How to Run Faster, According to Experts

These four simple strategies can help you hit your pace goals.


One of the most common goals among runners? Run faster.

Whether you recently started chasing miles and want to pick up the pace or you have your sights set on a race day PB, there are plenty of reasons to train to run faster — and plenty of ways to actually see results. But a few key strategies will get you clocking quicker times more efficiently.

“You need to do a mix of speed work and slower endurance training to develop both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems,” says Dr Greg Grosicki, former professor and director of the exercise physiology laboratory at Georgia Southern University and current research science technical lead at Whoop.

This holds true whether you’re prepping for your first 5K or 50th marathon, but you’ll notice the biggest changes during your first two to three months of training, Grosicki says. “Gradual and consistent training will continue to enhance your performance potential from there,” he adds.

For more specifics on how to add speed and pace-improving endurance to your schedule, follow these four key training tips, designed to help you run faster.

3 Speed Workouts Professional Runners Swear By

4 Tips on How to Run Fast

1. Keep Challenging Yourself
Take a quick look at the structure of a few training plans (even if you’re not training for a race just yet). They’re designed to gradually increase your distance and push your speed — without overdoing it. This usually translates to a few short weekday runs, then one weekend long run that gets progressively longer each week.

“To see progress, you need to keep subjecting your body to a stimulus it isn’t used to, in this case longer distances and faster speeds,” says Dr Matthew Lee,  certified exercise physiologist and a professor of exercise physiology at San Francisco State University. “You gradually overload the body, let it adapt, then overload it a little more, let it adapt, and so on.” Before you know it, your one-kilometre run will lead to a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and so on.

This idea of continuously adding a new challenge to your workouts, known as progressive overload, keeps you from hitting a plateau in your fitness and will allow you to run faster over time.

Challenging yourself also means adding strength training to your plan, as this will not only help you build the strength your body needs to withstand more miles and higher speeds with lower risk of injury, but also the power you need to hit faster paces. Start with bodyweight exercises if you’re new to strength work, then add in weights as you get stronger. Focus on total-body routines, including single-leg exercises, core work, and posture-improving moves.

2. Pay Attention to How You Feel
Common running wisdom says you shouldn’t increase your total mileage by no more than 10 percent a week, but Grosicki says there’s no reason to limit yourself that much if you’re feeling good. In fact, research indicates that there’s so association between exceeding the 10-percent rule and injury. (However, it does show an increase in injury risk if your weekly training volume is much higher than your monthly training volume.)

Of course you shouldn’t double your mileage over the course of seven days — that’s a one-way ticket to shin splints. It just means you should pay attention to how you’re feeling and adjust your mileage accordingly. “The best rule of thumb is to use common sense and listen to your body,” Grosicki says. “Most hard training sessions should be followed by at least one — and probably two — easier recovery days.”

Some signs you need a rest day? “Besides any obvious aches and pains, feeling like you’re getting sick, irritability, loss of appetite, and poor sleep all signal that you’re overdoing it,” Grosicki says.

3. Practice Faster Paces
Of course to run faster, you have to actually practice running fast. And while you might think that speed work alone is the key, it doesn’t exactly replicate a real-life race. “I’m a big proponent of throwing speed work into long runs to prepare your body to push through the inevitable fatigue you’ll experience in a race,” Grosicki says.

To prepare your legs for running fast when they’re tired, try picking up the pace for the last minute of every mile on your long run. Or, if you’re doing a total of 20 to 22 kilometres, do 16 kilometres at an easy pace, then push the last four to six kilometres to a tempo speed.

4. Repeat Your Speed Workouts
Grosicki suggests an easy-to-remember speed workout that builds on itself every week, like four 800m repeats with two minutes of easy jogging or walking in between. “Do the same workout the following week and try to beat your time,” he suggests. If you beat your record without a problem, add another 800m interval or extend the distance to 1200m or one-mile repeats.

On the flip side, if speed work feels totally miserable right now, only focus on your endurance for a bit. “Running for 20 consecutive minutes can be daunting when you’re a beginner,” Grosicki says. And that’s okay — you’re still progressing every time you hit the pavement. “Build an ‘endurance base,’ then slowly add in some simple speed intervals from there,” he says.

Just remember: The best way to boost your speed and endurance as a beginner is to make running fun — not miserable — so you keep at it, one step at a time. No need to stress about how to run faster on every run.

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