Whether you started running recently or have been running for a long time, to increase your running speed and endurance can be more efficient and make each run less challenging. To set a goal of increasing the running speed and endurance can be a great motivation not to skip training days. Improving your running speed requires consistency, discipline and the right training approach to add faster kilometers. Trying to increase your speed without proper training can cause some injuries. The good news is there are different training options to improve your running speed without doing basic flat runs.
- Reach your Ideal Bodyweight
If your body has a few extra kilos, to reach your ideal weight can help improve running times, and reduce the effort and increase your power. Think of running carrying a pack with some kilos, it makes the run so much harder and challenging. To lose even 1 kg can help cutting a few seconds off each kilometer. Once we lose a bit of extra weight, running feels so much lighter, easier and faster.
- Interval Training
Interval training sessions is one of the most efficient way to work on your speed training. Because it involves alternating intervals of high and low intensity it helps to increase both speed and endurance. Starting with some stride speedwork sessions can be a very good training option.
Start with a 5K warm up run at a comfortable pace, then add 100m sprints, followed by 200m recovery jog. Start with 6 repeats, after a few weeks you can increase to up to 8-10 repeats. Finish with a 3K recovery run.
- Hill Repeats
Training with hill repeats is another great interval training option. Running uphill helps build up strength in your quads, hamstrings and calves. Using your core and arms on the uphill is also very important to support a proper running form. Adding hill repeats to your training plan, will help increase your endurance and speed when running on smooth and flat surfaces. Hill training provides a lot of intensity training but with less impact on the joints than running on flat roads.
Find a nice road hill 50-100m distance. Start with a 5K warm up run at an easy pace, then start running up the hill as fast as you can, then jog slowly on the downhill for recovery. For new hill repeats sessions start with 6 repeats, for more experienced runners you can do up to 12 repeats. Then finish with a slow 2-3K recovery run. While running uphill, make sure you follow a fast pace that doesn’t cause breathing issues or too much fatigue. Make sure you listen to your body, but also motivate yourself when doing some speedwork and hill repeats.
- Increase your Running Cadence
In general, fast runners tend to have a faster running cadence, more steps per minute. To increase your running cadence even lightly, is the key to increase your speed with a proper running technique. To increase your cadence, focus on taking fast, short and light steps. This will make a big difference in reducing the impact on the legs and knees and helping to find a good running form. To run with long strides, makes your foot land too far ahead of your knee, adding intense impact when hitting the ground. Small, shorter and faster steps create a much lighter landing impact.
- Jump Rope
Jump rope training is a good cross-training session to boost your running speed and strengthen your main muscles without putting too much impact on your joints. Jump rope is challenging, but it targets your quads, glutes and calves, and also your chest, back, triceps and shoulders from turning the rope. Jumping rope will improve your overall endurance and breathing technique, and also improve your focus and coordination.
Jump Rope Tips:
- Maintain your balance by looking straight ahead.
- Maintain an upright posture.
- Maintain your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Jump only high enough to clear the rope (approx. 2-3cm off the ground).
- Land lightly on the balls of your feet.
- Keep your elbows near your sides.
- Maintain your elbow joints at a 45-degree angle.
- When turning the rope, make 5cm circles with your wrists.
- Do not sacrifice good form for speed.
For a 20-minute circuit training, set your timer for 50 seconds of jump rope and 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 20 repeats. You can add these jump rope reps between strength circuits to make it a good interval training session.
- Proper Running Form
Another important key to run faster is to run more efficiently. When we run more efficiently, we can run longer distance, faster without feeling too tired and using less energy. What can create an efficient run is focusing on proper running form and technique.
- Run tall: Keep your body tall but relaxed.
- The feet should land under the centre of gravity: Hit the ground with the middle of your foot under your hip and knee.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed: Swing the arms back and forth at a low 90 degrees’ angle.
- Keep your hands lightly clenched: Don’t tighten your hands to intensely, keep your palms relaxed, like your holding a light piece of paper between your thumb and finger.
- Keep your posture upright: Your back straight, head up, and keep your chin parallel to the ground.
- Focus on moving forward: Make sure your form doesn’t move side to side, which is a wasted movement. All your energy should be focused on moving forward.
- Strength Training
Strength training is the foundation of speed. If you want to improve your speed, you need to do some strength training sessions two or three times per week, otherwise your body will be missing the power to support your speed. You need to focus on strengthening your main muscles; core, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, chest, arms, shoulders. Basic exercises include deadlifts, squats, lunges, planks, push-ups and other full-body exercises.
Follow your regular training plan. To increase your running speed, you need to train and be consistent. Running regularly will increase endurance, stamina and strength. Aim to perform a minimum of 3-4 running sessions per week, including one long run.
To follow these speed training tips will help improve your running speed and stamina, bringing your running speed to a higher new level.