Whether you’re new to running or an experienced marathon runner, if you’re hoping to improve your running pace and/ or distance, you’ve come to the right place! The tips are sure to help you run faster and longer overtime.
Start Slow! Slow Progress is STILL Progress.
If you’re just starting out, start with one run a week and gradually increase frequency as your body becomes more accustomed to the distance and pace. If you’re trying to get faster, start by running the same amount of miles per run, but try to run each mile slightly faster than the last run time. If you want to go longer, add half a mile (or whatever increment feels right) each running day until you’ve reached your goal.
For example, if you want to run a 5K race, start at 1 mile and increase your mileage by half-a- mile every week until you can comfortably finish three-plus miles. Then set your sights on finishing a 5K in a good time! Start timing your 3-mile runs and try to cut off a minute or two (of the whole 3 miles, not each mile) each time you run.
Take Time to Warm Up and Cool Down
While speed is important, it’s just as vital to be able to go the distance. One way that you can make sure you can run longer distances is by warming up and cooling down before and after each of your runs. The warm-up serves multiple purposes:
- It raises your body temperature, which helps prepare your muscles for intense movement.
- It increases blood flow to the muscles, which helps them work more efficiently.
- It increases flexibility in your joints and muscles, which helps prevent injury as well as increase speed and endurance (since a larger range of motion is necessary for both).
- It improves coordination between muscle groups, which also reduces the likelihood of injury and helps increase speed and endurance (again because a higher degree of coordination is needed for both).
The cool-down has its own benefits as well! A cool-down prevents fainting by gradually slowing the heart rate instead of suddenly stopping all movement while the heart rate is still high. This also means that you’ll recover faster from running than if you simply stopped abruptly when finished because there won’t be such a drastic drop in blood pressure. This recovery time can allow you to begin training again sooner, leading to more endurance over time!
Incorporate Interval Training
Interval training is your secret weapon when it comes to improving your speed. Interval training is basically alternating between bouts of high-intensity exercise and low intensity exercise or rest periods.
This is in contrast to continuous running, which means keeping the same pace throughout the run. Interval training can take many forms with varying speed and recovery times, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
For example, you might sprint for 30 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds — repeat this cycle five times. Another way to do interval training would be to gradually increase your speed from a light jog to a sprint over five minutes, then decrease back down to a light jog over five minutes.
Finally, you could also do long intervals that last several minutes each: Run at 80 percent of your fastest pace for three minutes; slow down and walk for three minutes; continue alternating between running and walking until you reach the desired total duration (e.g., 30 or 40 minutes).
No matter how you structure your intervals — whether it’s short bursts of activity followed by brief recovery periods or longer intervals lasting several minutes each — interval training helps improve cardiovascular endurance as well as your overall running speed over time
Don’t Overwork Yourself.
Don’t overwork yourself. You’ll get to the finish line faster by starting slowly and carefully, taking things one step at a time. If you run too hard or too fast, too often, or for too long, you risk getting injured. The very act of running puts stress on your muscles, joints, bones and tendons. A tired body is more prone to injury than a rested one. If you don’t give your body enough time to rest and repair itself between runs, you can easily become injured.
Signs of overtraining include:
- Persistent fatigue/tiredness every day
- General malaise/discomfort
- Unusual muscle pain/soreness that doesn’t go away after two days of rest
- Sluggishness during your workouts that lasts for several days despite extra sleep and rest days
- Reduced appetite / weight loss
Choose to Work on Speed OR Endurance
You can’t work on both at the same time! You have to choose speed or endurance training. If you want to work on speed, you’d be doing shorter, more intense runs with more rest time in between. If you want to run longer distances and train on your endurance, you’d be running for a longer period of time at a pace that’s not necessarily race-worthy (which is why they call it “time” training). This might come as a surprise, but if you focus on one area, it will actually improve the other!
For example, if you’re focusing on improving your speed by doing shorter, faster runs and incorporating more recovery days into your regimen, this focus will help increase your endurance as well. Try adding one day per week of intervals followed by two days of easy running and see how much stronger (and faster) it makes you feel. But don’t try to run for a longer time, at a faster pace at the same time (e.g. Running 3 miles at a 9-minute pace instead of 2 miles at a 10-minute pace).
Use Music to Maintain/Increase Your Pace
Listen to music while you run that has a matching tempo to your pace, or slightly higher if working on speed, so it can help keep you in rhythm and give you a boost of energy.
Listening to music is a great way to keep your mind off of the distance you have ahead and can be a huge motivator to keep pushing through. When you listen to music while running, it can distract you from the fact that your lungs are burning and feel like they’re going to explode. The key is finding what works for you. Whether this means listening to your favorite songs with lyrics or instrumental music with a tempo that matches your pace, finding what works for you is all that matters.
Choose a Tracking App You Love!
It’s important to choose a tracking app you love when training to run faster and longer because it’ll make your life so much easier and will help you feel motivated.
Not all apps are created equal. Some have tons of features you don’t need, while others are missing the one thing you do. If you’re trying to run faster or longer, it’s important to find an app that will track your progress, compare it with previous runs, and help you set goals that keep you improving over time. All these features will help get your competitive juices flowing, keep your mind off of how tired your legs feel, and remind you why it’s worth putting in all those miles.
If you’re looking for the perfect training app, you’ve come to the right place. Cadence was made with the beginning and expert runner in mind. Cadence allows you to customize your stats tracking screen to be able to see all of the statistics you want to see as well as ONLY the statistics you want to see.
As a beginning runner, you may want to keep it simple and only see 3-4 stats at a time. If you’re a more experienced runner and monitor your progress in many different ways, you can view up to 16 stats at a time during your runs. Cadence is the perfect app for tracking progress because you get to make it unique to your running experience and goals!