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Tips On How To Improve Your Running Speed

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Focusing on improving your speed can help runners achieve their personal best in races, and can allow for longer running distances at a faster pace. If you're a runner, you might not be sure how to improve your speed, and being stuck in a rut can not only hinder your running progress but it can also be demotivating.

This article will provide tips for runners to improve their running speeds which will also help develop their running style. By following these tips you'll be able to see an improvement in your speed, and you should be able to achieve goals you may have struggled to hit before.

Female runner on beach

Factors that Affect Running Speed

There are a variety of factors that can affect your running speed, here are some of the more common ones:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Running experience
  • Current fitness level
  • Current and past injuries 

All these things need to be considered when you're trying to run at a faster pace, and they're also critical when determining your running speed goal.

Keep in mind, your running speed is a personal goal, and it's difficult to compare it to the results others have achieved. Everyone is different, so you shouldn't compare yourself to others, especially since some people have been running for years, and others are just beginning their running journey.

Man in yellow shorts sprinting

Tips on How to Improve Your Running Speed

In order to run faster, you'll need to pay attention to your stamina and endurance.

This means you'll need to build up your fitness level to help you run faster and provide you with a solid base that you can work from and in order to continually improve.

Working on your stamina and endurance means doing strength training, speed training, and other types of training which we'll cover below. All of these training styles will help you improve your running speed.

Strength Training

Many people think there's not a place for strength training when it comes to running, but in reality, strength training is a key part of helping improve running performance.

It doesn't matter if you're training for a marathon, a 5k, or you're simply running for fun, strength training allows you the ability to achieve improvements in your running speed.

With as little as 2 strength training sessions a week, you'll be able to start shaving seconds off your overall time.

Although, keep in mind, strength training is only one part of the equation when it comes to running at a faster pace. But without a doubt, improving your overall strength will help you improve your speed and make you a more efficient runner.

If you're not used to using weights, or don't have a gym membership, you can do exercises that uses your body weight. Push-ups, planks, squats, and lunges are all excellent examples of body weight exercises that can help strengthen your body.

It's important to not use heavy weights too quickly, especially if you're a beginner. This can result in an injury. It's always a good idea when you begin adding weights to your workouts to begin with light weights. 

Watch the Video

Here's a video of a strength training workout for runners that you can follow along with, and it only takes 20 minutes to complete.

Speed Training

Arguably one of the best way to run faster is speed training.

If you find you're consistently running at the same pace and you're unsure how to increase your speed, participating in speed training is an excellent choice.

There are several methods of speed training which can help you run at a faster pace. The most common are Fartlek training, tempo running, and interval training. Each of these routines will help you improve your speed.

Fartlek Training

Fartlek training is a combination of both interval training and long-distance running. It helps to increase your running speed as you're running fast and short intervals, with resting periods of slower running. 

Don't let it's funny name fool you, Fartlek training is an excellent way to improve your stamina.

Watch the Video

Want to give Fartlek training a try? Here's a great video with a complete workout.

Tempo Running

Tempo running is performed at a challenging pace, but not so challenging that you're fully sprinting. You'll be running at a pace that's faster than normal to help your body get used to moving at different speeds.

Watch the Video

This video will give you several examples of tempo runs and go into more details on how to make tempo running an effective training method.

Interval Training

Interval training is a combination of both high-intensity and low-intensity running to help you work on developing your speed.

By including interval training in your training routine, you'll be able to see a significant improvement in your speed that will continue to develop over time.

Watch the Video

This video takes you on a 20 minute interval running workout and includes some excellent training tips.

Hill Sprinting

Most runners dread doing a hill sprint workout, however it's an extremely effective way to improve your running speed. You'll not only increase your endurance and build stamina, but you can also build muscle.

Hill sprinting requires strong movements to reach the top of the hill, which will force you to be strong, determined and focused.

Watch the Video

This video gives you some excellent tips on how to complete hill sprints and it even takes you through a workout.

Work on Your Form

With out the correct running form it's difficult, if not impossible to achieve your best pace. 

A poor form will put more pressure and stress on your body, and you won't be able to run as fast since your muscles will struggle. This can increase your risk of injury and may even cause you to lose your balance. 

Watch the Video

This video covers the proper runner's form in detail and explains why its so important to your success as a marathon runner.

Set Achievable Goals

Setting achievable goals is an important part of any marathon training program. It's critical that your goals are both realistic and achievable. If you set your goals too high it'll affect your confidence and you might find it difficult to stay motivated.

Setting SMART goals provides a supportive framework to help you work on your continued improvement and performance. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Watch the Video

This video explains how to set SMART goals to help you achieve your running goals.

Rest Days

It's easy to get so focused on your goals that you don't want to take a day off and give your body a rest. Regular training is great for improving your speed and endurance, but resting is just as important.

If you have an injury or your body is tired, forcing yourself to train can hinder your overall progress. Rest re-energizes your body and allowing your body to properly recover will help you improve your running speed. Really, it will!

Watch the Video

This video explains the importance of why taking rest days is so critical, and how taking an unscheduled day off will actually help improve your performance.

How to Stop Getting Tired When Running

When you first begin running at a faster pace your body will not be used to it. You'll most likely notice you'll fell tired quicker than usual.

Increasing your pace can be challenging for your body to adjust to at first, but soon you'll find the faster pace comes easier the more you practice. However, keep in mind, if you do not regularly work on speed, your body will find it very difficult to make the adjustment, so consistency is key.

Speed workouts are a great way to introduce your body to running at a fast pace. If you're a beginner, or if you're struggling with running at a faster pace, you should never force yourself. Give your body time to make the adjustment and start with shorter workouts if you need to.

Your body will feel tired since it isn't used to the speed, and forcing your body to run fast when it's exhausted will only put you at a higher risk of injury.

The best way to stop your body from getting tired when running fast is to be consistent with your speed training workouts. You'll soon notice that you'll be able to run longer distances since you've increased your stamina and endurance by improving your performance and your body's ability to run at a faster pace.

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