Five Seasons Family Sports Club Blog

Want to Run Faster? Try These Tips

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 7/13/17 9:30 AM

Do you want to run faster? It's entirely possible, but it does require making some key adjustments to your training and nutritional regimen. If you're ready to improve your speed as a runner, below are some handy tips that will help you do just that. 

1. Work on improving your form.

No matter how slow or fast you run, it's vitally important to maintain good running form and technique. Not only will this improve your efficiency as a runner, but it will help prevent injuries as well. Since improving your form is all about paying careful attention to body mechanics, do your best to keep the following techniques in mind: 

  • Try to keep your upper body nice and tall without being too stiff, and keep your head up with your eyes looking straight ahead of you. Try not to look down at the ground, as this can produce poor neck and spinal alignment. 
  • Avoid swinging your arms side-to-side, but instead keep them at 90 degree angles by your sides (not hugging your sides, but close by), swinging them in a front-to-back motion. Avoid clenching your fists.

  • As you run, your foot should land heel first, and then roll from the mid-foot to the toes, giving you the proper push-off to move into your next step. As your foot lands on the ground, make sure that your knee is slightly bent to absorb the impact.
  • Lastly, try to keep your hips aligned with your shoulders and torso. 

2. Pay attention to stride turnover.

Stride turnover (a.k.a. stride frequency) is basically the number of steps you take per minute of running. If you have a slow stride turnover, this means that you're spending more time in the air, which will produce a greater impact on your joints when your feet hit the ground. By improving your stride turnover, not only will you become a faster and more efficient runner, but you will reduce the impact on your joints as well. To determine your current stride turnover, time yourself running for one solid minute, only counting the number of times your right foot makes contact with the ground. Now take that number and multiply it by two to get your stride turnover (total steps per minute). Once you have a gauge of your current stride turnover, you can begin taking steps to improve it. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on making your steps lighter and quicker versus taking long strides. Push yourself to see if you can add just one step to your per-minute total at first, and as you master this, continue adding to that total one step at a time. Before you know it, you will have improved your stride turn over by a significant percentage, which will equate to a faster running speed. 

One of the best ways to do this is to focus on making your steps lighter and quicker versus taking long strides. Push yourself to see if you can add just one step to your per-minute total at first, and as you master this, continue adding to that total one step at a time. Before you know it, you will have improved your stride turn over by a significant percentage, which will equate to a faster running speed. 

3. Practice running drills.

Since a large part of learning how to run faster involves becoming lighter on your feet, it would be a good idea to incorporate certain running drills such as high knees, butt kicks, skipping, and side shuffles into your training. In addition, consider adding skipping rope, spinning classes or running on the treadmill to your training regimen as well. 

4. Practice proper breathing techniques.

Proper breathing technique is a critical part of being able to manage your energy and pace as you run. The deeper and more consistent your breathing patterns are, the more efficient your body will be at funneling oxygen to your muscles to fuel their movement. Use both your mouth and nose to inhale and exhale, and try to time your breathing to where you inhale for two steps and then exhale for the following two steps. As you get better at managing your breathing, you'll be able to extend it to cover three or four steps per breath. 

5. Stay well-hydrated and well-fueled.

Simply put, your body cannot perform at its highest level if it's not properly nourished. Faster running requires more energy, and the main way to get that is through proper calorie intake. Fuel up with a nutritious high-protein meal about one hour before you run, and drink plenty of water (roughly half your body weight in ounces) throughout the day to prevent GI distress. 

While most of us mere mortals will never match the athletic prowess of a Usain Bolt, we are capable of taking our running speed up a notch or two. Use the tips above to help you add more speed to your running routine, and with enough consistent practice, you might surprise yourself with the results! 

Take the challenge for a fitter, healthier you!

Topics: Fitness

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