5 Ways to Perk Up Your Running Speed 

If you’re a runner, chances are you want to perk up your running performance and speed. Whether you’re an elite runner or a beginner, improving your speed contributes to better athletic performance. Meanwhile, you might be thinking it’s easier said than done. To some extent, I agree. Increasing your running speed is one of those things that sounds possible but needs to be tricky in practice. But fret no more. Here are some of the ways that will help you in increasing your running speed as well as what are speedrunning benefits.

Benefits of Speed Running

Every runner, either beginner or elite, wants to improve their running speed because of its clear benefits. Knowing how to run faster will help you in improving your race times, beat your personal best, or burn more calories. There are plenty of ways and drills you can use to gain strength, run faster, and improve your form. Incorporate as many approaches as possible. A varied plan of attack targets your body in different ways, prevents boredom, and gives away to new challenges. According to the study in Physiological Reports, trained female and male runners to complete the ten sessions of running fast during six weeks. By the end, their average 10K time increased by 3.2%, that equally relates to a 50-minute 10K runner bringing their time down to 48:25.

But, how speed intervals make your running speed faster? As per physiology, during speed workouts, you activate your slow-twitch muscles and intermediate the muscle fibers that help you in increasing your aerobic capacity. Another speed running benefit includes the production of myoglobin that transports oxygen to the mitochondria in your muscles that produces ATP to provide your muscles more energy that will make you able to run faster. Speedrunning is uniquely beneficial in this aspect, as studies indicate that high-intensity running is the best way to develop myoglobin.

Does running help anxiety?

Yes. Running reduces depression and anxiety. When you run, blood circulation to the brain increases, and the part of your brain that responds to stress and improves your mood is affected. This causes a change that improves your reaction in stressful situations.

5 Ways to Increase Your Running Speed

If you want to improve running speed at the next level, then have a look at your running techniques and make the necessary changes.

Improve Your Running Form

When your running form is correct, you move more efficiently, and it increases your speed. It helps in increasing your running performance as well as reduces injury chances. Here are a few of the adjustments that will give your speed the push it requires.

  • Straight posture: Keep your running posture straight, the more straight, the less energy you’ll waste. Don’t round your shoulders, keep your back straight.
  • Keep your body relaxed: Any kind of stress or tension wastes energy. Keep your cheeks loose, keep your shoulders relaxed, bend your knees slightly, keep a neutral head and take deep breaths.
  • Adjust upper body well: Keep your elbows bent at an angle of 90-degree, swing them back and forth instead of side to side. Keep your hands open.
  • Strike it well: Strike the ground at an obtuse angle from heel to toe, then focus on pushing up and off the ground behind you.

Keep your toes pointed up toward your shins, until your foot hits the ground, and then extend them.

Run Hill Reps

Regardless of their experience and fitness level, runners know the speedrunning benefits gained by going up and down the hills. But, what is the benefit of doing regular hill repeats?

Here are a few perks:

  • Improved confidence and strength in your running ability.
  • Builds more powerful muscles in comparison with running on flat ground.
  • Promoted economical form
  • Increases your stride power
  • Easier on your connective tissues and joints than efforts on the ground.

How to do hill reps?

Find a hill that takes around 40-60 seconds to run up (if you are training for an endurance event, shoot for longer hills). After a warm-up of 15 minutes on flat ground, run up the hill at 80-90% of your maximum effort. Once you reach the top, turn around and recover by walking down or jogging to the initial point. Pace and form matter. So, don’t charge the hill with 100% effort, else you’ll be exhausted in just reaching the top. Repeat the cycle for 15-20 minutes. Moreover, don’t stare at your feet or at the top of the hill, especially if it’s steep and long. Focus on the ground that roughly is 10-20 feet ahead of you. As your endurance and speed improve, do hill Reps on more challenging hills with different lengths and grades.

Run Strides

Want to know more about how you can run faster? Add running strides at the end of your workouts.

