Many runners feel frustrated at the concept of learning how to run faster.
Being a long distance runner, I admit that for a long time speedwork wasn’t one of my favorite activities.
Which was mostly due to the fact that I had no idea what I was doing!
I assumed that speedwork meant sprinting till I felt like my throat was on fire and my legs were going to fall off.
And while this is only somewhat true…?
…there are a huge amount of ways we can boost our running speed in effective and enjoyable ways.
Here I’ll break down the 11 ways we can increase our running speed so we can finally learn how to run faster – right now!
I don’t know about you, but a huge deterrent when it came to running faster was my breathing.
I lacked the methods necessary to control my breath so I wasn’t constantly gasping for air.
The way out of this dilemma is practice.
When you first start running faster, you’ll experience shortness of breath.
This is because when we start running, our muscles’ oxygen needs go up.
Which causes us to breathe faster and our heart rate to increase for a period of time.
Hence the feeling of breathing discomfort we feel.
The kicker is that it only takes a few minutes ’till our bodies adjust, and our muscles have enough oxygen to slow our rate of breathing.
So, keep on keeping on! And know that your rate of breathing WILL adjust.
Which will give you the ability to run faster with more ease over time.
I know this sounds too easy to be true, but hear me out.
Many runners get a little too over-indulgent with their gear.
This doesn’t work out too well when trying to run faster. It ultimately just weighs you down.
Dress as minimally as possible.
Consider wearing fewer layers, keeping your water bottle in a pre-planned location, or keeping your cell phone at home.
It’ll make you feel significantly more comfortable.
Interval training simply means you vary your levels of speed and intensity during a run.
For example, you would run at a faster pace than normal for short bursts and then switch to periods of slower, more comfortable running.
Incorporating interval training into your weekly running routine will help to passively increase your running speed over time.
I actually now consider them a much-needed way to mix up my weekly running regimen.
Running form is an all too often ignored factor.
I’ve seen runners who have been at it for years and they still need some serious TLC when it comes to running properly.
Don’t be one of these people!
Having proper running form can help you run faster more comfortably.
Not to mention you’ll also be way less likely to cause an unnecessary injury.
I’m constantly tweaking my running form for improvement – so routinely check in on your form to be sure you’re not making mistakes.
Now, I know how most runners feel about the treadmill.
Which is that it’s a cruel and unnecessary form of running punishment.
However, it can actually be an effective means of boosting our running speed.
I routinely use it as an easy way to get a good interval or hill workout in.
Especially since you have the ability to adjust your pace at the push of a button!
We shouldn’t depend on a treadmill to help us run faster since the forward propulsion given by the belt makes us FEEL faster.
Which can make us frustrated when we decide to take our speed efforts to the roads.
However, when used responsibly, the treadmill can be a super useful way to adapt our bodies to higher running speeds.
In order to keep your body primed to run at faster speeds, you always need to be prioritizing post-run recovery.
When we run we create microtears in our muscles that we need to give time to recover and repair.
When we attempt to run at faster speeds without proper recovery, we’re lowering our chances of success and creating more opportunity for injury.
Foam rolling and post-run stretching are both excellent ways to practice routine recovery responsibly.
Hill repeats are basically running up and down hills to increase muscle strength and endurance.
While it’s not every runner’s favorite workout, it’s crucial for adjusting a runner to varying elevations.
I’ve never been “great” at running up and down hills, but it’s been pivotal in terms of upping my running speed and endurance.
Over time, I’ve learned that hill repeats are just meant to be ugly.
I would constantly judge myself for having a hard time completing them when in reality my body was simply getting adjusted and becoming stronger.
So, don’t shy away from hill repeats.
They’re crucial for boosting your running endurance and make you a more confident runner all around.
Core strength is essential for increasing running speed and running comfortably in general.
It provides more stability when upping your running pace so you feel less discomfort.
The best part?
Only 15-30 minutes of core work a week is sufficient to build up strength.
This is a little trick I like to use when I get in my own head.
When running at paces above my normal pace, I’ll keep my eyes on a point in the distance to keep my brain focused elsewhere.
It gives you a point to run “towards” so you keep that momentum and prevent your brain from going crazy.
While there are a number of helpful apps you can use to learn how to run faster, this one is by far my favorite.
Zombies. Run! acts as a video game where you’re placed in a zombie-ridden world narrative.
Your goal is to collect items to help you survive and to outrun all the zombies (duh).
Let me tell you, nothing motivates you to run faster than by outrunning a pack of zombies.
You can also pair the app with most music players!
I can’t say enough about it.
If you’re interested in running faster, you need this app in your life.
You won’t be able to run at faster speeds unless you’re consistent with your efforts.
This is the biggest problem that prevents runners from improving their speed.
They’ll fail to be consistent with their speedwork, then blame it on “not being capable”.
Don’t fall into this victim trap.
If you consistently incorporate speedwork into your routine, you WILL become faster.
So start slow, stay consistent, and watch your speeds increase over time.
I hope you’ll implement a few of these tips ASAP so you can start building your running speed.
It took me a long time to incorporate speedwork due to my low self-confidence that I’d ever become faster.
But it works!
And over time, it really does become an enjoyable part of training.
So, here’s to crushing new running PR’s!
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified eating psychology coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.