Getting Up to Speed

It seems like everything is getting faster these days — your phone, the internet, cars — but what about you? Here are five ways to increase your speed and make you into a faster runner.

1) Run Hills: Running uphill is extremely taxing, both physically and mentally. However, hill runs can be extremely extremely beneficial if you are trying to increase your running speed. Running uphill has been shown to build leg and muscle strength, and it also helps you build confidence as a runner. If running uphill wasn’t so effective, why do you think NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice was so big on it?

Try out some hill repeats – find a steep hill and run as hard as you can to the top, and then jog back down. Repeat this three or four times, and eventually work your way up to six or seven repeats.

2) Speed Up Your Stride: The higher your stride turnover is, the faster you will run. So instead of taking big, long strides to try and cover up lots of distance, focus on shorter, quicker steps to get your legs moving faster. Think about having your feet on the ground for as little time as possible – the instant they touch the track, try to get them off of it! This will naturally improve the speed of your stride.

3) Look Straight Ahead: When you’re trying to run faster, it’s important that you have tunnel vision and focus only on what is in front of you. This will help you maintain focus, keep your body aligned and powerful, and help with your breathing. If you’re in a race, don’t look at the runners next to you; if you do, you’ll soon find yourself looking at their backs!

4) Breathe Fast: If you want to run fast, you have to breath fast. Instead of trying to maintain slow, controlled breaths as you would on a slower distance run, breath in and out at a faster rate. You should breathe in through both your nose and mouth, to give yourself maximum oxygen, and exhale through your mouth. You can also try belly breathing, which is when you inhale air into your stomach instead of your chest.

5) Relax Your Body: It’s easy to let your body tense up when you are running quickly. However, it’s important to keep it relaxed. Tension starts in the hands, so by simply changing how you form your hands when you run you can help loosen up your body. Instead of forming tight fists or knife-like shapes with your hands, just relax them. However, you should control them a little bit so that they don’t flop around uncontrollably. To strike this balance, many runners gently touch their thumb and ring fingers together when sprinting. This may feel a little bit unnatural at first, but if you get used to it it can help keep you relaxed and go faster.

So get out and get training. The world is moving fast out there — make sure you can keep up!

By Gabe Sansone

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