake of running too fast on their steady, long and recovery runs and then running too slow on their speed sessions because their legs are fatigued. Your steady and longer runs should be run at a pace where you can hold a conversation. I refer to it as the ‘talk test.’ Depending on what your race is will depend on what speed session you do, but no matter what distance, your speed sessions are a vital ingredient for running faster for longer.
# Hill Sprints. Will increase your oxygen supply to the working muscles (VO2 Max) and increase your running speed as well as build power in your legs. Hills sprints are short, sharp, steep climbs of about 30 metres at 90-100% of max heart rate with walking or jog back recoveries.
# Hill Climbs. Long hill climbs can be anything from 300m, 400m, 800m or 1km efforts on a moderate hill gradient performed at a steady pace. Alternating between easy and hard intensities can provide a variation to this type of workout using the downhill as recovery. Hills serve as a method of resistance training, building power and strength in running specific muscles like quadriceps. They will make running on the flat feel much easier.
# Tempo. For this you are looking to run close to your race pace. For instance training for a 10km event you would do a tempo run for 45 minutes to an hour to help push your lactate threshold. If you can’t sustain this, tempo running mixed with easy running works well i.e. 5 min easy / 5 min tempo x 4. Tempo running should be apart of every training program.
# Strength and Conditioning. It is important to incorporate this into your training to reduce the risk of injury and help maintain running form under fatigue thereby maintaining efficiency so finding yourself running faster for longer. I recommend active yoga, free weight sessions and lots of planks….front, back and side! Body, thera-band and free weight exercises are great for developing legs, core, upper body strength and muscular endurance.
# Nutrition. You can’t out train a bad diet. This expression is particularly relevant in society where a growing number of people think an hour or so running should be rewarded with takeaway. You should be looking to fuel your training and body with fresh whole foods, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.
If you’ve read this and thought….I’m already doing all of this in training, then you just need to improve on each principle and work harder if you want to be able to run faster for longer. Improvement will come with consistent hard work and by following these key principles.