Speed is the ability to move quickly across the ground - sounds simple right? And yes it is - but there is more to running quicker than just moving your limbs faster or ramping up your training.
Here’s 8 tips on how to make significant gains in your speed:
Vary your session intensities - improving your running fitness comes from a combination of training volume, intensity and how hard you challenge yourself on your hardest run. But you can’t run fast all the time as it will place too much stress on the body. So take it steady on the long runs and really push yourself on the hill, speed and tempo workouts to make fitness gains throughout your plan.
Be consistent in your training frequency - consistency is key to success in running because it takes time to build your base base fitness. It’s good to have a little time off to stay fresh but by training well all year round, your base fitness will improve year on year.
Attack those hills - you may love them or hate them but running up hills is a great way to improve your leg strength and aerobic endurance. When you’re running uphill you’re working against gravity which forces your muscles to work differently than they're used to which stimulates a physiological response.
Quality speed sessions - a little bit of sprinting goes a long way! During your speed sessions focus on attacking each interval hard as it will teach your body how to run fast, it will increase your stride power and running economy - plus it’s great fun!
Between each interval, use the time to take on some water, stretch, walk or just rest so you can attack the next interval just as hard.
Improve your running technique - inefficient running form can stop you from reaching your full running potential as we often waste energy twisting, bouncing or overstriding. A quick fix to reduce twisting is to focus on driving your arms forward and back without bringing your arms across the body in-front of you.
Improve your strength - strength training plays an important role in improving all of the vital contributors to running at a faster speed: anaerobic power, neuromuscular efficiency, running economy, and power.
But it doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym, following Mbition Strength and Conditioning sessions will give you loads of great bodyweight exercises you can do at home.
Do plyometrics - plyometrics are explosive movements like jumping and hopping. They help to develop the elastic tissue components needed to maximise efficiency and power which translates into faster running!
Recover well - recovering well from a speed session is as important as the speed session itself, as it gives your body the chance to adapt to the new stresses placed on it. How quickly your body adapts after a hard workout will depend on your fitness, age and how much energy you expelled during the session. Having a rest day between one hard session and the next one is a good guide to stick to, but if you feel you need longer that’s ok too.