How to Run Faster: 25 Tips for Training and More

How to Run Faster: 100 Tips for Training and More

If you’re a runner, chances are you’d like to improve your performance and gain speed. This may be to improve your race times, burn more calories, or beat your personal best. There are plenty of techniques and drills you can use to gain strength, improve your form, and run faster. Incorporate as many of these

If you’re a runner, chances are you’d like to improve your performance and gain speed. This may be to improve your race times, burn more calories, or beat your personal best. There are plenty of techniques and drills you can use to gain strength, improve your form, and run faster.

Incorporate as many of these approaches into your routine as possible. A varied plan of attack prevents boredom, targets your body in different ways, and gives way to new challenges.

1. Warm up and cool down

Start each workout with a warmup and finish with a cooldown. This allows you to gradually ease your body in and out of intense activity. Stretching after you run will help to prevent lactic acid buildup, which reduces swelling and muscle soreness.

2. Eat well

Your diet plays a role in your running performance, especially the foods you eat right before you run.

Follow a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits, berries, and melons, if they’re available to you. Load up on fresh and cooked vegetables and carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, oats, and energy bars.

Avoid processed or sugary foods. Limit your intake of foods high in fat and fiber. You may also want to avoid dairy if it causes stomach discomfort.

3. Hydrate

Drink plenty of water along with healthy drinks such as coconut water, herbal teas, or sports drinks to stay hydrated. Avoid sodas and other drinks that contain alcohol, sweeteners, and dairy.

4. Maintain a moderate body weight

For many people, running is an effective way to lose weight. Maintaining a moderate body weight can help you increase the intensity of your training and run faster.

5. Perfect your technique

A 2017 study points to the effectiveness of improving your form and body mechanics to improve performance and reduce injuries.

Simple tips to follow include keeping your knee in line with your body, striking your foot under your knee, and pushing up and off from the ground behind you. Keep your hands relaxed, engage your core, and shorten your running stride.

6. New kicks

Invest in a new pair of shoes or replace the soles of your current shoes.

According to a small 2019 study, runners who wore Nike Vaporfly 4% shoes showed improvements in running economy, due in part to the effect of the shoes on running mechanics. The shoes had a positive effect on stride length, plantar flexion velocity, and center of mass vertical oscillation.

While it’s not necessary to buy this particular pair of shoes, you can look into which type of shoes could bring you the most benefit.

7. Dress the part

Choose clothes that are lightweight, wind resistant, and form fitting. Make sure your clothes don’t rub or chafe your skin, especially when running long distances. Layer properly and cover your extremities in cold weather.

8. Strength training

The stronger you are, the easier it’ll be for you to use proper body mechanics to run quickly and with ease.

A small 2016 study on endurance-trained runners pointed to the effectiveness of both strength and speed-endurance training in improving overall running performance. The runners also reduced their training volume.

To build muscle, lift weights or do bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, and pushups. Stay active with sports such as swimming, kickboxing, or volleyball.

9. Set an intention

Create an intention for your training plan and stick to it instead of running at random. This allows you to have a purpose for each session and work toward a specific goal. Vary your plan to include endurance runs, high-intensity training, and strength training.

10. Run sprints

Get out on the track and run a few sprints, even if you normally run longer distances. A 2018 study found that trained athletes who did just six sessions of sprint interval training improved their running performance.

Sprint training has also been shown to improve endurance, strength, and power performance in runners while requiring less time and mileage than other types of training.

11. Increase your mileage

If you’re new to running, work on building up your mileage so your body gets used to running. You’ll also experience how it feels to run longer distances. Build up your mileage slowly, gradually increasing the distance every 2 to 4 weeks.

12. A balanced body

It’s important that your body is balanced and aligned. This helps to ensure good posture, coordination, and balance, all of which will help to ensure your stride is on top form. Balance out your strength-building routine with plenty of stretches and long holds to prevent muscle tightness and tension.

13. Join a group

A group can provide running tips, boost your fitness level, and help you determine when you’re ready to run longer distances. Group members can be a healthy source of motivation, competition, and encouragement.

14. Be active most days

Aside from 1 full day of rest per week, aim to do some physical activity each day, even if it’s for a short time. This allows you to build consistency and get your body used to regular exercise.

