Over the years I ‘ve had a love-hate relationship with running. As a short and slightly overweight child, I once was the slowest runner in my entire elementary school. It didn’t matter what distance was covered, from 50 yards to 600 yards the results were always the same. The summer after my last year of elementary school I finally decided that enough was enough.
I spent most of that summer running daily in an effort to improve my speed and escape further embarrassment. By the time I entered high school a few years later, I was fast enough to try out for the school s track team. Later on, in college, I took up competing in local 5 km races, once picking up an age group third-place medal along the way.
As I struggled each year to improve in the one sport that had produced so many bad childhood memories, I began to devour articles and books on running. In the end, I managed to learn quite a few things about running in general, and how to run faster in particular. Below are a few basic suggestions that may help a runner improve his speed.
While running can be a solitary sport at times, having the right partner to train with can help improve your performance. Some of my best training efforts have been produced when I have trained with a friend who was considerably faster than I was. Having to put out a good effort just to jog with him, has helped me push myself in training a lot harder than I would have on my own.
The increased effort has gotten my body used to a faster pace than its accustomed to. The results have been an increase in overall speed as well as endurance. If you have the chance to go on training runs with a partner, try to pick one who is a bit faster than you are. This will help push each workout into the best possible work out you can have.
Interval Training and Repeat Sprints:
Nearly all the running books I have read, have had one thing in common, mainly the belief that constantly running long slow distances in training will produce slow racing results. To build up your speed may require you to vary your training runs, and nothing will help it improve better than sessions of hard running at the track.
There are a few ways to go about doing these sessions, the two most popular being Interval Training and Repeats. The first, Interval training requires the runner to run at a predetermined pace for varying shorter distances. A sample workout for a 5km runner would go like this:
1)Warm-up: Jog a mile at a pace that is 2 minutes per mile slower than your race pace.
2)Interval Set One: Sprint 440 yards (one lap) as hard as you can. Repeat three times with only a minute rest in between.
3)Rest phase: Jog 440 yards (one lap) at a pace that is 2 minutes per mile slower than your race pace.
4)Interval Set Two: Sprint 220 yards (a half lap) as hard as you can. Repeat five times with only a minute rest in between.
5)Rest phase: Jog 440 yards (one lap) at a pace that is 2 minutes per mile slower than your race pace.
Repeat Sprints training is a bit similar. A sample workout of a repeat session would go like this.
1)Run half a mile as hard as you can. Follow the run with a 440 -yard walk. Repeat this 6 times without resting.
These types of workouts will build up your speed. Most experts would recommend adding at least one of these sessions to your weekly running schedule.
I have been fortunate enough to live in one of the few hilly sections of Florida. Along one of my favorite training courses, there is a nice hill about a 1/4 mile long. I run down this hill as fast as I can in the middle of my training sessions. This pushes my body to learn how to go much faster than its used to.
On the return trip, I run back up the hill to help build up my endurance. I love training on hills so much that sometimes when I am driving around the country while on vacation, I will pull up to a nice stretch of road which has a good gradual hill on it and do a workout session. These sessions have the added bonus of giving me a nice change of scenery.
Though the typical long-distance runner usually comes with a slight built, the average sprinter tends to have a more muscular built to them. Most sprinters have sessions of weight training mixed in with their running to help develop the explosiveness they need for their event.
Runners of longer distances can just as easily benefit from adding a few weight lifting sessions to their training. When I went out for track in high school, I remember that the first training schedule the coach handed out to the long-distance runners included a weight room workout program.
Weight training can help you develop the fast-twitch fibers in your body that are responsible for explosiveness and speed. Adding a few weight training sessions to your workouts will help you increase your speed.
While all runners are not created equal, and some are blessed with more talent and speed than others, there is no reason why any runner can not improve his speed in some fashion. As a former slowest kid in school, who now enjoys the sport, I am a living example of that.While all runners