Slow and steady won’t win the race, but is just fine for most recreational runners. However, if you want to improve your running speed, there are some things you can do.
- Dynamic stretching – This type of stretching is preferred over static stretching for the athlete who wants to run faster. Through dynamic stretching your limbs get continuous movement and range of motion which helps improve blood flow and warms up the muscles. This type of stretching has been shown to improve running speed.
- Interval training – Interval training involves mixing super fast running with recovery periods. It’s a little like the run/walk method ramped up. This kind of training isn’t for the beginning runner. Your body needs to adjust before you get to that point. But if you’re running and training hard on a regular schedule, but not progressing, it’s time to start thinking about interval training. It’s basically pushing your body to the point of lactic threshold and burning muscles, then taking a short time to recover. An easy way is to start interval training is with a slow run and then do a high intensity sprint for about a minute. Then repeat the process until you can lengthen the sprints.
- Hill training – Hill training combines cardio and strength training for a great workout. It lessens the impact force of footfall and reduces the risk of injury. Try adding one hill training session each week to mix up your routine and improve your running speed.
- Cross training – Cross training is great for runners, but make sure you choose exercises that don’t just mimic running for it to be effective. Try cross training with squats, lunges, and vertical jumping exercises. This trains and strengthens your leg muscles in new and different ways. Cross training helps bridge the gap when you can’t get out and run every day.
- Rest – And last, but not least, make sure you rest one day a week to give your muscles time to rebuild. Overtraining puts too much stress on your joints and they can become sore or inflamed.