15. Hill training

Run hills to build lower body strength, burn fat, and increase your speed. Do sprint runs by running up a steep hill and cooling down as you walk back down. Do hill sprints on an indoor treadmill when running outside isn’t an option.

16. Core strength

A strong core establishes a solid foundation for healthy movement patterns so you can feel more comfortable and at ease while running. This helps to stabilize your back, build speed, and lower your chance of injury.

Exercise options include plank variations, single-leg Romanian deadlifts, and Russian twists.

17. Endurance runs

Endurance runs are longer distances done at a slower pace. This allows your body to get used to lengthy runs while maintaining a low-to-moderate intensity. You can steadily build up how much time or distance you run every week.

18. Lateral exercises

Do lateral exercises to strengthen the muscles along the side of your body and move your body in a different direction. This improves mobility, eases low back pain, and stabilizes your hips, thighs, and knees.

Options include walking lateral lunges, step-ups, and shuffles.

19. Next level racing

Boost your motivation by planning to run a race that’s longer than the last one you’ve mastered, especially if you’ve done that distance a few times.

If you’ve already done a 5K, sign up for a 10K, and so on. Adjust your training schedule accordingly. If you want to challenge yourself in different ways, sign up for a triathlon.

20. Tabata training

Tabata training is a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. You do 20 seconds of intense exertion followed by 10 seconds of recovery. Do this seven to eight times.

21. Tempo runs

Tempo runs boost fitness levels while improving your technique and taking you to your edge. Run at a moderate-to-fast pace that’s a little faster than your average pace for 5 minutes. Then jog for a few minutes. Gradually increase the time of your tempo pace to 10 to 30 minutes.

22. Take time to relax

Along with your rest days, take time out to focus on relaxation. Do a session of progressive muscular relaxation, yoga nidra, or meditation. This may help to boost your performance by increasing speed and endurance while lowering your heart rate, oxygen intake, and breathing rates.

23. Short strides

For maximum efficiency and speed, run using short strides on the balls of your feet. Focus on taking shorter steps at a fast pace while maintaining good form. This allows you to propel your body forward each time your foot hits the ground.

24. Breathe correctly

Your running pace affects your breathing rhythms, so make sure you’re breathing properly and getting enough oxygen. This may require you to breathe through your mouth.

Engage in deep abdominal breathing and coordinate your inhales and exhales to your steps. For example, you can inhale for two steps and exhale for two steps. Or inhale for three steps and exhale for two steps.

25. Sprinting drills

Include a few drills at the start of your workout. Begin by jogging for 10 yards and then accelerating into a sprint for 50 yards. Alternate between these two speeds for a few minutes. Then do a few minutes each of high knees, long strides, and butt kicks.

Use proper form and technique to prevent injuries and avoid training too hard. Start slowly if you’re a beginner, and stop if you experience any pain or injuries or feel faint.

Gradually increase your mileage and pace every few weeks. If you miss days, don’t try to double up your training on other days or do more than usual.

Get in touch with a running coach or exercise professional if you want to set realistic goals and amp up your training schedule. They can help you to run at a faster speed and push beyond your boundaries to reach your full potential while minimizing your risk of injury.

A professional can help you perfect your form and technique, and run more safely and efficiently. They’ll also help you come up with an eating plan to maximize your performance.

There are endless options for improving your running speed. Call on your inner reserves of motivation and persistence to come up with a training plan that you’ll stick to and enjoy.

Use a journal or app to keep track of your workouts and running times so you’re able to observe your progress.

  • To run faster, you should incorporate speed workouts like tempo runs and fartleks. 
  • You can also try weight training and hill runs to improve your speed. 
  • Overall, to become a faster and stronger runner, it’s important to stay consistent with your training schedule. 
  • This article was medically reviewed by Joey Thurman, CSCS, CPT, FNS, a Chicago-based fitness expert and MYX Fitness coach.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Achieving a faster pace can be a thrill for runners, and it also happens to be great for your overall health. 

“We get stronger, faster, fitter, and leaner when we introduce a new stress, like speed training workouts, to our body,” says Elizabeth Corkum, a Road Runners Club of America certified running coach.

Whether you’re looking to increase your pace for race day or just seeking an extra boost for your workouts, here are seven tips on how to bump up your speed.  

1. Add tempo runs 

Tempo runs are 10 to 45 minute runs at a steady pace, according to Corkum. These workouts can help runners develop discipline by controlling their speed and help their bodies learn how to handle stress. 

