If you’ve dragged yourself on your gym treadmill or laced up your running shoes every few days without seeing any improvement, there’s a good chance you’ve hit a plateau with your workout.
How to run faster is a common question that many runners will face at one time or another, and if you don’t speed up despite constant training, there can be several things at stake.
Whether you’re training for a 5k or a marathon, if your ultimate goal is to go faster when you lace up your running shoes, here’s why you might not be going faster and what you can do to speed up. your times.
1. You are not running enough
If you only run once a week, you are unlikely to see any significant changes in your running speed that quickly. Whatever your goal, if you take a look at any running training plan, you will see that mileage gradually increases week by week. You have to be careful not to dramatically increase your weekly mileage in the hope of speeding up, as you are more likely to injure yourself. The idea is to very gradually increase the load on your body to help you build endurance and get stronger and faster.
Check out our guides on how to train for a half marathon and how to train for a marathon for more tips.
2. You don’t do speedwork
While running more miles will help you build endurance, it’s the speed work that will really help you go faster. There are different ways to add speedwork to your training plan:
the tempo runs: Tempo runs are where the pace changes halfway through, to help you work to increase and control your pace. It can be as simple as warming up for a mile, then increasing your speed for three miles, then slowing it down for the last mile or trying a progression run – where you gradually increase your pace throughout. of the race.
Interval training: Interval training involves running harder and faster for a shorter distance or time, followed by a longer recovery period. Most running trainers generally recommend heading to a running track or doing a specific route around your local park for an interval run, to avoid having to stop for traffic. An example of an interval session would be 400m reps on a track, where you run at 80% effort and repeat four times, or run for two minutes at 85% effort and run slowly for three minutes , then repeat five times.
Fartlek: Fartlek is a Swedish word for ‘speed game’, and that’s really the point of a Fartlek session. Unlike interval training or tempo races, Fartlek is unstructured and moves between easy and moderate to difficult gaits throughout a run; for example, sprinting between two lampposts or running quickly for a lap around the block. You don’t stop, you just vary your pace during the workout.
3. You don’t practice on the hills
If you live in a flat part of town or actively avoid going up and down hills, you are missing out on a significant portion of your running training if you try to go faster. Hill work helps runners develop their VO2 max, which is the amount of oxygen a person can use during a workout. The higher a runner’s VO2 max, the faster and longer they will be able to run.
A study published in the International journal of sports physiology and performance found that after six weeks of high-intensity uphill running intervals, runners were 2% faster in a 5 km time trial. “Runners can assume that any form of high-intensity uphill interval training will benefit the performance of the 5 km time trial,” the authors concluded.
4. You’re not making weight training a priority
Runners: it’s time to put the weights back on! Strength training can help you run faster, avoid injury, and work on your form. If the goal is to go faster, focus on training a sprinter with plyometric movements, like jump squats or box jumps, that work on the explosive power of your muscles.
If you are a long distance runner, strength training is good for your form and for running harder and faster, so start using kettlebells, dumbbells, and dumbbells in your weight training routine. Core strength is also an important part of running fast and efficiently – think Russian twists, deadbugs, and planks (here’s how long you have to hold a board to see results).
5. You don’t listen to your body
If you find that you constantly need time off for issues and injuries, chances are you are not listening to your body and letting it recover. Skipping rest days and overloading the body is a sure-fire way to injure yourself, which means you’ll miss more running days in the long run.
6. You are not refueling miles correctly
Your diet plays a big part in the way you run. If you fuel your groceries with processed or sugary foods, or if you skip meals, chances are you’re not working out to the best of your ability. Try to eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, and stay hydrated before and after your runs.
7. You are not running with the right equipment
A small study conducted in 2019 found that runners who ran in the Nike Vaporfly Next% showed improvements in their running economy. While your training is arguably more important than the shoes you run with, if you’re trying to go faster with old, worn-out shoes, improving them can make a big difference. Looking for inspiration? We’ve rounded up the best running shoes here.