Friday, May 20, 2011

If you want to run faster, start running faster!

I am going to start this off by saying that I don't think there is a thing wrong with running "slow."  This idea that you have to be "fast" in order to run keeps a lot of people from trying to run or continuing with it.  You can be all gung ho and then read a blog or running article that will make you feel bad about your pace.  Elitism is everywhere in the running community and it is easy to get down on yourself and your accomplishments.  I say embrace your pace and never feel bad even when a double jogger, a pregnant women, or a 90 year old dude pass you (all have happened to me).

However, if you do want to put a little more pep in your step that is fine too!  In fact, I think it is kinda natural to want to step up your game once you have been at it for awhile.  We see these speed demons on the treadmills or the trails and think, "Hey, I wanna go that fast!"

I had that thought last year when I  meet a girl at the gym.  I would see her frequently on the treadmill and I had a case of mph envy.  At the time I was running 11 minute miles and she was running 10 minute miles.  If only I could get that fast I would think.  I talked with her the other day and she was complaining about wanting to run faster.  We started up our treadmills and there she sat at the same pace she was a year ago.  And you know what, that would be fine if that is where she wanted to stay.  But it wasn't, she wanted to be faster.  She was doing the same thing yet expecting a different result. 

So if you want to get faster, how do you get there?  Can a tortoise become a hare?

Just because you are dedicated and run all the time does not necessarily mean you will  increase your speed.  If you consistently run at the same pace, you will consistently stay there.  To run faster you having to start running faster, even if it is for a shorter amount of time.

Add sprint intervals to your running workouts at least once a week.  Run as fast as you can for a minute, recover for a minute, and repeat.  20 minutes is all you need.  Then the next time you are doing your normal routine try upping the mph by .1 or .2.  Maybe you won't be able to run as far as you normally do, but that is OK if you are working on speed.  Run at this new pace until you can complete your normal miles at that speed.  Once you can, it is time to up it again.  Keep at it for a few months and you will be amazed at how much time you can shave off your runs.  

So am I fast now?  I don't think I'm a hare, but I am faster.  If I stay a tortoise, eh who cares?  He is the one that won the race after all!


  1. Ah you read my mind with this post!! I sooo wanna run faster, but I'm no hare! That's ok though, once a week I will try your run 1/walk 1 program at faster speed and see how I do!

  2. Hope it works! They fit in nicely with half marathon training too. I really didn't want to do them at first but I have to say I am a convert. I am totally on the interval bandwagon now!