These should be done at a controlled pace, meaning you should be able to maintain the same pace throughout your run. The first few minutes of the run should feel easy and you might even feel like you are holding back a bit. 

However, by the middle to end of the run you should start to feel uncomfortable. “At the end of your tempo run is when it will really start to feel like a speed workout,” says Corkum.

Tempo runs build strength and speed because they push you to reach your anaerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold is the point where your body produces lactic acid — a byproduct of working out. When lactic acid builds up in your muscles, it makes your legs feel heavy and the run becomes more difficult. 

So, the sooner you reach your anaerobic threshold, the sooner you’ll burn out, and the harder it will be to finish — let alone run faster. That’s where tempo runs come in, because they train you to run longer and faster before hitting that threshold. 

“Increasing this threshold by training smart allows you to run faster for longer periods of time before that feeling of fatigue or lactic acid takes over,”says Audrey Springer, a Road Runners Club of America certified running coach. “An athlete could do this as a workout for a duration of 15 minutes and build all the way up to an hour or more depending on the race they are training for.”

Compared to sprints and hill runs, tempo runs are lower intensity, longer workouts. The pace for tempo runs will be faster than an easy run or jog, but still slower than a sprint like a 5k or 10k pace. One tool that Springer uses is Jack Daniels’ VDOT Running Calculator to help her runners set a tempo run pace. 

Springer says there are three different types of tempo runs. 

  1. Lactate threshold: This is where the athlete will run at a pace they could ideally hold for one hour. If the run is 30 minutes they should feel as if they are pushing hard but they could hold it for another 30 minutes if they were racing.   
  2. Marathon/half marathon pace: This type of tempo run should be run at the pace you plan to achieve on race day. This will be slower than the lactate threshold pace.
  3. Progressive: This is also often referred to as negative split run. During this run you will gradually increase speed so your last mile will be fastest. These types of runs are great for establishing a pace, building stamina, and developing mental toughness to help you finish your runs strong.

2. Start weight training

Weight lifting, or strength training, can help you run faster, improve your form, and avoid injuries. 

Body weight and plyometric movements that are explosive, such as jumping squats or lunges, can be great for working on speed and power in sprints. “The explosive nature of these movements teaches muscles to contract at a faster and more efficient rate,” says Corkum. 

Meanwhile, lifting heavy weights with barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells, can help distance runners maintain power, good form, and efficiency during longer runs such as a 10k or half marathon. However, if you are just starting to weight train, Springer recommends using just body weight at first — like with resistance bands or push-ups — in order to perfect form and avoid injury. 

Many weight training movements can also build core muscles. “The core keeps your trunk stabilized, improves your posture and running form, and allows you to generate more power running faster while using less energy,” says Springer.

A 2017 review published in the journal Sports Medicine found that adding strength training to a running routine 2 to 3 times a week had a strong, positive effect on running performance. Strength training improved performance in time trials by 3% to 5% in those logging around one to two miles and 2% to 4% in those running around three to six miles.

Runners should spend equal amounts of time building upper body and lower body strength. “It is just as important because the upper body counters the lower body in the running motion,” says Corkum. 

For building speed, Corkum recommends weight training two to three times a week on non-consecutive days. If you weight train after a run, she suggests waiting at least four to six hours to prevent soreness.

3. Introduce interval training 

Interval training is a type of running workout where you alternate between short, intense bursts of running and a brief recovery. The goal of interval training is to maintain the same speed on your first interval as your last one. A 2016 medical review published in The Journal of Physiology found that running sprint intervals builds muscle as well as aerobic endurance. 

Another 2018 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research assessed 16 trail runners that added interval training to their routine. Each runner completed six interval training sessions over the course of two weeks with two days of recovery between each session. After the training program, the runners were able to run an average of 3.6 more meters in 30 seconds. The study also found that participants increased their speed by an average of 6% in a 3000 meter run.  

“Once you begin to incorporate interval training into your workout plan, you will notice your longer runs will become easier and faster,” says Corkum. 

When you first start interval training, Springer suggests sticking to once a week. The bursts in interval training can be measured by time or distance. Here are two types of interval training workouts that Corkum recommends for running on a track:

  • Sprint the 100m straightaways on a track and walk or lightly jog the 100m curves. Repeat this four times around the track, so you end up with eight total sprints. 
  • Run for two minutes at 85% effort then take a one minute recovery. Repeat this four times. 