What are strides?

Strides are accelerations that last for 20 to 30 seconds. You just have to run each stride at about 95% of your maximum effort, which is roughly the speed you can hold for a mile. Moreover, strides are assigned to the running routine before a tough race or after an easy run. Strides aren’t a cure-all for your running weaknesses, but they will be later proved as a valuable training tool for almost all runners.

But, how to train for running speed through strides?

Here’s what you can do to add strides in your training plan:

  • Gear up your speed: Strides make your body run at a faster pace before hard races and sessions.
  • Begin speed work: Strides are an effective way to add rapid speed training to your running plan without sacrificing your whole day of training.
  • Improved technique: Strides strengthen aspects of good form and improve your running efficiency.
  • Minimum time investment: It only takes a few minutes to complete strides. They can be performed virtually if you have provided the willingness and space.

To perform strides properly, begin by finding a foreseeable flat surface, either a smooth stretch of trail, road, or track, where you can run for a speed of 90 seconds roughly 250 to 300 ft at most. Begin strides with the acceleration of 10 seconds while staying smooth and relaxed. It’s key to ease into the pace and don’t go full strangle to prevent injury and fatigue. Focus on the pushing back and fast turnover.  Keep the strong-arm drive and a tall posture. Once you reach the mile pace, keep it for around 10 to 15 seconds, then decelerate after a few seconds. Jog slowly, walk, or stop completely to catch your bounce and breathe back. The goal of running strides is not to get a tough, challenging workout to have. If you’re a beginner to strides, start with a four and then build it to eight with time.

Strength Training

Every so often, the best workout you do to perk up your running speed doesn’t include running only. Instead, strength training helps in building stronger muscles (specifically leg strength) which help in boosting both your running speed and overall performance. Lifting weights helps in building a more balanced body that prevents injury risk. According to the literature review, published by the National Strength Conditioning Associate, lifting heavyweight at least 2 to 3 times a week helps in improving running speed and economy.

How to train for running speed?

Complete the five sets of these exercises, take minimum rest between each exercise.
Rest for one or two minutes between each round:

  • 30 bodyweight squats
  • 1-minute plank holds
  • 15 push-ups
  • 16 lunges
  • 8 assisted pull-ups

These are ideal exercises as they target all the primary running muscles and your core that will help you in developing the strength that directly results into increased speed running. To plan your routine, focus on one area, either lower body, upper, and core or create the full-body circuit of various exercises which can target different groups of muscles at once.

Interval Running

Another effective way to improve your running speed is interval training. Because these methods work fast. Whether you’re running for the first time or in your 13th marathon, intervals are good for your health and makes you fitter and faster. Interval training consists of short, intense speed periods with rest in between. You have to sprint for a set distance repeatedly with in-between breaks. Along with increasing your running speed and power, it boosts endurance and burns major calories. How fast you run will depend on the interval length, but the rule is to push yourself hard without losing form for the duration.

So, how to train for running speed through intervals?

Begin with a 10-minute warm-up to get your body ready for exercise. Jog for 5 minutes and perform some dynamic movements for the next 5 minutes to get your running muscles, such as hamstrings, squads, and hips preparing for the training session. Ideal exercises such as inchworms, butt kicks, squats, lunges, and leg lifts. Once you’re warmed-up well, sprint at high speed for 20-30 seconds, slow them down for a jog for 30-60 seconds. Repeat the jogging and sprinting for 15-20 minutes, then end with a 5-minute cool-down jog. Instead of doing structured intervals, you can perform fartlek sessions that consist of sprinting following an unpredictable recipe. You can also perform these workout sessions on a treadmill.

Final Words

Implementing the above training strategies in your running plan will make you run faster. Now the ball is in your court, it’s now up to you to show up and do the best. It’s just a matter of practice and time to make it to the finish line. Moreover, remember to keep track of your running performance and time; you cannot improve on what you don’t measure. Rest is just details.