Do you have a need for speed? Lace up your shoes and get ready to break away from the pack. If you want to quicken your pace, bust through plateaus and start setting PR’s – listen up! Here are eight are ways to find your fleet feet!
8 Ways to Up Your Running Game
1) Be Prepared to Run Slow Sometimes.
Yes, you read that right. Before you start incorporating faster runs, commit to keeping some of your training runs at a slow pace. Make sure your “easy” runs are actually at a pace that’s much slower than your speed quests! That way, you’ll build a healthy base and be prepped to run fast when you need to kick it up a notch.
2) Tune-in to Tunes.
Up-tempo music can motivate you and keep you on track when your energy flails. For safety, try it on a track or in another safe place to run where you’re not dodging traffic. A cadence of 180 steps per minute seems to be a sweet spot for many speedsters. Find music with beats per minute that match your ideal fast footfalls, and you’ll be good to go, go, go!
3) Try Plyometrics.
Any movement that involves dynamic power and quick starts and stops can help ready your body and mind for the mechanics involved in speed. Jumping rope, squat jumps, plyo box jumps, and similar moves can train your fast twitch muscles to trigger when you need them to help you sprint ahead and stay ahead. Here’s a plyo workout to get you started.
4) Say “Hello” to Speed Play.
Whether you enter into a run with a pre-set interval plan or you commit to a “speed play/fartlek” approach, running intervals will help you learn to accelerate and decelerate while racing.
5) Do Cross-training Interval Workouts.
Any interval workout can help you tackle speed goals and train your heart and other muscles to have get-up-and-go when needed. Cross-training can also help you avoid repetitive use injuries that can arise from an “all running, all of the time” approach. Cycling, in particular, allows you to focus on cadence and quick turnover in your legs. This can render improved pace when you hit the ground running.
6) Try Tempo Runs.
After a warm-up mile, spend 20 minutes running hard and steady at a somewhat comfortable pace. There is a sweet spot (tempo) that is swift, but isn’t “racing.” Cool down by running a slow mile.
7) Hit the Hills.
Toss a few extra short uphill sprints into your run. It’s a simple way to create an interval workout to build leg strength, stamina, and speed.
8) Mind Your Middle (and the rest of your body).
If you haven’t done so already, start incorporating strength work. Core movements like push-ups, planks, lunges and more will help you improve your posture, which leads to better breathing and overall improved body mechanics. A strong upper body will ensure that your arms won’t tire when you need a strong swing the most. Try the top 10 strength moves for runners suggested by Runner’s World.