Back in April (4/19 to be exact) we blogged about how to get faster. We talked about how speed work once per week isn't going to cut it. You'll have to start upping the speed during your regular runs as well if you want to see a payoff on race day. Now, you definitely need some slower, easy days to give your body a rest, but those days can't be every day if you want to see results. If you want to race fast, you need to train fast. It's pretty simple.
Of course you don't want to overdo it so you're injured on race day. But, don't let that be the reason you don't train fast. We don't want to hear "Well, I can't do my regular runs faster because I might get hurt." Find your balance and go. You may be tired at first, but your body will adapt.
Here are a few ways to start gaining speed in your daily runs.
1. Do speed work. Fartleks, intervals, hills, tempos. Do them even if you hate them.
2. Fast and fit go hand in hand. Work that core. Planks work wonders when done properly.
3. Nail good form. Poor form will slow you down and cause injury.
4. Don't eat so much junk food. The sugar actually builds up to slow you down. It's okay - we love cake too.
5. Lift. Even two training sessions per week will help you see results. Not to mention working your upper body will help keep your form in good shape.
6. Stretch it out. Add yoga to your routine. Yoga lengthens the muscles. Trust us - you'll see results and you will likely notice less injuries.
7. Cross-train efficiently: spin and swim. Swimming works the whole body and spinning is all about maintaining tough cadences and hip rotation just like running. Give these activities a try on your crosstraining days.
8. Stride it out. Ever watch those "real runners" on race day? You'll see them warming up by doing some sprints. Add these to your routine to help with speed and turnover.
9. Sleep well and hydrate adequately. It's been said the night before the night before your race is the most important. Don't skimp on the water either.
10. Strip down. The less layers and gear you have on the faster you'll be able to go. You don't see the pro's racing with a hydration belt, do you? (Of course take it if you really need it). Just be aware that sometimes all the gadgets and clothing can hinder performance.
11. Lose weight (fat not muscle) - studies show that losing weight can shave time. An average of two seconds per mile faster per pound lost. Another good reason to lay off the dessert. Of course not everyone has weight to lose, and that's okay.
12. Run hills.
13. Train with someone faster than you.
14. Learn how to race. The best way to learn is to do it. Learn from trial and error. What food works for you? What shoes? How much sleep do you need? Learn these things and you'll see better race times.
15. Eat well. Stop fad dieting and looking for quick "fixes" - just treat your body well and balance your diet. Try not to use meal replacements - actually feed your body. Lay off the processed and packaged foods and eat clean. Practice portion control as well. We tend to eat more than we need - slow down as you eat and savor your food. Don't forget to thank your farmer.
16. Think fast. Running is a mental sport. Believe you can do it.
Remember, you have to put the work in if you want to see results. If you want to nail a 20:00 5k, you can't train at 8:00 pace every day. If you want to go sub 4:00 in the marathon, you can't do all of your long runs at 12:00 pace. Put the work in and you will reap the results.
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Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!