How To Run faster for longer!

The hare may have lost the race, but he was fast enough to take a nap..

Balancing speed and endurance for your perfect run.

Training for runners of any kind is often a difficult dance. Train too often and you risk injury, too little, and you might run out of steam on race day. The cornerstone of your goals, no matter what distance you are aiming for is “how can I run faster for longer?”. Today, we aim to outline the training principles you need to apply to do just that.

Learn Efficient Running Form

Remember: running is a skill and you could be doing it wrong! Running efficiently and with good form is the key to cutting seconds from your PBs (Personal Bests). So what common mistakes should you watch out for?

faster runner

Up Your Concentration!

The faster you move your legs, the faster you’re going to run. A simple concept that is difficult to put into practice. Concentrate on how quickly your foot is coming off the ground after every foot-fall. This video demonstrates an excellent drill for increasing the turnover of your legs

Reduce Your Heel Strike.

Heel strike is a symptom of over-striding. This is terrible for your joints and a prolific waste of energy. Focus on shortening your stride and speeding up your step. There are many drills that can help you with this.

Increase Your Mobility.

If you lack complete range of motion, your running is going to suffer. A good way to improve running-specific mobility is through Active Isolated Stretching. The techniques used focus on how to lengthen muscles properly to prevent injury and improve performance

Relax Your Upper Body.

Keeping tension in your upper body when you run is a waste of energy. Keep you core stable, your head upright, arms held at chest height, with relaxed hands.

Build your Base: 
How to keep running when I’m tired?

Creating an endurance base is key to sticking to your goal pace for longer. By adding long runs into your training regime you’ll get your legs used to coping with your future demands. Make sure to perform some (if not all) of these longer, steadier efforts on the terrain that you are going to be working with on race day. If you’re training for a trail race, you should be doing some of your training off-road - this will help to condition your ankles and calves to the uneven ground.

To stay injury free, you should be aiming at adding no more than 10% distance to your training on a weekly basis. If you attempt to increase your mileage more quickly, you are at risk of stress fractures and other damage to joints, tendons and ligaments. 

Speed Workouts: 
How to improve my running speed?

The key to effective speed work is to make sure it is FAST. Many people go into these sessions fatigued from longer runs and put in minimal effort when they are meant to be picking up the pace​.

Interval training is the best way of fitting in your speed work. You should once again be ensuring that your choice of workout is goal specific to get the most out of your training sessions.

Hill Sprints/ Short Intervals

These should include efforts ranging from 100m - 800m. Short sprint intervals will act to improve your VO2 max, as well as building power in your legs for when you need to move fast.

Hill sprints are an excellent option to pick if you are looking to take part in cross country or other off-road events.

Tempo/ Fartlek Sessions

Best run over similar terrain to what you will be racing on, tempo runs should be kept close to your 10k race pace. Ensure that you are holding this pace for between 45min to an hour rather than aiming at running a set distance.

Tempo sessions will help you to push through your lactate threshold at the end of a tough race.

Fartlek sessions are like tempo runs, but you will be incorporating burst of faster paced running at regular intervals.

Core, Strength & Conditioning

Well-developed muscles are essential for reducing injury risk and improving your athletic performance. Weight training will help to you maintain your running form when you are fatigued - meaning you can run faster for longer.

Active bodyweight exercises that help build core stability such as yoga and Pilates are also recommended.

Free weights should also be an important part of your training routine, such as: 

- Squats

- Dead lifts

- Lunges

The Importance of Proper Fuel

Food should be about fuelling your next workout, not rewarding yourself after a hard day at work - you can’t out-train a bad diet. A good guide to what you should be putting into your shopping cart in the supermarket is to stick to the fresh food aisles and think about cooking your food from scratch; avoid processed food and ready meals.

energy for running

Eat a diet that is high in protein and high-quality carbohydrates. These are the key to recovering between training sessions and carbohydrates are the main fuel for endurance exercise. One of the only supplements worth considering here is Beta-Alanine, which has shown marked improvements in endurance.

Final Words

If you incorporate this advice into you training, you should see yourself taking steps towards how you can run faster for longer. Now you’ve equipped yourself with the knowledge you need, you’re ready to go and smash out some new PBs 😉 

Good luck!

By Ellen Harvard..

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About the Author

Hayden Cox is a former NCAA DI athlete in Cross Country and Track. He has had the opportunity to work with 2x U.S. Olympian, Robert Gary, and a host of elite athletes at the collegiate and professional level. Hayden's ideal day consists of an early morning long run on a mountain trail followed by a giant bowl of pasta and a chocolate milkshake (just don't tell anyone about the milkshake!)

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