4. Practice fartleks 

Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “speed play.” A fartlek run consists of alternating between speed and recovery runs. They can last 20 minutes or longer depending on the runner. 

Coupling periods of moderate to high intensity running with a slower pace will put stress on both your aerobic and anaerobic treshhold. This will help you build both speed and endurance.

While fartleks are similar to interval training, they are done at an easier effort and slower pace over a longer period of time. 

If you are a competitive runner, you can tap into this speed play during a race to help you pass another runner. “Fartleks are all about pushing your pace and effort and figuring out what your limits are,” says Corkum. 

Fartleks can be structured or unstructured runs. Here is an example workout of each: 

  1. Structured: Alternate between one minute of hard effort and one minute of easy jogging 15 times. 
  2. Unstructured: Run hard for 10 to 60 seconds — for example from one mailbox to the next — and then spend as much time needed lightly jogging or walking between sets to catch your breath.

Unstructured fartlek runs can be beneficial for runners that are just getting started with speed training, because it eases the pressure of reaching a certain goal. Springer recommends incorporating fartlek runs into your running schedule just once a week to improve speed.

5. Run hills 

Both coaches agree that running hills is a great way to introduce speed training into your running routine. “It is a great stepping stone from aerobic running to sprint repeats on a track,” says Corkum.

Uphill training will help you become a faster runner and also increase your VO2 max, making you a more efficient runner. VO2 max is a measure of how much oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise. “The better your body can be at utilizing oxygen, the more energy you’ll be able to output or the faster and longer you’ll be able to run, ” says Springer. 

A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance found that introducing various hill workouts into a running schedule improved overall performance in all 20 participants. Each runner participated in an uphill training program that included two sessions per week for a total of six weeks. Regardless of the hill gradient or rest time between sets, 5k running speeds improved by an average of 2% in all the runners by the end of the 6 week program.

Although hill running usually doesn’t feel like speed work, it engages and strengthens muscles in the glutes, hamstrings, core, quadriceps, calves, and upper body that easily translate to faster running on flat roads. “Hill running can be very humbling,” says Corkum, “but, you really don’t need to be running very fast up the hill to be gaining the benefits of this type of training.”

Those new to hill runs should start with just one a week. Once you find you aren’t completely exhausted after the workout, try adding it twice a week on non-consecutive days. 

6. Don’t forget to take breaks 

Oftentimes, runners will skip recovery days out of fear they’re losing progress if not constantly running. “What you actually end up doing when you skip recovery days is slowly digging your own grave in terms of progress,” says Corkum. 

If you moderately work out everyday and don’t find yourself improving, Corkum says it’s probably because you aren’t resting: “A golden rule in running is to make the hard days hard and the easy days easy.” 

The reason you’re sore the day after a workout is because training causes microtears in your muscles. When you rest, those muscle fibers rebuild, slightly stronger than before. Without recovery days, your body is unable to rebuild itself.

According to Corkum, here are some signs you may be pushing too hard and skimping on recovery:

  • Your speed is not improving despite consistent training
  • You are constantly tired 
  • Your aerobic paces feel harder to maintain 
  • Your muscles feel weaker instead of stronger
  • You are frequently sick 

In extreme cases, skipping recovery can lead to injury, which will set your running schedule back more than any recovery would. “Running causes impact stress on your body and allowing your body to rest is a key component to avoiding overuse injuries and overtraining,” says Springer.

“If you do choose to exercise, it needs to be light enough that your body identifies it as rest and not work,” says Corkum. A few examples could include a really light run, swimming, or yoga. 

Overall, Springer suggests that runners take at least one or two days of rest each week in order to build speed. 

7. Stay consistent 

It’s important to have a strong aerobic foundation before you begin incorporating speed training into your workout routine. Corkum recommends that new runners or runners that have taken extended time off spend at least four weeks building up their endurance before beginning speed workouts. 

“Those easy runs where you can always run further and faster are really important for establishing a strong foundation for running,” says Corkum.

Building this endurance will also help you establish a routine to become a more consistent runner, which is important for building speed. “Remember that you get better at what you do often, not occasionally,” says Springer, “while rest days are very important so is building a routine and staying consistent.”

