People who do not run might have difficulties understanding why many love this sport. Running looks all the same from the outside, and it is not considered the most exciting event to watch.
What spectators could not see is that every runner has an inner world with different thoughts, reasons, motivations, and goals, which bring them satisfaction and desire to keep going.
Тhe number one goal for every athlete in any sport is to be continually improving. For runners, this means to be able to run faster and for longer time without your losing breath. No matter how advanced you are, there always comes a time when the progress slows down, and you need to try something new to help you keep getting better.
In case you are looking for ways to boost your performance, here are 15 tips to improve running speed.
1. Posture first
You would not try to do heavy deadlifts before learning how to deadlift correctly, so do not try to run too fast before refining your technique.
The right runner's posture should be upright and slightly tilted forward, which helps you maintain your balance and keeps you stable. Increasing the speed without having a solid foundation might be dangerous, as it becomes more likely to get injured.
2. Focus on your breathing
Research studies reveal that there is a correlation between breathing patterns and stride rhythm, which affects performance.
The most common and logical models among runners are 2:1 and 3:2, meaning inhaling for 2 steps and exhaling for 1, or inhaling for 3 steps and exhaling for 2.
Furthermore, it is crucial not to breathe quickly because this way, your body would have less time to absorb the oxygen you are breathing in, and this leads to a decrease in performance.
Practice slowly breathing in a 3:2 or 2:1 pattern in sync to your footfalls to maximize oxygen uptake, and soon you will notice that you can run faster and longer.
3. Get enough quality sleep
Optimization in sleep duration and quality improves reaction time, accuracy, endurance performance, and recovery. Sleep promotes physiological and psychological healing, which has significant implications in athletics performance.
4. Footwear matters
Many new studies uncover the effect of various footwear constructions on running biomechanics that is related to performance. Increasing the stiffness of running shoes at the optimal range benefits the performance and reduces energetic cost and sprint time. Furthermore, thicker midsoles provide cushioning effects, while softer midsoles reduce the loading rates, so choose wisely your running shoes according to your needs.
5. Make time for stretching
Regular stretching increases muscle elasticity and joint mobility, activates some muscle groups that tend to shorten their length in case of long-term effort, and reduces muscle tension after the activity. Flexibility is strongly related to the performance by allowing your body to move most efficiently.
6. Pay attention to your diet
Working out and eating right go hand in hand. A poor diet, which does not deliver your body the necessary amount of nutrients, can slow down your recovery, lead to deficiencies, and would not make you a faster runner. Make sure you fuel your body with enough proteins and low GI carbohydrates before your training and keep the bigger picture in mind as well. Healthy food that meets your athletic needs and demands should be consumed regularly for you to be able to reach your performance goals.
7. Include resistance training.
Strength, power, and speed are inherently related to one another. Adding a day or two for resistance workouts in your weekly training plan would contribute to building lean muscle, make you more powerful, and, therefore, increase your speed.
8. Climb the hills
Running on an inclined outdoors or treadmill might be exhausting, but it is a way to get faster. If you get used to running on the more challenging route, the less inclined path would feel a lot easier than it did before.
9. Add fast feet exercises
Regularly performing movements like jump rope, mountain climbers, different kinds of jumps with or without ankle weights, could improve running speed significantly.
10. Do sprints
Even if your goal is to increase your running speed for long distances, sprints will get you there. Sprinting means that you are testing your maximum potential, and doing so consistently, leads to improving it.
These ten tips are the essentials for every runner who wants to improve their running speed and stamina and avoid injuries from poor technique or insufficient recovery.
If you want to know how to get fast, combine all of them plus the following five extra tips and take your performance to the next level.
1. Drink coffee before the running session
Caffeine increases alertness and arousal, which makes you feel more energized during your workout.
2. Pick the right clothing
Cotton absorbs 8% of the moisture on its weight, while polyester absorbs only 0.3%, which makes it the better choice for workout clothes. When you go for a run, always dress in stretchy, fitted fabrics that wick away sweat.
3. Consider taking supplements
It is not necessary, but if you feel like you need to boost your recovery, add some protein powder, BCAAs, or anything that you or your trainer/nutritionist believe from which you can benefit.
4. Be present at the moment when you work out
It is easy to get overwhelmed with everyday issues and start thinking about them while training, which could lead to a decrease in your performance. Remember that your problems are not going anywhere and your workout is your time to relax and focus on your athletic goals.
5. Make a long-term training plan.
When you want to improve something, like increasing your running speed, it would be best to create a plan for a few months ahead. Plan wisely your weeks and make enough time for everything mentioned so far – sprints, resistance training, inclined running, stretching, and recovery.
If you are looking to maximize your body's performance, a smart tracking device helps you on top of your ambitions and physical achievements. Use real-time data to track your running shape using Airofit. The smartphone app allows you to run programs and plan your training sessions for the areas you want to improve, whether it is vital lung capacity or your body's anaerobic threshold.
Running is an excellent workout by itself and allows you to have goals that can always be set higher. Increasing running speed is not an easy task, but discipline, determination, and sticking to your plan could get you there.
Use these tips to create the best workout plan for yourself, measure your speed in the beginning, and track your progress every two/three weeks to stay motivated.
Which ways to get faster at running have you tried before? Which ones are the tips you were already following before reading this guide? Let us know in the comments below, and if you have any questions, go ahead! We would be more than happy to help you improve your performance!