Hitting a plateau and not being able to improve your running speed can be very frustrating, but there are lots of ways to get faster at running. We take a look at how to become a better, faster runner.
How can I improve my running speed?
There are lots of ways to improve your running speed, so trial and error will definitely be a factor in finding what works best for you. We take a look at four of the most tried and tested ways that are proven to improve your running speed.
If you're looking to improve your 5k PB, then a pace run is definitely for you. A pace run is a shorter run (of around 20 minutes) where you run at your threshold, a pace where you can't hold a conversation and it feels difficult the entire time while still being doable. You should feel like you're really pushing yourself for the entire duration of the run and you need to stay focused throughout.
Interval training can take many forms, such as HIIT which is high intensity or Fartlek which means 'speed play'. Speed play interval training mixes up the speeds and inclines of a run randomly so that your body can't get used to the workload. This is a great way to improve your overall fitness as your body can't adapt to the stress and therefore has to keep working to improve. HIIT training can be a little more repetitive, such as run for 30 seconds, walk for 30 seconds, repeat. Intensity training will really help to improve your overall running speed by improving your fitness and aerobic abilities.
This is the one we love to hate, or perhaps hate to love! Running uphill improves leg strength as well as maxing out your aerobic capacity and therefore improving your overall running fitness. It's great for improving your speed and will also mean you're more prepared for runs on different terrains so that you don't have to slow down or walk when you hit a hill in a race.
Tweaking your stride length could be the secret you're missing when it comes to getting faster at running. The longer your stride, the faster you will be, however a very long stride does put extra pressure and strain on your joints. If a very short running stride suits you, there's no reason to increase it. However, if you still want to get faster after exhausting your other options, this could be a good way to speed up your runs.
How can I run longer without getting injured?
There are many things which will impact how often you get injured. Don't ignore the signs that you might be overtrianing and make sure you know how often you should take a complete rest day. Making sure that your muscles, bones, and joints are strong will be a big factor in reducing injury time. The best way to strengthen your muscles and bones is by doing strength training.
Make sure you're comfortable
There's nothing worse than being uncomfortable during a run, having to keep pulling up your running leggings or feeling restricted can be the difference between a great one and a terrible one. You won't be able to run fast and reach your full potential in the wrong leggings. Make sure you find ones with a personalised fit by looking for a drawstring waist, or for women, high-waisted running leggings might be best.