Here is a sample month long workout schedule provided by Springer for moderate to strong runners looking to improve their speed. 

For the speed training days, make sure you add in a 10 minute warm up run at the beginning of your workout and a 10 minute cool down run at the end.

Expert Tips to Pick Up the Pace

Updated on August 10, 2022

If you’ve been running at a steady pace for a while, it can be all too common to hit a plateau. But there are many ways to build endurance and learn how to run faster without getting tired.

As you start to push yourself a little harder, setting new performance goals for your runs can help you stay motivated by discovering how far (and how fast) you can go. Use these tips to increase your running speed during your training sessions.

Test Out a Quicker Pace

One of the first steps to running faster is to learn what it feels like to pick up the pace. Start with short bursts of speed work and then return to your usual pace.

Keep in mind that increasing your speed might leave you more winded than usual at first, which is why it’s important to regulate your breathing.

If your muscles start to fatigue, it’s important to notice the difference between discomfort and pain. If you’re experiencing the latter, you’ll need to slow down your pace.

Running outside your comfort zone may feel uncomfortable at first, but as you start to develop mental stamina and physical endurance, you’ll get accustomed to the sensations that arise when you pick up the pace and start to anticipate (and maybe even enjoy) the experience of running faster.

To get a sense of your current pace, use this pace calculator. Input your distance and time, and watch as your pace gradually starts to improve.

Run More Often

In many cases, increasing your weekly mileage will help to increase your overall speed. If you usually run once a week but participate in workout classes most other days of the week, you may notice improvements in your pace if you swap a few of those workout days with running days.

If your goal is to increase your running pace, you should be running at least two or three days each week.

If you’re already running more often than that, vary the distance and intensity of your workouts to avoid injury or burnout.

Work on Your Form

Proper running form can make you a more efficient runner, which will help you go faster.

Making even minor adjustments to your posture and gait helps your body move with less exertion and more ease. The result is that you have more energy available to help fuel a faster running pace.

Relax your shoulders and allow your arms to swing naturally as you run.

Count Your Strides

Counting your strides can help increase your stride turnover, which is the number of steps you take every minute you run. Doing so will help you run faster.

Run for about 30 seconds at a pace that you can sustain for three miles, and count each time your right foot hits the ground. Double the number to get your overall stride turnover rate.

Many runners target a turnover rate of about 180. This number is highly variable, but new runners generally tend to have a stride rate on the lower end. So you’ll likely get faster by simply improving your turnover rate.

Increase Stride Turnover

Start by running for 30 seconds at your current pace. Then jog for a minute to recover and run for 30 seconds again, trying to increase the count.

Focus on taking quick, light, short steps—as if you’re stepping on hot coals. Repeat five to eight times, trying to increase your rate each time. Eventually, a faster turnover rate will feel natural during your longer runs.

Develop Your Anaerobic Threshold

The anaerobic threshold is the exertion at which your body switches from aerobic metabolism to anaerobic metabolism. Your ability to maintain effort while using anaerobic systems is limited. By improving your fitness, you won’t hit this point as quickly.

Tempo runs, or runs at a slightly slower pace than you’d typically use, can help develop your anaerobic threshold, which is critical for running faster. Many fast runners schedule at least one tempo run each week.

Your tempo run pace should feel “comfortably hard,” similar to a 10K race pace. You shouldn’t be running so slow that you could carry on a conversation, but you shouldn’t be gasping for air.

How to Tempo Run

To do a tempo run, start with five to 10 minutes of running at an easy pace, then continue with 15 to 20 minutes of running at about 10 seconds slower per mile than your 10K pace (or a pace you could sustain for 6 miles). Finish with a five- to 10-minute cool-down.

Do Speed Work

Not surprisingly, speed work is one of the most effective ways to improve your pace. This is because speed exercises are designed to help you move faster. One way to do speed workouts is to practice structured intervals.

For example, run 400-meter repeats on a track. After a warm-up of five to 10 minutes, alternate between running a 400-meter lap at a 5K race pace and jogging one slow, easy recovery lap.

Start with two or three 400-meter repeats (with a recovery lap in between each one), and work your way up to five or six. If you plan to run a race, it helps to run at the specific pace that you’ll be running during your next event.

Try doing this or another speed workout once a week. Use a track or treadmill so you can accurately measure distances in your intervals.

Practice Fartleks

Fartlek is a Swedish word that means “speed play.” fartleks are simple, quick bursts of speed that vary in distance.

You can use fartlek training if you don’t have access to a track or another measured space to run specific intervals. Use lamp posts or telephone poles to mark intervals if you’re running on the road.

After warming up, try sprinting for two lamp posts, then recover for two, and keep repeating the pattern until you’ve covered a mile. These speed “pick-ups” help you learn how to get comfortable running faster.

If you like to listen to music while you run, sprint for the duration of the chorus of your favorite song. If you’re running in your neighborhood, sprint past 10 mailboxes, then recover for another 10.

Incorporate Hill Training

Running hills helps improve your running economy and efficiency, translating into faster running.

Hill repeats (repeatedly running up a hill and jogging or walking down) are a great way to help you run faster. Incorporate hill training into your running program after building an endurance base.

Once a week, start with a 10- to 15-minute warm-up of easy running. Find a hill with a moderate slope about 100 to 200 meters long. Run up the hill with a hard effort. Keep your effort consistent, and don’t let your running form fall apart. Recover by walking or jogging down the hill at an easy pace.

Start with five or six hill repeats and add one repeat to your training regimen each week, with a maximum of 10 repeats. You can also combine hill repeats with a tempo run.

Run on a Treadmill

While most runners prefer training on the open road, you can also use a treadmill to improve your speed. In general, treadmill running is easier than running outside.

On a mechanized treadmill, the belt moves on its own underneath your feet, so less effort is required from you. Also, there are no obstacles such as wind or variations in terrain to challenge you. You can, however, set your treadmill’s incline to between 1% and 2% to simulate such elements.

One benefit of using a treadmill is that you can train yourself to turn your legs over quickly with greater ease. This will help you to transfer the skill to your outdoor runs. Also, treadmills allow you to structure interval runs and hill runs with more precision.

Let Your Body Recover

Don’t assume that running hard every day will make you faster. Rest is critical to your recovery and injury prevention efforts. You may find that you run more quickly when you take at least one day off each week.

You can still participate in physical activity on your recovery days, but keep it easy and enjoyable. Your brain can benefit from a break from high-intensity activities, improving your emotional health.

Your muscles build and repair themselves during your rest days. If you run every day without taking days off, you won’t see much improvement.

Follow a Training Plan

If it feels overwhelming to think about scheduling different speed- and endurance-boosting running workouts, a simple training plan can help you stay organized and focused.

Choose a plan that targets the specific distance you want to train for. For example, if you want to run a faster 5K, use a training plan specifically designed for that distance. You’ll also find plenty of training plans for longer distances, but you should only target one race at a time, starting with shorter races first.

Although training for a half marathon or a full marathon will prepare you to go the distance of a 5K, they won’t include 5K-specific speedwork. By following a training schedule specific to a designated race, you’ll be more likely to get results.

Consider Your Weight

Runners who are overweight may improve their speed by losing weight. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to lose weight, especially if you are content with your size and your doctor has not advised you of any potential health concerns.

Consult a physician before undertaking a weight loss plan. Your doctor can help you determine how much weight you should lose, if any, and what methods are safe for you to use.

Improve Your Eating Habits

Research shows that improving your nutrition may also help increase your running speed. Both macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) and calorie intake are important.

Be sure you are consuming enough protein to build stronger muscles and the correct number of complex carbohydrates to provide adequate fuel for challenging workouts. It’s also vital to eat the right kind of fat to maintain healthy joints.

Evaluate your caloric intake and your macronutrient balance and see how it compares to recommended intakes for a balanced diet. Eliminate foods that don’t provide good nutrition.

Consider investing in a session with a registered dietitian specializing in sports performance to ensure you are getting the macro-and micronutrients you need.

Wear Lightweight Running Gear

Some running gear adds excess bulk and weight, which could slow down your pace and hinder your performance. Invest in running gear made out of lightweight fabrics and materials. Also, consider getting a pair of lighter, faster running shoes (unless your feet benefit from additional support).

Of course, there is some gear you don’t want to run without, especially on long runs. Things such as a cell phone to call for help if you need it and water to stay hydrated on a hot day are often non-negotiable. Your health and safety are more important than improving your running time.

Stretch Regularly

Inflexible joints can hinder a faster running pace. You’re not likely to move efficiently when your body has a limited range of motion. Tight muscles can also make you more susceptible to injury. If an injury sidelines you, your pace will probably pay the price until you recover.

Try to stretch after every run. Spending five to 10 minutes after your runs doing simple calf, hip flexor, and quadriceps stretches will help keep your body functioning optimally.

Strengthen Your Core

Believe it or not, the strength of your core muscles can affect your running pace. Stronger abdominals improve your running posture for more efficient breathing and free up your legs to work harder.

So to get faster, add core exercises to your exercise routine. Practice doing planks, and work up to being able to hold them for one minute or more. Or add abdominal curls, bicycle crunches, or basic bridges to the end of your runs.

Prioritize Sleep

Fast runners are often well-rested runners. So, one of the smartest ways to improve your running performance is to get enough shut-eye.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most healthy adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Experiment with this range to determine the best amount of sleep for you.

To maximize your sleeping time, practice smart sleep hygiene. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. Make your bedroom a device-free zone by keeping electronics in another room and decreasing the temperature slightly to get a better night’s rest.

Lift Weights

Strength training builds stronger muscles to help improve speed and overall performance. It can also help you to reduce your risk of injury.

Try to schedule one or two short strength training workouts each week. If you don’t have access to a gym or health club, do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, lunges, or squats to build more muscle.

If you’re able, it can be beneficial to do these workouts immediately after a hard run or later the same day. Then you can fully recover on your easy days without overdoing it.

Experiment with Resistance

You can use workout tools and gadgets such as an anti-gravity treadmill, a running parachute, or speed bands for increased power and performance. Of course, these tools take some practice, and some require you to enlist a workout buddy to use them.

The bands can be attached to a stationary object or a training partner so that you have to pull away as you run forward. Some runners also attach bands to their legs and run in place against resistance to improve speed.

If you decide to try one of these options, it’s often a good idea to work with a qualified trainer who can show you how to use them properly.

Cross-Train

While running exercises are designed specifically to improve your pace, sometimes the best way to learn how to run faster is to take a short break from the sport and cross-train with other activities.

Cross-training can include spinning, CrossFit, swimming, and even soccer, all of which can help develop cardiovascular endurance. Additionally, cross-training can help to increase your flexibility and range of motion in your joints, build mental toughness, and increase your overall strength.

Cross-training also gives you a mental break from running. So once you’re ready to lace up your shoes and hit the pavement again, you’ll be able to give it your all.

Run With a Group

Running with a group will motivate you to keep training, and many people find that they push themselves harder when they train with others. Many running groups include coached interval training workouts and other targeted programs.

You can often find a running group in your neighborhood for free. Ask about groups at your local running store, at work, or your health club.

Finish Strong

If you’re interested in racing and want to learn how to improve your race time, you can occasionally train as though you were racing. That means including a fast sprint to the finish at the end of your runs.

Picking up the pace for the last few miles of your long runs is good practice for race day conditions, and it also improves your endurance. Try picking up your pace by about 20 to 30 seconds for the last mile.

Speed Workouts

To help you learn how to run faster, incorporate speed workouts into your running schedule.

800m (Half-Mile) Repeats

  • 10-minute warm-up
  • Run 800 m at 5K race pace + 1 minute easy recovery
  • Repeat 800 m/1 minute recovery 4 more times
  • 5-minute cool-down

Mile Repeats

  • 10-minute warm-up
  • Run 1 mile at 5K race pace + 1 minute easy recovery
  • Repeat 1 mile/1 minute easy recovery 2 more times
  • 5-minute cool-down

6-Minute Repeat

This is a great option if you don’t have access to a track or treadmill (though a running watch or another timing device is required).

  • 10-minute warm-up
  • Run for 6 minutes at 5K race pace + 1 minute easy recovery
  • Repeat 6 minutes/1 minute 2 more times
  • 5-minute cool-down

A Word From Verywell

If you’re ready to build more endurance and train your body to run faster, try incorporating some of these tips into your running routine. Whether you’re fairly new to running or an experienced racer, remember that it’s important to listen to your body whenever you’re training. If any of the suggested exercises cause you pain or intense discomfort, stop immediately.

Additionally, some of these strategies may not be advisable if you have certain health or medical conditions. If this applies to you, always ask your doctor before beginning any new workout regimen.

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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